The thunderstorm warnings and severe rainfall didn’t stop determined festival-goers from attending Day 5 of the Ottawa Bluesfest, for which the lineup mainly focused on the rock genre.
After an evacuation scare due to weather conditions, the evening got underway on the Claridge stage with Tokyo Police Club. The indie alternative rock band from Newmarket, Ontario, who’s accustomed to playing in Ottawa, attracted a large fan-base for their Bluesfest performance. Lead singer and bassist David Monks was clearly pleased to be back in the National Capital proclaiming “We love Ottawa. We’re always in Ottawa” as the crowd cheered on. Festival-goers didn’t let the rain get in their way of a good time and they happily sang along to their favourite songs, letting the refreshing showers cool them off. Tokyo Police Club performed material from their latest album “Forecefield”as well as older tunes including Not Sick, Favourite Colour, Beaches, Toy Guns, Be Good, and Breakneck Speed.
Meanwhile on the Blacksheep Stage, Los Angeles-based duo Made In Heights was giving a live set in front of an intimate crowd. The American group, comprised of DJ/Producer Alexi “Sabzi” Saba & singer Kelsey Bulkin, which has been described as mythical filth, pop fiction, beauty slap, and vogue trap, simply calls itself genre-less. In reality though, their sound mixes electro, pop, trap and bass and warped vocals beautifully. Made In Heights delivered material from their debut self-titled album complete with choreographed dance routines that they threw in here and there for good measure. The showers soon turned into a rain storm however, which cut their set short and had everyone running for cover inside the War Museum.
As it turns out, after seeing Made In Heights, Eventful Capital had conveniently planned to check out Ottawa-based group Pith and the Parenchymas inside the Barney Danson Theatre. The young local band made up of Chris Love on guitar and vocals, Damjan Markovic on bass and Josh Scammell on drums, who’s been gaining momentum in the region, had the opportunity to perform in front of a crowd of a respectable size. The group’s musical style is significantly experimental and hard to define: it lies somewhere along the lines of freak folk and psych rock. The idea behind their performance was to play one fluid continuous set offering songs off of their album “Song of the Neverending Ugly Lizard”, but unfortunately, a technical issue with the guitar pedal pushed Love to stop in the middle of the band’s set because the sound was off. This break in the music turned-off certain audience members who started trickling out of the Barney Danson Theatre afterwards. The group gave a respectable performance nonetheless, despite this glitch.
Outside, the rain turned into sprinkles and made way for a beautiful rainbow that re-energized the flooded festival-goers. Weather conditions forced organizers to push back a few performances, including Queens of the Stone Age’s show, which ended up starting at around 8:30 pm. An impressive crowd was piled in front of the Claridge Stage for a chance to see the American rock band live. The 5-piece hit the stage with a lively opening as they played Little Sister, No One Knows, You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar But I Feel Like a Millionaire and Smooth Sailing as the rowdy crowd raved and rocked on. Backed by serious lighting visuals and smoke machines, QOTSA gave a solid high-energy set that their appreciative fans clearly enjoyed.
Eventful Capital ended the night by checking out headliner Jake Bugg over on the River Stage. The 20-year old British sensation hit the stage shortly after 9:45 pm and got right into his set with There’s A Beast And We All Feed It from his album “Shangri La”. The talented singer-songwriter and guitarist sounded superb, strumming his guitar effortlessly and singing in a style clearly influenced by the likes of The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Don McLean and Jimi Hendrix. Bugg’s setlist featured songs off of his first 2 studio albums, including Seen It All and Me and You. It’s safe to say that the rising folk rock blues charmed the audience with his simple and honest approach and it’s evident that he left a mark on festival-goers who had gathered to see him perform live.
Day 6 of the Ottawa Bluesfest continues at LeBreton Flats with Tyler, The Creator, Holy Ghost!, Cypress Hill, Trombone Shorty, The Killers and Phantogram among others.