On Day 6 of the 2014 Ottawa Bluesfest, Eventful Capital checked out Tyler, The Creator, Holy Ghost!, Cypress Hill, Trombone Shorty and the Orleans Avenue and Phantogram.
First up on the day’s bill was Tyler, The Creator. The 23-year old California-based hip hop artist, who also goes by the name of Wolf Haley, performed on the Claridge Stage in front of a big crowd of primarily teenage fans pumped to see the Odd Future leader live. Tyler made a grand entrance by literally jumping on stage with his hype-man Jasper Dolphin and he delivered an unreal level of energy from start to finish. The charismatic rapper, who was in Ottawa for the first time, pointed out how there were “a couple of black people here” as the crowd laughed at his remark. In between songs, he was pretty entertaining and conversed with festival-goers, or “assholes” as he called them, about random things. He threw objects in the crowd from water bottles and bacon to a blown-up plastic alligator and was clearly amused by it all. In his 50-minute set, the rapper who’s no stranger to controversy, performed a bunch of tracks including Bastard, Sam (Is Dead), Yonkers, Bitch Suck Dick, Bimmer, IFYH, PartyIsntOver, ending things off with the popular single Tamale as the excited young crowd jumped in a frenzy.
Over on the Main Stage, Brooklyn electronic synthpop group Holy Ghost!, who’s performed in Ottawa before opening for Chromeo, kicked their set off with the track It’s Not Over from their self-titled album. For the occasion, the duo, made up of Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel, was joined by touring members who backed them up and offered on-stage support. Maybe it was the size of the stage they were playing on, or their lack of interaction with the crowd, but there was an obvious disconnect between Holy Ghost! and festival-goers. People didn’t seem to be paying much attention to their set, perhaps because they were just there early to catch headlining group The Killers performing later that night. Regardless of the unappreciative audience, Holy Ghost! sounded great and gave a respectable set featuring the songs Okay, Dumb Disco Ideas, Do It Again, Hold On and Wait and See.
Bluesfest then turned into Smokefest as hip-hop group Cypress Hill hit the Claridge Stage in front of a large crowd of fans. There was plenty of Cali love to go around as the audience mainly composed of adults relived their younger days with the Latino-American rappers. If you weren’t puffing on a joint during the performance, they you surely got high from the fumes alone. Although DJ Muggs was unfortunately missing from the equation, rappers B-Real and Sen Dog were hype and projected great on stage energy, backed by percussionist Eric Bobo and DJ Julio G. The legendary West Coast group kicked off their 60-minute set with the new joint Get Em Up and followed with all the hits that put them on the map including How I Could Just Kill a Man, Tequila Sunrise, Insane in the Brain, Roll It Up, Light It Up, Smoke It Up, I Want to Get High, Dr. Green Thumb, Hits From the Bong, Throw Your Set in the Air, and I Ain’t Goin Out Like That. For someone who grew up listening to rap in the 90s, it was the perfect way to take it back and reminisce on the good old days of hip-hop. Cypress Hill concluded their show with the single Rap Superstar and everyone rapped along til the very end.The love was real.
Meanwhile on the River Stage, festival-goers were gleefully dancing to the sounds of Trombone Shorty and the Orleans Avenue. The 28-year old trombone and trumpet player from New Orleans, Louisiana brought southern hospitality to Ottawa thanks to his feel-good jazz, funk and hip-hop infused music. Troy Andrews, who goes by the stage name Trombone Shorty, made a return to the National Capital after having performed at the 2012 Ottawa Jazz Festival. The talented musician, who can also carry a tune, was joined on stage by his back-up band, the excellent Orleans Avenue. Together they performed the songs Fire & Brimstone, One Night Only, and Hurricane Season among others. Displaying excellent showmanship, Trombone Shorty even showed-off his moon walk footwork to the crowd’s delight.
To end the night right, Eventful Capital hopped over to the Blacksheep Stage to catch Phantogram. The American electro psych pop duo from Greenwich, New York, comprised of Josh Carter on vocals and guitars and Sarah Barthel on vocals and keyboards managed to perform in front of a large audience despite being on at the same time as the popular punk-rock band The Killers.Phantogram sounded sublime, and the live mix of male/female vocals complimented the music beautifully. They offered a captivating and stellar set featuring the songs Don’t Move, The Day You Died, When I’m Small, Fall In Love, Howling at the Moon, and Celebrating Nothing. The group didn’t disappoint and festival-goers who checked out the performance clearly enjoyed their time.