The weekend finale of Bluesfest simply rocked
Saturday, June 12, the second last day, marked the beginning of the end of this year’s Bluesfest activities. On the main, Claridge Home Stage, local rapper Atherton performed for a small crowd. He draws on a lot of different sounds for his music, and it’s a shame that more people didn’t get to see him perform. With so much going on so early, it’s easy for the crowd to get divided.
Over on The River Stage, another Ottawa act, Sound of Lions was performing. They have a really solid, yet hard to describe sound, and the crowd seemed to sense that.
“I feel like I’ve heard this before, but also I haven’t.”
Mixing a classic crooner singer, with a harder emcee edge the result is something truly beautiful. As mesmerizing as they were, there was still more amazing music on the go. Singer- song writer Jonathan Becker took to the River Stage with his band The North Fields in a performance that was called flawless by one overly zealous day-drunk man. As they finished up their set, you could sense a change in atmosphere coming from the area of the main stages. Action Bronson took to The Claridge Homes stage and the madness began.
Bronson obliterated his set, eventually wading into the crowd while rapping. This is a feat that’s impressive enough considering the entire point of Security at a concert is to prevent that. But he wasn’t done there.Bronson proceeded to hijack a utility golf-cart, use a port-a-potty, and joy-ride with Deltron 3030 who was performing next. All the while continuing to rap, and not missing a beat.
“That was definitely a first for me, just amazing”
Very true, and it was a first for most people there as well. It was also a last for Bronson at Bluesfest, as he was subsequently kicked out, and more than likely banned from performing for a long while. Totally worth it.
As the chaos of Action Bronson died down and his set ended, people migrated towards The Bell Stage.
If they thought the madness would end there, they don’t know Bob Saget.
The ex-Full House father figure and current lecher performed his delightfully disgusting brand of humour. As most of his jokes are certainly unpublishable here I’ll give a brief summary. At one point he made fun of a photographer for getting too close, called a person on stage to make fun of them, and sang a touching country ballad to wooden butt-plugs. After Saget, the action shifted back towards The Claridge Homes Stage and the mood chilled out a little bit.
Deltron 3030, a.k.a. Del the Funky Homosapien, et al, put on an amazing set.
“This is like the polar-opposite of Action Bronson.”
“He was always my favourite part of The Gorillas.” Both of those statements have a lot of validity to them, and the show was by all accounts amazing. But something far stranger was occurring on The River Stage.
Chinese reggae band long Shen Dao performed their brand of breezy and captivating music. Although the roots of the band are firmly in reggae, they also manage to capture elements of electronic and ska music.
“This is like a musical experiment gone horribly right”
“I have no idea what I’m watching, do I like this? There’s no way to tell”
As that experience came to an end, another iconic group was taking to The Bell Stage.Awolnation is mostly known for their runaway hit “Sail,” but they have such a wealth of solid songs that it’s very difficult to pigeon-hole them as a one-hit wonder band. Their performance was good, but experienced a couple of sound related flaws that sullied the experience.
“The keyboard wasn’t even plugged into the amp, and that’s the best part of their songs.”Luckily, another consummate performer had The Claridge Homes Stage, so the crowd could take their collective minds off the previous snafus.
Childish Gambino exploded into his set, and quickly put to bed all skepticism in the crowd.“When I first got here, all I could think was “…this is Troy from Community. I certainly don’t see him rapping about libraries now!”
He was high energy, and the crowd loved him. As good as he was, his show was briefly side-tracked in my portion of the audience.A man who I can only describe as the living embodiment of punk rock entered the crowd. Tall, bearded, and ready to party. He chugged from a mickey of vodka, declared ‘I hate vodka’ made a “V” in front of this mouth with his fingers, and proceeded to create a circle of vomit roughly 5 feet in diameter. This was followed by wiping his mouth on a passerby’s shirt and stealing the unfortunate man’s sunglasses. All ended well though, as the two ended up dancing in one of the strangest pairings ever.
Sometimes the performance isn’t the real show.Gambino finished his set with nor further incidents in the crowd, and the action shifted to the main draw of the night.Snoop Dogg (Snoop Lion) took to The Bell Stage for the last performance of the night, and that strange fog I’ve previously mentioned returned. The show was well received but there were a couple of observations from the crowd.
“It’s weird to me that he mostly did songs he was featured on and not ones he did himself.”
The crowd emerged from the smog, and back out into the world at large.Bluesfest reached its climax, the crowd was satisfied for another day. And the ride wasn’t even over yet, with just one more day to go.
Story by Brian Talmey, Photos by Alexander Vlad