I’ll be completely honest that most years when our friends at Ottawa Dragon Boat announce their headliners, or their opening acts for that matter, I have little to no idea who they are. Aside from a few acts carried over from last summer’s RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest (Mother Mother, The Beaches and Alvvays) the same stood true this year.
July Talk Opening Night
The great thing about what I do is the ability to discover new artists (in all genres) that normally I might not so readily seek out. Last year’s discovery artist for me was Dear Rouge and this year, without a doubt, that artist has to be July Talk. I first started listening to them after the Ottawa Dragon Boat lineup was announced but it wasn’t until their latest single, “Push and Pull”, was released that I really become a fan. There was just something about that song that really drew me to it and to discover more about the band itself. July Talk performed in Burlington at the Sound of Music Festival just a week before Dragon Boat and watching coverage from that event made me look forward to their performance in Ottawa even more. To be honest you couldn’t have asked for a better group to kick off the 2016 festival season in Ottawa and kick if off they did with an intense set that fired up one of the largest crowds I’ve ever seen at the annual event.
We were lucky enough to meet and chat with Peter and Leah both before and after their show, be sure to watch for Leigh’s interview coming up later this week. If you ever get a chance to catch July Talk on a stage near you take it, you won’t regret it…I sure didn’t!
Honestly there wasn’t much else on opening night that really grabbed me, the music was good but for me it really was simply background music for socialising with friends and enjoying a few drinks on the beach.
Special thanks to our friend Sydney Butters who provided us with her images of Ria Mae from Friday night’s performances.
Saturday night, headliner Alvvays
Unfortunately I had to miss Friday night’s performances by The Beaches and Mother Mother due to a previous engagement but I returned on Saturday afternoon to take in some of the races and family entertainment before taking in performances by Pony Girl, Nap Eyes and Alvvays on the main stage. Again I felt a bit disappointed by the opening acts…Pony Girl I really had a difficult time figuring out what they were singing let alone singing about and Nap Eyes…well Nap Eyes I must say was interesting. The lead singer gives off a bit of a Kurt Cobain impression, not to mention he bears a striking resemblance to Kurt, but unfortunately the band sounds nothing like Nirvana. I will give them credit on their social engagement, they were the only act of the weekend to engage in any of our Tweets or Instagram posts…so maybe there’s still hope.
I missed Alvvays at Bluesfest last summer but being a huge fan of the Rankin family and even though Molly Rankin (lead singer of Alvvays) took a completely different musical direction than that of her family talent generally doesn’t fall far from the tree and I must say I’m already looking forward to the opportunity to see Molly and Co. again…rumour has it they Alvvays put on a great show…ok that was horrible but in all honesty I was very impressed and Alvvays is definitely on my list of bands to see again. Saturday night I was lacking a professional photographer but I still managed to capture a couple of decent shots of the evening’s entertainment.
Sunday night, headliner A Tribe Called Red
Sunday was also a no-go for me due to prior engagement but Sean and Leigh were back so I’ll let Sean’s photos do the talking for Sunday’s performances. Leigh had this to say about A Tribe Called Red: A Tribe Called Red fused the rousing sounds of a smudge ceremony and sweat lodge to the outstanding sounds of electronic dance music, generating a performance unlike anything else at the festival this year.
Once again huge thanks to Antony, Matt and everyone at Ottawa Dragon Boat for their hospitality again this year. There’s no better event to kick off the summer festival season like Ottawa Dragon Boat, even better that all funds raised go to charity. We look forward to being back at Mooney’s Bay again next year!