If you can believe it, we’re already sailing into week two of RBC Bluesfest 2022. With the first four days now in the books, our overall impression is that coming together to enjoy live music has been sorely missed over the past few years. From the sea of smiles in the audience, all appear to be enjoying the good company and great music that can only be experienced in a festival format.
Should you be on the fence about who you would like to see, as we have done in previous years, here are a few of our picks for Days 5 to 10. We’ve opted to pick one per night to keep on your radar; our Six to See as it were. As usual, we try not to focus on the main-stage headliner and aim to shine a light on a few other alternatives through the evenings.
Seasoned festival friend tip: be sure to follow the Ottawa Bluesfest on social media or, even better, download their app. This will ensure that you know where and when your favourite artists are playing and keep on top of any scheduling changes.
If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, please know various passes and tickets are still available:
Tuesday, July 12th
Crown Lands – 8:00, River Stage
For those needing a dose of Canadian rock, the Oshawa-hailing duo Cody Bowles and Kevin Comeau can fix you up right. The past year has been a banner one for them, having been nominated for two Junos and winning Breakthrough Group of the Year. Importantly, their music highlights indigenous rights, a thread evident in their LPs, including their most recent release White Buffalo.
Wednesday, July 13th
Chicano Batman – 9:00, SiriusXM Stage
Looking back at the archives, Chicano Batman is no stranger to the pages of The Revue. Perhaps check out The Matinee where they were most recently featured to get a taste of their satisfying psych-soul vibes. Having seen this LA-based quad prior, expect an ebullient offering on stage that night.
Thursday, July 14th
Lucy Dacus – 7:30, SiriusXM Stage
We’re not sure that this talent needs highlighting, given she’s got 3 sensational albums to her credit coupled with the boygenius album, featuring Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker. That said, we couldn’t overlook this opportunity to mention her appearance at Bluesfest 2022. We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again: Lucy Dacus is undeniably one of the great songwriters of this generation. Prepared to be enthralled by and immersed in a swirl of emotions.
Friday, July 15th
The Commotions – 6:00, SiriusXM Stage
Given that Rage Against the Machine is headlining tonight, odds are that the Bluesfest main grounds will see some heavy traffic. Why not come early to both beat the crowds and also get rewarded with some really great grooves. This 12-piece ensemble has it all. You long for a fabulous throwback Motown beat you can dance to? Perfect, you’re in luck. You like sassy and soulful vocals? Wonderful, you won’t be disappointed. You want horns? Well, let us assure you there’s no shortage there. Plus, they’re local. And who doesn’t like supporting local? They’re definitely the Right Kind of Wicked.
Saturday, July 16th
grandson – 9:30, River Stage
If you’re looking for an alternative to the 90’s/00’s hip hop/R&B, slide over to the River Stage to see Canadian-American alt-indie rocker grandson. After releasing a series of singles and EPs which garnered hundreds of millions of streams and a SOCAN Songwriting Prize for his song “Blood // Water”, his first studio album, Death of an Optimist, was released in 2020. This platinum-selling artist speaks to timely topics that deserve discussion (e.g., mental health struggles to political plights) with an undertone of optimism.
Sunday, July 17th
Andy Shauf – 7:30, RBC Stage
The last time we saw master storyteller Andy Shauf perform live he was on tour supporting his then release (and Polaris Music Prize shortlisted album), The Party. Since then, he’s had a successful side project with Foxwarren, along with the 2020 release The Neon Skyline, and now the 9-song unfiltered effort, Wilds. Described as “quick and not perfect – just like life”, Shauf’s latest album seems like an invitation to sit down, grab a drink, and listen to what the Saskatchewan native has to say about the past few years.
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