The 2013 edition of Ottawa’s RBC Bluesfest has come and gone with success. With a diverse lineup that included everyone from the likes of the Wutang Clan to B.B. King, I had no idea what to expect as I made my way to Ottawa for my first Bluesfest experience.
Who stood out at Bluesfest 2013
July 4: The Cat Empire
The Australian band started the festival with a bang. Their Australian rhythms had the crowd dancing within minutes. Although playing the smaller River Stage, the band garnered quite the attendance filling up the area surrounding the stage. They play a mix of jazz, pop and rock that will satisfy even the most critical of fans. Lead singer Felix Riebl is a hit with the ladies of the crowd and has the talents to back it up.
July 5: Flogging Molly
The celtic punk band was the odd band out on day 2 of the Ottawa Bluesfest. Nonetheless, Ottawa felt like Ireland as the band ran through their short set with their classic celtic flare. Beer consumption must have been at it’s peak as these rockers were kicking them back along with the crowd.
July 7: Watsky
I’ll admit that I was a Watsky fan going into the festival, but had no expectations as I had only seen his Youtube videos and no live performances. I was absolutely blown away. For one, he’s there on stage throughout the whole set up process ensuring it all goes smoothly along with his bandmates, roadies and tour manager. He talks to the crowd and even gets into the photo pit for conversations and pictures. When it was time to take to the mic, he proved who could really spit it with the best of them. Super comfortable on stage, flawless raps and top notch interaction combined for one hell of a performance. I’ve already planned my trip to Burlington in October to see him live once again.
July 7: The Joy Formidable
Not only are they super friendly, having met the drummer backstage, they can really rock. Lead singer Ritzy proves that she’s not just good looks but has the attitude and charisma plus the talents needed to lead this band to next stages in their career. Have a listen to them:
July 10: Solange
She may be best known for being Beyonce’s sister (yes, you read right), but her solo career is quickly picking up. She took less of a pop path than her sister and has gone with a more reggae indie sound to match with her slight island accent (where it comes from, I have no idea). What she does have is groovy (yes, I used the word groovy) tunes, and we should stop comparing her to her sister Beyonce (from now on).
July 11: LP
This New York city native is an extremely talented singer/songwriter with an eclectic flare. Her vocals shine through her pop rock songs and distinguishes her from the slew of her peers in the category.
July 12: Dzeko and Torres
Except for a few exceptions like Deadmau5, Canada isn’t very well known for producing top notch EDM talent, but Dzeko and Torres are well on their way to changing that. The dj/producer duo from Toronto, bring the energy and uniqueness needed to be successful in the genre. They performed before the next artist that I will mention, but played a big role in getting the crowd ready for the stage’s headliner.
July 12: Tommy Trash
His name says it all. Trashing is what we did. Tommy Trash put on a high energy EDM set mixing popular tracks with hard hitting electro house beats. What started off as a small curious crowd, quickly grew in numbers as Dzeko and Torres kicked it into high gear and Tommy Trash ended the night on a high.
July 13: Half Moon Run
I can’t say enough about this band. From their humbleness to their unique tunes, these guys are are the fast track to stardom. They’ve got all of the characteristics of a headliner and I’m convinced they will be headline many festivals soon. Hold me to this.
July 13: Ra Ra Riot
Although they played at the same time as Bjork and were surprised by the larger than expected turnout (they mentioned it), they made their moment in the spotlight shine as the band indulged their fans with a high energy, quality performance. Wes Miles, the lead single, showed off his vocal range, while violinist (a second one) stole my breath and left me in awe (if you read this, send me an email ;-).
July 14: Serena Ryder
Who would’ve guessed that Serena Ryder would make this list? The Stompa singer proved that she’s not the typical pop singer. She’s got an incredible voice and has the attitude that will help her get taken seriously. She’s one to follow on the mainstream.
That sums up our “Who stood out” piece on the Ottawa Bluesfest. Make sure to check out our upcoming “Who didn’t hit the mark” article coming out in the next couple of days.