Day 2 at CityFolk Festival in Ottawa brought us the stylings of The Family Crest, Daniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Jenn Grant, and Jack Johnson. These artists all have one major thing in common, you can’t help but move to their tunes!
The Family Crest kicked things off on the City Stage Thursday night with their individual sound and contagious energy! This 7-person band, which included a cellist, violinist and trombonist, on top of your classic band staples, brought forth a jazzy-pop fusion that reminded many audience members of The Arkells.
Every member of The Family Crest contributed to this infectious sound. The lead singer’s, Liam McCormick, powerhouse vocals, combined with his incredible guitar playing, carried the tune, whether singing lyrics or scatting to his heart’s content! The trombonist and pianist had incredible chemistry that was palpable and their fun antics had the audience smiling and dancing along with them. This was a group that was comfortable on stage and clearly loved what they were doing.
After The Family Crest, I had the opportunity to quickly catch a couple of Juno nominee, Jenn Grant’s, songs. She was on the RevenLaw Stage and it was a simple set that consisted of herself singing and playing keyboard, and another keyboardist on stage. Her sound was very pure and easy to listen to.
At the same time that Grant was playing, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats had taken to the City Stage. This band brought forth a fun folksy sound that was enhanced with the brass instruments in the background.
At this point, the CityFolk Festival grounds were full of people anxiously awaiting Jack Johnson. This being said, no one in the crowd was unfamiliar with the folksy singer Rateliff, and when the opening beat to his hit “S.O.B” started everyone went wild! You could barely hear Rateliff over the crowd. Everyone was singing along and participating as Rateliff directed through different sing along experiments.
Finally, despite some technical difficulties, and the crew’s quick work of fixing some stage lights, Jack Johnson hit the stage! Everyone rushed forward and tried to get as close to the singer as possible!
Renowned environmentalist, Jack Johnson, had a really positive effect on the night’s Ottawa crowd. Plastic bottles were not sold, and everyone was encouraged to bring their own bottles to be filled. This classy Hawaiian took the time to remind everyone that Ohana means family and that he really believes in family.
Clad in simple jeans and t-shirt, Johnson got the crowd into things right away with one of his hits “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing”, and the delivery was flawless. Johnson kept the crowd engaged mixing old hits with new and keeping everyone on their toes. The highlight for myself was his performance of “Upside Down” from the Curious George Soundtrack. Everyone, young and old, knew this song and were singing along loudly and proudly.
These three City Stage acts had never had never performed in Ottawa, and I think it’s safe to say the crowd thoroughly impressed them.
The Festival continues this weekend!