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Blues Log 07112008


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Ottawa Bluesfest

Blueslog

Stardate 071108

Live Music Review

Review By: Velvet

Shelby Lynn - Ottawa Bluesfest 07-11-2008

Shelby Lynn

Beer and burgers are to blame for me missing Ball and Chain this afternoon at the Bluesfest, but they’re local so I’m sure I’ll see them again soon enough. I bee-lined it to the Blacksheep Stage upon arrival anyway in case there was a chance I could catch the last tune or two but alas, ‘twas not to be. What I did find, however, was a concrete dance floor loaded to the tits with lawnchairs. They were already a third of the way up the lawn and prime sitting space was becoming a premium. Of course if the people all stood up and packed away their chairs they wouldn’t extend more than two metres from the stage, but I digress.

I found a spot and sat through the entire set of Shelby Lynne, and not because of my newfound vow to watch entire sets. Basically I was just saving my spot and happy to enjoy idle chatter on a sunny afternoon with friends as her set was…let’s say uninspiring. She does have a wonderful voice, reminiscent of Lucinda Williams, but were it not for the worry that the Blacksheep Stage would become as inaccessible as the Roots Stage was for The Wailers I woulda bailed to any other stage.

It’s common for the casual rock historian to pass over The Kinks when listing the pantheon of supremely important and influential bands of yore, and this is, of course, a blatant error. Ray Davies and his former mates recorded a pile of tunes that influenced masses of musicians and still stand out as great fuÇking songs. They often play like fairy tales (pun intended) relating stories within melodic structures that both mirror and influenced their contemporaries. Sunny Afternoon sounds like a template for The Lovin’ Spoonful while So Tired has The Beatles written all over it. As a composer Ray Davies is a necessary spoke in the wheel of rock history, back in the day when the artists were listening and reacting to one another’s hits.

Even his new songs seem to have the stamp of history on them somehow. He is still very much the storyteller, and while it would be incorrect to say that his new songs sound like his old songs, it is true that he retains his knack for fitting a good melody into a simple chord progression and making it sound different (almost) every time. The whole set was magic but I sure was wishing he was up there with a kickin’ band rocking out.

And then he brought out a kickin’ band and rocked out.

Joined by Shelby Lynne’s band (sans Shelby) Ray played All Day And All Of The Night and You Really Got Me and fuÇk it rocked. It was loosely rehearsed but the band was obviously pumped to be backing up Ray Davies so it had exactly that right bit of ‘going for it’ that makes those tunes work so well. It was a fantastic closer to a memorable set that stands as another feather in the cap of the Bluesfest booking staff.

I was surprised that with ten minutes left until 11pm they didn’t come out for the seemingly obligatory Lola encore. The two acoustic guitars just begged for it all night but I guess Ray Davies felt it best to leave us with the rock & roll ending. And let’s face it, the guy knows a little about rock & roll.

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I was surprised that with ten minutes left until 11pm they didn’t come out for the seemingly obligatory Lola encore.

According to the Citizen, he was ill all day and had to see a doctor before going on, so I bet he just wasn't feeling up to an encore.

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