About the Beer: For this Saint Patty’s Day, I’m forgoing the traditional Irish music playlist and opting for a dedication to the lovely redheads in our lives. We traditionally see green as the official colour of Saint Patty’s. I vote we make red the second official colour. Even the Lucky Charms mascot has red hair.
Many associate red hair with Ireland but, in reality, it’s very dispersed around the world. Growing up with red hair, I’ve been asked many questions about my origin or where I got my head of hair. In my case, it’s the Irish and Scottish blood seeping through. Ten per cent of Ireland’s population had red hair. I know! I thought it was way more too. But it is a recessive gene after all and 46% of the population there carries it. Please feel free to read more about redheads on Wikipedia.
Nita brewed a nearly perfect ginger spiced ale. The ginger is present but not overpowering. The colour is a nice amber that matches my beard. So you know it’s good! ☺
I’ve already finished the beer and I just started writing.
Lone Wolf McAle is a tribute to another ginger we all love… Chuck Norris! Lone Wolf McQuade was made in 1983 where Chuck squares off against David Carradine. What more could you ask for? If you want to watch the movie, go get yourself a few Lone Wolf McAle’s at the brewery. They are open Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The playlist will include at least one redhead in the band presented.
First things first: Heartstreets — two talented Montreal women rapping, crooning, and just generally grooving supported by a DJ and a full live band – were first on the docket for me on day 7. A newly (as in: while I watched their set) discovered gem. I was really glad I hit the Flats early to catch them live. “Do any of you know us?” asked the one wearing pink heart-shaped sunglasses. “It’s ok, you will, you will. Heartstreets.” She was right. They clearly had fun and so did I.
De La Soul was disappointingly unable to perform because of a flight delay, prompting one perturbed audience member to yell “suck a dick!” several times in the general direction of the Bluesfest employee who was tasked with giving us the bad news. Bummer, for us and for them. To fill that time slot on the stage was an impromptu second set of the festival from local hip hop act G. Grand, no stranger to Ottawa Showbox bills having performed at Hip Hop Nite at Mugshots (RIP) earlier this year. His performance was energetic and tight as usual, and kudos to him for stepping up to a crowd that had been expecting such a classic of the genre.
Took a breather before Chvrches to hang out on a giant bean bag in the #rbczone with Walter Trout on the Monster stage in one ear and DJ @ the Fort in the other. Felt like my bank was hugging me. Surprisingly relaxing. Chvrches then delivered as expected: an aesthetically pleasing stage, and impeccable sound balancing deliberate pulsing synths and Lauren Mayberry’s lovely crystalline voice. Not exactly my thing, but no doubt a gift for all the Chvrches fans in the vicinity.
Lauren Mayberry of the band CHVRCHES performing at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. ~ RBC BluesfestPress Images, Photo: Mark Horton
From there I made my way back over to the Monster stage to stake out a good spot for Run the Jewels, and caught almost all of Ottawa hip hop act Flight Distance. I’m really glad I did. These guys rule. Their beats are super grooves and their rapid-fire flow is incredible — I’d be tempted to say “effortless” if I couldn’t see them going red in the face from rapping. They work hard and it pays off. You know those rare moments when you’re totally content where you are? Not thinking about the past, not planning for the future or waiting for something else to happen, just feeling the vibe and enjoying yourself? That happened for like a whole half hour with Flight Distance. Perfect opener for what was to come.
Flight Distance performing at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. ~ RBC Bluesfest Press Images, Photo: Danyca MacDonald
Finally, the Bluesfest act I was most excited for — Killer Mike and El-P a.k.a. Run the Jewels. (RTJ! RTJ!) This performance was everything I’d hoped for. Starting out with “Run the Jewels”, “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”, and “Blockbuster Night Part 1” (one of my faves) they had the crowd (me included) freaking out. Halfway through the set, Killer Mike paused and told us all if we had glasses on or phones out, to put them away because our shit was about get fucked up. I complied. We all closed our eyes (and counted to fuck). A hip hop mosh pit happened. Mike gave a shout out to “white Jesus crowdsurfing over here.” ACAB anthem “Early” was dedicated to Mike Brown and Eric Garner, black lives lost to police brutality. Run the Jewels are deeply political, and often angry (for good reason), but also operate with a lot of joy and humour and genuine love for their fans: what they do is wild and incredibly special and I’m so glad I got to see it in person.
Killer Mike of Run The Jewels performing at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. RBC BluesfestPress Images, Photo: Mark Horton
It’s that time of year when summer festival announcements begin pouring out the yin yang, and today NXNE announced its second wave of artists for the June 13-22 festival in Toronto.
First Round: includes St. Vincent, Danny Brown, Run the Jewels, Juicy J, Mac DeMarco, Rhye, Omar Souleyman, Speedy Ortiz, Odonis Odonis, Courtney Barnett, Mas Ysa, the Golden Dogs, the Cliks, and Paradise Animals, and more.
Second Round: includes Spoon, Sleigh Bells, Spiritualized, Swans, A$AP Ferg, tUnE-yArDs, METZ, Ryan Hemsworth, Tim Hecker, Oneohtrix Point Never, the Pizza Underground, Fuck Buttons, Low, Small Black, Eagulls, Perfect Pussy, the Barr Brothers, Le1f, Swearin’, Glasser, Alvvays, Saint Rich, Ratking, Mutual Benefit, Juan Wauters, Kelela, and more.
For more wristband and ticket information, see here. Before you know it June will be upon us, and we’ll be seeing you there!
There is no better way to show my cousin from Ste-Agathe-des-Monts a good time than during Bluesfest. Zac & I arrived within minutes of doors opening on the night they decided to squeeze four major headliners into the last slot. If we are anything it’s easily distracted, and so we tasted them all.
But it started at the River Stage, with a rap attack. El-P, a.k.a. El Producto, wasn’t without his Brooklyn charm as he thanked all his followers who’d been with him from the beginning of his Company Flow days. We’re talking ’93 here. Killer Mike straight outta ATL performed before him and invited El-P to come along for the ride, which they did did again during El-P’s set. Eric had the pleasure of watching the first part. They both injected their tracks with crazed energy but “Sea Legs,” from their collab album Run The Jewels, was my favourite. Killer Mike brought in the chorus: “Tryin’ not to walk crooked while this anchor’s dropped / but I been out on them choppy waves and it’s hard to say where this land begins and that water stops / I got sea legs”.
We avoided some shows. I will only describe the Marianas Trench as the deepest known part of the planet’s oceans and it’s in the Pacific — where it should remain.
Without a doubt, A Tribe Called Red killed it. Eric, Matías & I drew straws on the headliners and I lucked out to find myself in the warm embrace of three hometown boys, who were ecstatic to be back from a U.S.tour. “Ottawa,” crowed DJ Shub, “it is so good to be home!” We felt the love from the three dark silhouettes of DJs Shub, NDN & Bear Witness superimposed on the screen of looped aboriginal animation and lore. Contrasting the underlit trio were three of their children dancing up a storm to the left of their turntables. Bright tracks from their title album shone through a medley of samples, quite noticeable “Electric Pow Wow Drum” and “Look At This.”
In the midst of dancing I heard Lt. Aldo Raine tell me, “Each and every man under my command owes me one hundred Nazi scalps. And I want my scalps.” The disembodied voice of Louis CK repeating European settlers’ dumbest question: “You guys are Indians, right?” and DJ NDN mouthing “No…” while DJ Shub dropped a resounding beat. Actually DJ NDN was our lip-synching maestro, Shub was our MC, and Bear Witness did just that, with headphones askew, watching his brothers with a quiet that must be characteristic. It was, in a word, solid.
Certainly a good way to introduce a 14-year-old to a city that I’m proud to show off and a good reminder that ATCR play every second Saturday at Babylon. Long live the Electric Pow Wow!