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Home » Festivals, The Scene

Bluesfest showcase takes sharp turn towards the ’90s

Submitted by on July 16, 2014 – 9:23 pmNo Comment

bf_july11_web-15It began with a rickshaw ride through the throngs of pedestrians filing into LeBreton Flats for the Bluesfest Friday, July 11 lineups.

For journalism related reasons, I found myself in the back of a rickshaw with a local rapper who was the living embodiment of Tom Haverford from the television show Parks and Recreation.
bf_day8_web-58As we ripped around the streets in front of the Bluesfest grounds it was revealed that the rickshaw driver was friends with “Tom”. Knowing people is usually a good thing, unless that person is hauling you around and enjoys messing with you.What followed was a mix of parkour and insanity. We flew through the streets and over any and all little jumps, eventually using one of the slanted walls of the Canadian War Museum parking lot as a ramp and almost flipping over. I hadn’t even entered the day’s events and things had gotten out of hand.

When I entered the grounds, I noticed folk-pop musician Brett Dennen on the main Claridge Homes Stage. He has said in interviews that his style is heavily influenced by Paul Simon, and there’s definitely an air of that in his style. He’s an interesting performer who is beginning to gain some commercial traction. As one fan put it

“I’ve known his music forever, I’m just glad the rest of the world is catching up to me”

It was a great performance, and as you left it towards The Bell Stage, you could see a whole other atmosphere developing. The hair got longer, the sleeves on shirts shorter, bandanas were out in spades.bf_july11_web-16Slash took to the stage with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators and ripped through a set of classics and some new hits.   It was an almost flawless performance technically, but some complaints came from the crowd

“So this is just Guns ‘n’ Roses, right? I mean, I can’t tell the difference. ”

Despite that sentiment, there were some watching who were honored by the opportunity

“Slash is one of the greatest guitarists alive, how could I not want to see him live?”bf_july11_web-42 bf_july11_web-22As Slash wrapped up his performance, you could see flocks of 15-16 year olds heading towards The Black Sheep Stage. By far, the youngest audience one couldn’t help but wonder where they were going.

Heading toward The Black Sheep Stage you saw what the fuss was about. 17 year old Swedish rapper, Yung Lean was performing.  Between his shoddy performance, and his awful promoters randomly throwing flyers into the crowd this was easily the worst part of Bluesfest.  As I’m not in the business of being negative, I’ll allow the crowd to speak for me.

“This is why our generation is doomed.”

“I just got a paper-cut, on my face. Sweet promoting.”

“Yuck!”

But then again, he had legions of screaming girls, so there must be something to him.bf_july11_web-44bf_july11_web-29For those in the crowd who felt ancient next to the Yung Lean crowd salvation was on The Claridge Homes Stag. Nineties pop group Third Eye Blind were performing. The played a mix of old classics and some newer songs as well.  The crowd was overall entertained, though some questioned the band’s motives.bf_july11_web-34‘I’ve noticed that for each of their three hits they played extended 6 minute performances. Really milking that 90’s nostalgia, eh?”

Keeping with that 90’s stream, The Barenaked Ladies took to The Bell Stage to close the night.bf_july11_web-35Consummate performers as always, they kept the crowd going with their new and old hits, and classic self-depreciating humor:

“We’re going to play a new song. It’s ok if you don’t know it we don’t really expect you to.”

It was a wonderful visit to a simpler time, and those in the audience couldn’t help but feel uplifted.

“If 12 year old me was here right now, he’d be shitting bricks.”bf_july11_web-48Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth closed down The Blacksheep stage with his drum heavy beats while classic blues band Texas Horns shook The Barney Danson Theatre. But the real jewel of the night was closing out the night on The River Stage.

July Talk took to The River Stage with their brand of indefinable whiskey-infused rock.  It is a raw, and focused demonstration of rock and roll to see them live.

As previously mentioned, Fridays are often a fair prediction of how the rest of the weekend will go. Friday, June 11th left those who were at Bluesfest in desperate wonderment at how this amazing event would cap things off.

Story by Brian Talmey, Photos by Alexander Vladbf_july11_web-55

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