As RBC Bluesfest wrapped up for another year, the fans were left wanting more after listening to Midnight Shine, Tim Hicks and Tom Petty. (Cover photo: Mark Horton)
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet, and even get to know, the members of Midnight Shine before they took the Stage on the last night of RBC Ottawa Bluesfest. This band is comprised of a group of guys, from Northern Ontario, who could not be more down to earth. They are so easy to talk to and are clearly passionate about their music and the message that it sends.
It also helps that their music is really easy to listen to. Their sound is smooth and their message is clear. Midnight Shine should be on repeat on the playlist of every coffee house, restaurant and bistro. The smooth harmonies and slight rocker feel make you want to bop your head right along to the beat, without it being intrusive on the surrounding atmospheres.
I am also a big fan of what Midnight Shine stands for and the messages that their music send. Their political messages about indigenous people’s rights are well thought out and come across clearly through their music. Bluesfest recognized the importance of this message by having a reception after the concert. This reception was frequented by Mark Monahan himself, who even stood up (on a bench) to say a few words. His speech highlighted the importance he places in indigenous people relations and how he, and the whole bluesfest team, would like to make a conscious effort to have more bands like this, who clearly support and advocate for indigenous people rights.
For a band of four guys from Northern Ontario to make this kind of an impact is truly inspiring!
After Midnight Shines’s reception, I headed down to the Claridge Stage to hear Tim Hicks. Although many in the crowd were there for Tom Petty, the country star clearly had his following. The cowboy boots, plaid shirts, jeans, and large belt buckles could be seen throughout the crowd. And by the end of the set, I think Hicks had even converted a few Petty fans, or at the very least, had them toe-tapping and head-bopping right along.
From the second Hicks came on stage, the crowd was chanting lyrics to his well-known, and recently certified Platinum, single “Stronger Beer”. Tim’s reply, claiming that patience was a virtue, was well received with chuckles throughout. When it finally did play, near the end of his set, a massive “Stronger Beer” flag was unveiled as his backdrop. Tim introduced the song by saying “It’s Canada 2017 and we’re about to sing Stronger Beer in the Nation’s Capital”, the crowd roared with excitement. The lyrics were barely audible, as so many different verses were sung simultaneously amid the cheers.
Tim Hicks’ whole set had the crowd jumping and dancing. It consisted of some of his most popular hits such as “She Don’t Drink Whiskey Anymore” and “Stomping’ Ground”. It seemed to me that everyone knew at least the chorus to most of his songs.
Seeing as it was my first time seeing Tim Hicks perform live, I was very impressed. I was equally impressed by his availability after the concert to sign merchandise, take pictures and chat with fans. He greeted everyone with a smile, as if they were old friends, and did not seem to tire of it for one second. Even though his line never seemed to shrink.
Tim’s show was a fun, upbeat, boot-stompin’ good time, and I look forward to seeing many more shows from him in the future.
We shot some highlights of Tim’s performance, check out the video below:
The final act of 2017 Bluesfest, and arguably the most anticipated, was Tom Petty and the heartbreakers. His show drew in a very eclectic crowd, of young and old and everyone in between.
Tom Petty was more than just a headliner, Tom Petty is a rock icon and whether you were a fan of his or not there was something special about seeing this man and his band perform. This was their 40th anniversary tour, it’s worth asking the question if any of the other bands we’ve seen over the last 10 years will still be going as strong as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
This was one of the biggest and best finales to RBC Bluesfest in recent memory and one of the most interesting as well. I’m sure that Tim Hicks would never have dreamed, when he started his career, that one day he’d be opening for the legendary Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Well that’s a wrap, RBC Bluesfest 2017 is in the history books. This was the first major event I was able to cover for Sound Check Entertainment and it’ll be one I’ll never forget. Started out with meeting High Valley for an interview and wrapped up meeting Tim Hicks while listening to Tom Petty…how do you top that?
If you missed any of our coverage of the last 10 days simply click here and you’ll be able to read all of our coverage of RBC Bluesfest past and present.
More photos from Day 10 of RBC Bluesfest