Ottawa Bluesfest Days 10-12 feat. Metric, Kanye West, and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
With the end finally in clear sight, the glorious rain that had been looming for a week finally arrives.
Ottawa Bluesfest Days 10-12 feat. Metric, Kanye West, and Sharon Jones and the Dap-KingsCity: Ottawa, ON
Venue: LeBreton Flats
13 July 2007 As Friday ushered in the Bluesfest's second and final weekend, one could sense the audience fatigue settling in. In an attempt to reignite our enthusiasm, the remnants of INXS and their new Canadian lead singer, J. D. Fortune, performed a serviceable set of reworked favorites and new material. There was more energy on the side stages, however, as Toronto indie rockers Metric brought their clean, almost metallic, sound to the River Stage. The band delivered a decent set, although lead singer Emily Haines’ frustration at technical difficulties lent a questionable energy to her stage banter, which struck an awkward balance between intimate and condescending.
14 July 2007 With the end finally in clear sight, Stephen Fearing’s Saturday afternoon performance brought good vibes back to the Barney Danson Theatre. The hard-working troubadour put massive air behind his expansive voice, singing rugged tales of marginal characters, intimate moments, and faded dreams. Fearing made excellent use of the intimate theater, holding the capacity crowd in rapt attention with his affable wit, deep voice, thunderous acoustic guitar, and humorous stories about the origins of his songs. His set drew heavily from most recent solo release Yellowjacket, though Fearing threw in older favorites as well, including showstopper "Blind Indifference". Exiting the theater after Fearing's performance, I found that the rain had finally arrived. The festival's second half had featured ominously grey skies, and now a steady downpour prompted the donning of ponchos and the opening of umbrellas. Still, the River Stage crowd was undaunted: they had come to support local songwriter Jim Bryson on the heels of his excellent new record, Where the Bungalows Roam. That album’s exceptionally dry vocals create an intimate feel that recalls Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy on standouts like "The Wishes Pile Up" and "Cleared the Crowds". Live, these tracks took on a more rocking vibe in keeping with old faves like "Feel Much Better" and "Sleeping in Toronto". Bryson's performance included some good-natured banter with the sodden audience and an ironic blues-ax duel with his lead guitarist.
15 July 2007 On Sunday, the festival’s final day, underrated Texas singer/songwriter Steve Forbert offered yet another excellent set in the Barney Danson Theatre. Forbert possesses a distinctively soft voice that he bends and shapes around his phrases to great effect. Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar and harmonica, Forbert played a selection of originals that spanned all three decades of his career. Later on in the evening, his band, the Soundbenders, joined him for a rocking set on the Black Sheep Stage. There, Forbert played his finest songs -- tunes like "Goin' Down to Laurel", "Wild as the Wind", and "You Cannot Win If You Do Not play". It was an enthusiastic performance of straightforward tunes about international affairs and matters of the heart. After Forbert, it was time for the final night headliners to take the stage. On the MBNA Stage, that meant the Solid Gold Dance Party featuring Peaches and Herb, A Taste of Honey, The Village People, and a host of lesser-known lights. After last year's debacle with KC's Sunshine Boogie Blast, it was a relief to find that this disco line-up was at least organized and committed to throwing a solid, if contrived, "dance party". At least the moves were easy to follow -- especially on the group’s Bluesfest-closing rendition of "YMCA", which was performed in full, classic regalia.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings