Yesterday was the last day of this year’s Bluesfest and it defninitely ended on a high note.
Upon arrival on the festival’s site, we headed to the Claridge Stage to check out Young Empires, a Canadian band from Toronto who describe their genre as being world beat haute rock. The group gave a great performance and even played a request from a fan in the crowd complete with a personal dedication. I was pleasantly surprised by their style and sound and can say that it was definitely a nice musical discovery, not having heard of Young Empires before.
After Young Empires, Somali-born rapper and poet K’Naan was scheduled to perform on the Main Stage at 7:00 pm. However, due to flight delays, he didn’t make it on time and as a result his set was postponed to 7:30 pm. Once he arrived on stage and apologized to the crowd for being late, K’Naan did what he could to bring out as much energy as possible for his fans, however his 2012 Bluesfest performance surely wasn’t his best. He performed some crowd-favorites but omitted to deliver the popular Wavin’ Flag anthem that so many love. K’Naan ended his performance with a slow ballad that he frankly shouldn’t have chosen considering it lacked in intensity and liveliness. Having said this, the Toronto-based artist and his band did offer a decent musical performance nonetheless.
The highlight of the evening was by far seeing The Weeknd sing his heart out on the Claridge Stage (but I’m completely biased since he’s my favorite artist). The young singer from Toronto offered his second Ottawa performance in front of a sizable crowd of young women and men who had gathered to hear songs from House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence, the mixtapes that have garnered him so much attention and respect. Abel Tesfaye, who goes by the stage name The Weeknd, presented a stripped-down version of his latest show to adapt the the festival venue. He did without the visuals and simply performed with the lighting used for his original show, which allowed us to solely focus on his enchanting voice and raw lyrics. Abel thanked his Ottawa fans several times as he delivered songs including High For This, The Birds Part 1, Gone, House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls, The Zone, Crew Love, Rolling Stone, and Next without forgetting the beautiful Wicked Games, which he saved for last. The XO crew, members of The Weeknd’s entourage, were there in full force to represent the XO movement. Even rapper Tyga, who performed at Bluesfest the previous night, could be seen on house right enjoying the show from the side of the stage! The fans were clearly pleased with the show from the first note The Weeknd sang to the very last. Thank you Abel for another excellent performance, Ottawa loves you!
The 2012 edition of Bluesfest ended nicely with a set by Canadian-favorite Metric who graced the Main Stage with their talent. The Toronto-based indie rock band seems to have pleased the crowd as they delivered songs from their newly-released album Synthetica along with singles from previous albums. Emily Haines and company were in great shape and the Ottawa fans who had gathered to see the band seemed to love it. It wasn’t the greatest performance of all times, but it was definitely a great way to end this year’s edition of Bluesfest.
What were your favorite moments? What were the hits and misses this year? You’re welcome to share your thoughts below. I’m already looking forward to next year!