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Grit, quirkiness and classics on the seventh day

Submitted by on July 13, 2011 – 8:14 pmNo Comment

As one of the top-ten music festivals in North America, Bluesfest is an example of what should be when it comes to drinks and beats in an outdoor venue. From environmental policy to porta-potty ratio, it’s a festival worth committing to.

If you’ve ever purchased a full festival pass you know that there’s a certain degree of respect held for those who attend the most shows consecutively. In the last two years the schedule has included a day of rest at the halfway point, and, much like the break between the regular season and playoffs, it either helps or hinders.

It’s takes a considerable amount of energy to do a festival right and after spending over 50 hours learning which beer line to hit, and when, and where the good samosas are at. Not to mention how to get the most out of your roll of film. It’s sometimes good to just keep with the momentum.

But this year after getting aquatinted with the new layout, re-calibrated to new Mill Street brews and having survived the apocalyptic downpour during The Black Keys, Monday Detox Day was welcomed and the first couple days back have pulled us right back in.

You can attend the fest for any number of days before you get Bluesfested; before you hear the one band that makes the $274.50 worth it. Day seven broke the virginal sound barrier and Dana Fuchs, Buck 65 and John Fogerty formed a musical menage et trios of past, present and future on this night.

As a guy who typically dons plaid and the like, Buck 65 is known more for his linguistic craftsmanship than his satorialist swagger. But when the abstract MC and turntablist walked out on stage in his baby blue striped two-piece suit and matching Jays cap, as many people commented on the getup as they did his spinning.

As an astounding lyricist and musician, Buck 65 consistently brings in a loyal fan base with his seemingly small-town charm, and last night was no different. His ultra entertaining stage presence always seems to personalize his alternative hip-hop style making him likable to just about anyone.

Conscious of the fact he was competing for an audience, he did a CCR cover and claimed that Fogerty would do the same. Nicely played. He captivated fans to the point where is was hard to leave for John Fogerty.

The first event of the evening was Dana Fuchs. Known as “Sadie” from Across the Universe, Ms. Fuchs has a voice that could raise a corpse from the grave. She’s one of those artists you feel guilty comparing to the likes of classic rock legends like Joplin because her soulful banter and whisky rasp are very much her own.

Painted in skinny jeans with a shirt that elicited thoughts of Woodstock, she rocked like a stone cold fox. In her second Bluesfest debut, she did as much to warm up the crowd and disperse goosebumps as she did last summer. Using her awe-inspiring craft to manufacture energy, she gave as much as she received.

Two years running it was one of the most genuine and heartfelt rock and roll shows on the Bluesfest roster – complete with a Zeppelin cover cherry on top (see below!).

As the evening darkened much of the crowd separated between Buck 65 and John Fogerty – ‘The Pride of Nova Scotia’ and the CCR frontman shared a sizable transient fan base who went back and forth between shows (and how could you not?).

Although the music gods projected on Black Keys’ “Everlasting Light” with torrential downpour, they redeemed themselves with a full moon during John Fogerty’s performance of Bad Moon Rising.

In a perfect painting of rock and roll, thousands of fans spanned several kilometers over the Bluesfest grounds to listen to the music that likely characterized their high school years. Not being able to get close to the stage, it was like listening to CCR vinyl with a thousand friends. Who all know Proud Mary isn’t a Tina Turner song!

In a typical festival day we tend to bounce from electro to funk and rarely do three acts compliment each other to this extent. A perfectly balanced evening at Bluesfest 2011 and one of the best days thus far.

And then there’s tomorrow…

Story by Samantha Wood; all photos by Alexander Vlad

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