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Bluesfest hi-lite reel!!

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I thought I'd get things rolling with what I think I liked most about bluesfest..

- Robert Randolph- magical afternoon weather, pumped up preformance, awesome! Definitley my favorite set of the whole festival.

-Spearhead- hippy hop at its best. great band! great ideas and good vibes.

- New Deal- rocked it. tight as hell, slightly poppier than last time i saw em. but fun!

-Allmans, first time seeing them, great setlist and show.

-MMW, probably the most surreal show I've ever seen.. not on my top 5 best mmw shows, but I was glad to be there. way more outside than montreal or toronto, slightly punishing. and short. and not nearly as good as the last ottawa show, and same encore, but still memorable. if only to see them scowl as they walked out to the horrendous crowd.

**honorable mentions

-GTB @ babs.


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Guest Low Roller

What? No Kool and the Gang?

My top 5 would be:

5- Spearhead

4- New Deal

3- Nero (call me crazy, but I thought their show rocked)

2- Robert Randolph

1- Allman Bros.

With honorable mentions to MMW and Ben Harper.

It's been a long week, so my recollection of certain shows may be skewed.

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Here's a different slant - for a mere $91 I saw the following acts over the last ten days:

Ben Harper

Elvis Costello

Daniel Lanois

The Sadies

The New Deal

Cinematic Orchestra

Sheryl Crow

Kool & The Gang

Michael Franti & Spearhead

Susan Tedeschi

The Allman Brothers

Martina Sorbana

Andy Stochansky

Robert Randolph & The Family Band

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

For an extra 50 bucks, I got to see MMW!

$91 and 10 days well spent. I didn't even find the lawnchairs all that annoying... Thank you Ottawa Bluesfest!

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Due to work and sleep requirements, I didn't make much of the 'fest, so my highlights are restricted to:

  • MMW - They started off with what sounded more like 20th-Century avant garde music than jazz, then moved into "Afro-Blue" by Coltrane, and then just went off. I think I learned more about rhythm by watching Billy Martin than I have in the last couple of years watching other drummers.
  • ferriswheeler (Ben Harper afterparty) - It was my third time seeing them in a week, and showed me that their awesome performance the previous Saturday wasn't a fluke: they've gone up a level in my book.
  • GTB w/ The Formula (Elvis Costello afterparty) - Great Bus, great Formula, great mix.
  • nero (ABB afterparty) - OK, they didn't do the Kool & The Gang requests we made, but they still ripped it up. The Lemondust encore alone was worth it.



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Robert Randolf was certainly a highlight, right behind the Allmans.

Ben Harper was a good show, but I had a hard time hearing what would have been the highlight of the show with his acoustic guitar.

The New Deal was great, and I left it too early to catch a quick shot or 2 of Gordo, but he started so late that I was pissed that I missed the rest of the TND.

The Jamstage at 40 main. That was one helluva day. Bullmoose was a blast! We left for Elvis, but missed the photo op....so we actually headed back to 40 main, on account-a that being such a fun time.

Sheryl Crowe reminded me to stay away from the radio headliners.

Allman Bros was an INCREDIBLE experience. I'll never forget our incredible vantage point.

The Lawnchair brigade were no match for us at the ABB. I really got a kick out of the people that had abandoned their chairs and the 4 feet in front of each to find us completely oblivious to their presence upon return.

It was very hard to have to leave nero at set-break to get some much needed sleep due to the wedding in Renfrew. That was a great steam release! There wasn't too much room at ABB to really giv'er. The boys sounded fantastic!

Yesterday's sunny and killer R&R remedy to my lack of energy thanks to Peter's wedding after-party did wonders. Robert Randolf is an incredible presence on stage and off. I wish I could be at the Horseshoe tonight. You guys are LUCKY!

MMW...I just love hearing those guys at the NAC. But, who on earth booked them to play against what is basically a free concert with one of Canada's best known acts?

At least the crowd was made up of 100% MMW fans.

It was so great to see everyone at pretty much the same shows.

Hopefully there will be a few more "Jamfriendly" artists next year.

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Okay, I'm going ot come right out and say it before someone accuses me:

I have become a hermit.

I won't give excuses, though I have many up my sleeve, but really I've just been down and out. Hope to be back "on the scene" soon, right after I win Friday's Super 7. The drinks will be on me!

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Jeez, did the last 10 days actually happen?

I saw:

-Ben Harper

-Elvis Costello (for a bit)

-The New Deal

-The Allman Brothers

-Robert Randolph & The Family Band



-Grand Theft Bus

-Dr. Hux's drummer, Peter get married

-The Jiva Ju house party with Bullmoose (rockin'!)

-Oh and I mustn't forget the Mario Party at Booche's - good times.

Highlights in order

#1 - The Allmans HOLY SHIT!!!!!

#2 - Robert Randolph

#3 - The new deal (My first time)

#4 - nero

#5 - GTB

#6 - MMW

What an amazing 10 days.

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Gee, all this talk of MMW explains why no one took my suggestion of the Dirtbombs. NAC shows were too costly for me, and heck, I was a guest of the Dirtbombs, so I kinda had to see their show. Wanted to, too. [smile]

Didn't see much of the rest of the day, arriving late and taking in a songwriting workshop, then snippets of the Shanks (before Nathaniel Mayer found his way to his own show already started), the last two songs if a fantastic Wolfman Washington and the Roadmasters who probably profited from being late and shifted to the smaller Black Sheep stage (it made them tighter and less diffused than most main stage acts), about ten minutes of Blue Rodeo (partly while buying stuff at the CD tent), completely missed Bionic and got half of The Sights' set. And five minutes of Tony D.

You mean there were some blues acts around? [big Grin]

Enjoyed myself in what limited energy I have these days. (which is the main reason I haven't done a show in ages. I couldn't survive.)

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Man this is gonna be tough!

Elvis was outstanding. He's the reason (along with Queen) that I started playing music, so it was a real treat to see hime from the 3rd row. My 5th Elvis show, and they're always different. This was his jazz show for me.

Ben Harper was good, but I would have liked to see him in MTL instead with a good crowd, no lawnchairs, and some intimacy. It was funny watching all the girls melt during Sexual Healing. I was wondering how long the line would get backstage...

Spearhead: 3rd row centre for this one as well. That show was short but oh so sweet. Raggamuffin afterwards was fun as well. Some 'big man' showed up...

Sadies, always good.

Robert Randolph was absolutely excellent. I was praying that mic wouldn't get passed to me and luckily it didn't. Good to see lots of people take it though. Those pics look super-sweet.

MMW - Afro-Blue make AD happy man.

Allmans - I got really wasted and had a blast. Got pushed by some guy, got kinda mad, then looked at him and turns out he was an Outlaw (the motorcycle mafia), so I didn't make too big a deal out of it [smile] . Woman Across the River was wicked.

Hilarious line of the festival: "Man, that is *funky*!" - Sheryl Crow during Leaving Las Vegas. She don't know funk. I laughed out loud for 5 minutes.

Can't wait for a week of sleep...


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MMW tickets didn't sell well in advance- They started late and they looked very unenthused- especially Chris Wood, who actually looked angry. i thought. It was a pretty embarrasing night for those of us that know what kind of crowds mmw usually draw and deserves. all, oh i dunno, 450 of us. in a venue that holds over 2000, that don't look so good. They went on late, and ended early. very intimate show, but it was made all the more embarrassing by someone flipping the house lights on, not once, not twice but three seperate time during the preformace. then i saw illyb trying to signal a dude to bring him water, twice, then walked off stage to get water, and came back with nothing shaking his head.. also the goon in the front row screaming... "go get em chris!!' 'Woooo billly woooo!" It looked to me like they thought the whole night was a big horrible joke.

however, they still pulled out some awesome stuff. afroblue, fire, and a few other of their own classics. overall a dissapointing night, but mostly for them I bet...

the acoustic encore ( which seems to be the encore standard now) was great too.

goes to show that booking a 50.00 ticket against a bascially free show of one of canada's biggest bands/ closing of the big festival might be a bad idea..

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Well, I only made the last weekend, and during the last two days my feet and back were killing me, which unfortunately curtailed my enjoyment of the rest of the festival. My highlights are :


Susan Tedeschi

Le Nombre

Andre Williams

Theresa Anderson

Robert Randolph


Pinetop Perkins & Bob Margolin

Biggest disappointment? Being in way too much pain to last long enough to see Peter Green [Frown]

Rob Not Bob

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I'm still kicking myself in the arse for missing Robert Randolph, and to a lesser extent, Antibalas and Andre Williams since I was so intrigued by the stories I heard about him...

Spearhead was definitely the highlight for me, no doubt about it. Just fantastic energy.

Ben Harper was good, but it was too noisy during his acoustic set. The Allmans were solid, but not being a huge blues fan I enjoyed the last part of the show the most. The afterparty stuff was tons of fun. Nero was great as always, same with GTB and Ferriswheeler.

I enjoyed the MMW show but I'm still a little bitter about them playing a short show and for spacing out way too much at the beginning. I don't care if 30 people showed up...we paid a fair amount of money to see them and they're pros, you know? Also, the crowd that was there was pretty into it, a couple of screamers aside but that was no big deal. They seemed to appreciate us by the end of the show. I'd rather see them at Barrymore's personally.

I'm looking forward to chilling out at the Jazz fest. $30 for a student pass? Am I missing something here? C'mon! I'm keeping my student card till I'm at least 40, unless for some reason I become less of a cheap bastard.

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As a sidenote folks, you'd be crazy not to volunteer at the bluesfest next year. The vol. bbq was lame, but working 10 hours and seeing everything is definitely not lame.

Ok, my highlights were as follows (in order, to the best of my knowledge).

1. Antibalas: Overall, the best set of music I saw during the weekend. I needed a kick in the pants after having shrugged my shoulders at some of the supposed "incredible" acts

2. Zen Guerilla: Tell me someone else here saw these guys on the Birdman. They played at the same time as Spearhead, and I split my time between the two. It was loud and hardcore, which was what I've been sorely missing in the last few months, or even years. I love this jamband thing, but now and then I need Iommi, or at least Iommi tribute.

3. Spearhead: See above. A really great sound, and so positive without being trite or weak.

4. Le Nombres/Andre Williams: So Andre says "I've been telling these guys that Andre Williams is about two things: Money and Pussy". Then Andre got on my highlights reel

5. Ben Harper/Allmans: I was volunteering during Ben but caught the encore and liked it. Haven't seen him since the Fight for your Mind days but I thought he was pretty good. Saw the Allmans (first time), glad I did but they didn't blow me away. Felt like they were trying too hard, although maybe that was the fungi making me more discerning and analytical than necessary.

Honourable Mentions: I was working during Peter Green but his finale was sounding ridiculously good, made me think of the dead's circa '68 or '69 feedback meltdown at the end of shows.

Sonny Landreth was whooping it up. Kate Fenner and Chris Brown had a nice sound. Kiran Alhuwahlia was interesting (made me reminisce about India).

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Hey Kev, Cinematic was interesting. The first half of their set nearly put me to sleep... then the female singer left the stage and they threw down the grooves!

A little too "chill-out" for my tastes, but I'd go see them again.

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My higlight of Bluesfest has to be BradM, telling us that we need to keep going to see music tonight, even though we are all dead-tired, and HE didnt even make it to Blluesfest.

That, and Robert/Allmans

Wish I saw that Thursday night madness though. Oh wait, I did see some madness that evening. Put any female in front of Mario Party 4 and LOOK OUT!

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Originally posted by Booche:

My higlight of Bluesfest has to be BradM, telling us that we need to keep going to see music tonight, even though we are all dead-tired, and HE didnt even make it to Blluesfest.

Just lookin' out for your best interests, and/or prividing you with a convenient excuse, should you wish to go out, but have others who say you shouldn't.

(And, for the record, I was at MMW, so I wasn't a complete no-show. And, forer the record, no-one is more bugged about how much I missed than I, but work and sleep got in the way. I made the afterparties, but just barely.)



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Here's what I saw:


Susan Tedeschi -- my first time hearing her music... good solid stuff and a nice pace to the set. I was more impressed with her singing than her playing which was nothing special. Her good-natured attitude and backing band made this a fun opening act for...

The Allman Brothers Band -- these guys blew me away. The combination of the playing, being 2nd row centre and the party treats had me in stoner heaven. I have this mental image from the show of Derek and Warren, playing in front of the green psychedelic screen during Dreams, towering like giants over the audience. Too much fun.


Andre Williams -- only caught the last two songs but the highlight was his insane rambling rap about the internet that made no sense and ALL the sense at the same time.

Bob Margolin -- saw him on the main stage with Pinetop Perkins. Not bad but I was pretty far back and didn't really get into it. Then I caught Margolin on the Southern stage and enjoyed his set a lot more. He was joined on stage by Richard Johnston who showed a lot of promise for a young blues guitarist. There was also a local guy on harp that Margolin kept putting over.

Akroyd/Belushi -- had to check this out, just so I could fairly criticize it. Lasted for about 5 songs before the rain become too ridiculous and split. Pretty much what I thought this would be... real slick crowd pleaser covered in cheese.


The Shanks/Nathaniel Mayer -- really didn't give these guys enough attention to offer an opinion.

Bionic -- saw the first part of their set. Really intense, high-energy, speedy hard rock. Good stuff. The singer really gave'r.

Peter Green Splinter Group -- really enjoyed this... have to thank Rob for pushing me to catch it... sorry to hear you missed it. It was pretty standard blues fare to start, Little Red Rooster, that kind of stuff but the last two songs before the encore were Green Manalishi and Black Magic Woman. The jam on BMW was tremendous. It really played with my head and it was a perfect setting to be in, with the sun shining down and looking out over a sea of people. Was anyone else at the main stage for this?

The Dirtbombs -- More high energy from the Birdman stage. Two bass players, two drummers and one singer/guitarist. They didn't take advantage of the double players like I wanted, i.e. in the jam sense, but used them more for sheer power. This was good but it was late into my 3rd day of all-day drinking so I can't say more than that.

Overall, I had a total blast. I loved having this massive party a mere ten minute walk from my front door. Security was SUPER CHILL. There was no problem sneaking in beer and no hassles about smoking. Congratulations to the Bluesfest crew for treating your customers with respect.

I thought the lawnchair problem was solved nicely on Friday, with half the front section of the lawn for chairs, the other for standing. But the lawnchair brigade took over both sides on Saturday and Sunday, making it impossible to get a good spot at the main stage if you weren't lined up at noon and willing to stay in one spot all day. The 'fest should think of a way to accommodate music fans that like to check out the other stages but still get a decent vantage of the main stage. We scored a great spot for Peter Green after being at the side stages all day but only after having to listen to the business from lawnchair people. The best thing to do is just ignore them. We did just that and by the middle of the set they were toasting beers with us. [smile]

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