July 13 was a splendid day 9 of the 2013 Ottawa Bluesfest and festival-goers attended in large numbers to see live performances by Mykki Blanco, Austra, Death Grips, Stars and Björk among many others on the lineup.
Eventful Capital started out the day by checking out Mykki Blanco on the Bell Stage. True to his gender-bending flamboyant self, the American rapper, performance artist, and poet started his set wearing a neon yellow tule skirt with purple butterflies covering his nipples. He certainly gave out tons of energy throughout his 45-minute set as he rapped and danced from one side of the stage to the other, getting close to the small audience on several occasions. Blanco’s set list included the tracks Feeling Special, Kingpinning (Ice Cold), and Riot. He concluded his performance with Wavvy, a track that’s been garnering him some attention in the music world. Despite the modest crowd, Blanco seemed to have a good time on stage and gave a colorful performance to say the least.
After Mykki Blanco’s performance, Toronto-based group Austra hit the Claridge Stage where a big crowd of festival-goers had gathered to catch the electronic synthpop band live. Austra got right into their set with opening song What We Done, the first track off of their new album Olympia. They continued with Forgive Me, The Villain, and the beautiful Lose It from the debut album Feel It Break. Lead-singer Katie Stelmanis’s voice sounded just perfect as she projected great on stage energy and this almost made us forget that she was wearing Betty Boop overalls. Celebrity spottings at Austra included emerging Quebec singer-songwriter Violett Pi and members of Ottawa’s own Loon Choir.
Over on the Bell Stage, experimental hip hop group Death Grips was getting ready to perform with their mix of punk rock, hip hop and noise. The American trio sure sounded extra loud for an afternoon show and if they intended on scaring festival-goers, it was mission accomplished as they sounded angry and intimidating.
Back on the Claridge Stage, Canadian indie pop rock band Stars was charming the crowd with material from their large repertoire. Many fans had gathered in front of the stage for a chance to see the Montreal-based group perform live. Lead singers Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan were in great shape and they interacted with audience members throughout their 60-minute set to festival-goers’ delight.
The final act to take the Bell Stage on Day 9 of the 2013 Ottawa Bluesfest was none other than headliner Björk who gave her first Ottawa performance last night. The Icelandic singer-songwriter who’s recognized internationally for her eclectic style, graced the stage wearing a beautiful shiny blue dress and her signature orange afro. She was joined by a choir of 13 ladies who supported her vocally and who also danced energetically to some of the pieces, breaking away from traditional choir behavior. Björk, who doesn’t allow videography or photography during her performances to ensure people fully taking in the experience, made use of the 5 giant screens to project imagery and abstract visuals accompanying each song. She opened her set with Cosmogony and continued with Hunter, Thunderbolt, Moon and Crystallin to the shrieks and screams of the 9000 fans gathered for the rare occasion. Björk gave an impressive and memorable performance like no other and it’s clear that she left her mark on Ottawa.
It goes without saying that Eventful Capital’s top pick for Day 9 of the 2013 Ottawa Bluesfest goes to Björk for her exuberant performance.
The 2013 Ottawa Bluesfest concludes today with performances by Serena Ryder, Yukon Blonde, BB King, Skrillex and Boys Noize.