Mother Nature gave us one day off Saturday, but on Sunday the rain returned with a vengeance at Bluesfest. No matter–fun., Tegan and Sara, Wu-Tang Clan, Her Harbour and Everlast made it all worth while for me.
I got my day started by dancing around to Ottawa’s own and very awesome FEVERS. Check these guys out now before they explode and leave you behind. Check out Matias’s review of them later on on the blog.
It was time to get nostalgic and check out one of the OGs (Original Gangster) of rock, Everlast. The man has an awesome raspy rocking voice. Everlast is way more than just the two or three songs (“Ends,” “What it’s Like” and “Put Your Lights On”) most of the crowd knew. He played a new song, “I Get By,” which had amazing politically charged lyrics and threw in a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” To top it of his band can really play. Highlighting this is the one and only Philip “Fish” Fisher from the extremely influential band Fishbone.
Soaking wet from spending almost three hours in the rain I headed inside the Canadian War Museum to see Ottawa’s Her Harbour in the Barney Danson Theater. I am a big fan of this local gem, but this performance had a little extra for me. I had never seen Her Harbour as more than a duo, they were a five piece this time. The added depth was incredible, and there is no better sounding stage at Bluesfest, than Barney Danson. The band’s haunting sound was heard by a nearly packed house and they played my favourite song “Green Bellows.”
Enough was enough with all that rain! But nothing could stop me from finding my little brother Philip and sharing a beautiful sibling moment… experiencing Wu-Tang Clan together live. With hundreds of Ws in the air in excitement, you could cut the smoke–I mean anticipation–with a knife. Allah Mathematics, Wu’s official DJ gave us a Clan history lesson playing a bunch of old tracks, before calling out his brothers.
This moment was all about brothers. Spending this show alongside my little brother, who has had his whole life drastically changed over the past few months, having his sight stolen from him, was so special for me. Watching him sing every single word, having him lean into me so we could sing along together and the smile that never left his face… made me sometimes forget Wu-Tang were on stage ripping it up. Sharing live music with a loved one means the world to me, I love you Philip. Wu played a great mix of tracks, but we were blown away by them playing “C.R.E.A.M” as well as “Ice Cream” in the same set. And of course they played the crowd favourite, “Ain’t Nothing to Fuck Wit.”
After all that excitement I decided to take it down a notch and go check out Hannah Georgas for a bit and recharge. She has a darling voice and it was just what the doctor ordered at that point.
I then returned to the main stage area to find a friend and catch some Tegan and Sara followed by fun. to end the first weekend. I have never been a huge Tegan and Sara fan but have enjoyed some of their music. I can now say they are more my style live than on record. From the light show to their beautiful mix of voices, the girls put on a good show. They played some of the tracks I was most familiar with, such as “Back in Your Head,” so I got a chance to sing along. They were a little more rocking than expected.
It was now time to cap of the night with some fun. These gentlemen are entertainers. They put on an incredible show. From their seemingly limitless energy, the light show, the ever-changing video screen behind them, the lead singer’s gold microphone and their upbeat dancy music, they get you hooked. There were three or four girls behind me who could not help themselves but scream, “I love you!” after every single song. fun.’s music and energy is infectious. Nate Ruess, the lead singer, who kind of looked like a very sweaty Matt Damon, could totally feel the love.
“This might be the biggest show we have ever played. Bluesfest you fucking rule,” he said. Later on he added, while wiping tears from his eyes, “This is the coolest thing that happened this year,” after the crowd had cheered so loud and non-stop he could not even start to sing the next song.
I am pretty sure they played every song people wanted to here, including “Carry On” and “We Are Young,” and no one expected (at least I did not) “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones. Eleven p.m. came and went and fun. were not done. They came back for an encore around quarter after and played the much anticipated “Some Nights,” to close out the night and say screw you Ottawa by-law.
The first weekend is done and the day I have been anticipating for over a decade has finally arrived. I will see the legendary ska band The Specials tonight!