It was Friday night in Ottawa and rock was set to invade Lebreton Flatts for Day 8 of RBC Bluesfest. Among the acts on the bill included 90s Alternative rockers Live as well as Canadian favourites The Glorious Sons and The Headstones.
Friday night was special for several reasons, firstly it was my annual RBC Bluesfest birthday bash and secondly it was LIVE’s big reunion show, one of their first in Canada since Ed Kowalczyk rejoined the group after an 8 year hiatus.
The night, for me started out with an incredible set by the Glorious Sons on the Claridge Homes stage. I’ve been a fan of these Kingston boys for a number of years now and every time I see them perform they get better.
This is a band that leaves it all out there on stage. Frontman Brett Emmons sets the energy meter at high and doesn’t turn it down until he walks off the stage…that is until midway through Fridays set where Brett stopped and simply starred out at the crowd as they sang his song back to him. It’s that sort of coming of age moment for a band that I’ve been part of on so many occasions, it never gets old.
Following the Glorious Sons I made my way to the City Stage where the one and only Hugh Dillon was about to take the stage with the Headstones.
I was a fan of the Headstones growing up and was thrilled when they reformed back in 2011 but until Friday had yet to see them perform live.
Hugh and the boys would not disappoint. In true Headstones fashion it was high octane from start to finish. Hugh has always loved his fans and that’s something that hasn’t changed. It’s not uncommon for artists to venture from the stage into the crowd but often it’s not until later in their set; not with the Headstones, Hugh wasted no time getting down into the crowd by the second song.
I sincerely hope the Headstones continue producing and continue performing, I guarantee we’ll keep buying and keep coming out to their shows. When Hugh Dillon and the Headstones are in town you’re guaranteed a great time.
At this point I wandered down to Bluesville, based on a recommendation, to checkout Drae. As I mentioned in my Day 7 review I’m a fan of old-school hip hop like Dr. Dre and Eminem. When I first walked into the Bluesville tent Drae struck me as a seasoned performer who wasn’t just comfortable on stage but was comfortable with his artistic identity.
Drae’s style definitely has elements of Eminem but with his own spin on it. I’m officially adding Drae to our list of artists to watch and hope to catch up with him for a feature interview in the near future.
As Drae wrapped up I made my way to the City Stage for a band I’ve been waiting to see since their 1994 album Throwing Copper, LIVE. By the time I made it to the City Stage the light rain had turned into a steady downpour.
As we learnt with Pink last weekend, rain or shine the show must go on and so it did at RBC Bluesfest. Kowalczyk and the band launched right into “I Alone”, the second single off of Throwing Copper. By the time they finished their first song the festival grounds had begun to resemble a lake rather than a lawn. And that’s when the thunder storm moved in. The storm was light at first but very quickly became dangerous as lightning crashed very close to the venue. At this point RBC Bluesfest made the difficult but right decision to evacuate the grounds for safety reasons.
Call it irony or just plain bad luck that a band with a hit single called “Lightning Crashes” had lightning crash their big reunion party at one of their first Canadian shows in a decade.
Storm or not it was a night to remember on July 14, 2017. I’ll only turn 43 once and what better way to celebrate than with the incredible artists that took to the stages Friday night.
The party continues tomorrow, first up I’ll have a behind the scenes surprise from one of Sunday’s main stage performers before heading to the venue to checkout the next female star at She’s The One. Also on our list for July 15 is Wide Mouth Mason, Xavier Rudd and, of course, Muse.
The last two days of RBC Bluesfest are fully loaded with world class talent, Saturday is also shaping up to be a beautiful day which is long overdue so why not come out and enjoy it. Full schedule can be found at www.ottawabluesfest.ca