Peter Elkas was booked to play the Barney Danson Theater during the early apex of the Ottawa Bluesfest which might feel disengaging but when you put together 3/4 of the Burt Neilson Band with Peter Elkas you HAVE a show worth experiencing.
It was Saturday, a day that the Tragically Hip were booked as well, so one would know that the line-ups would be insane this evenings. However, if you came early and took in the sun, you'd want to be in that air-conditioned theater for some SOUL music.
Peter Elkas is a very handsome tall white dude that can sing the soul and play the guitar inconspicuously to the point that one needs to look away to make sure that this is really happening. Playing his catalogue for the 200 or so patrons of the theatre was effortless, seemingly, yet we all knew there was effort involved. For instance, he didn't have his regular bass player with him. Instead, his backline included Jeremy Little (Bass Laser) from the Burt Neilson Band. It doesn't end there because the rest of the band was the rhythm section of the BURT NEILSON BAND.
The elephant in the room for fans of both Peter Elkas and the BNB was alluded to by a request from an audience member who recognized the connection and requested a song by the BNB. Peter subsequently introduced the guys as such and pointed out that he didn't know any BNB songs. He should learn one for these moments. He's got the best rhythm section in Canada that aren't yet winning Juno's.
Peter plays to his crowd like there are 30,000 people in front of him. The consistent smile that he makes while noticing that his band is playing his songs as he envisioned is evident and there were a couple of moments where it looked like he was having a serious rush...in his eyes.
From Sweet Nancy to an Otis Redding cover (think Blues Brothers stage intro) Peter's setup included Jeff Heisholt on keys, Gavin MacQuire on the kit, Jeremy Little on Bass (Laser) and Joe (I missed his last name) on horns. You have to hand it to a band that brings a one man horn section. It really fills out the soul.
I was flying solo that night so I grabbed any available seat that was in the front row so I could take some photos with my flash-free technology. Here area few photos from this fantastic event.
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