Mississauga native PND is having a party next door in Toronto
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PartyNextDoor has been blowing up social media recently with cryptic tweets  which have become the hallmark for OVO marketing their stable of artists of which PND is a proud member of. Now just days before …

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Home » Festivals, Music

It was a classics celebration at Ottawa’s Bluesfest

Submitted by on July 13, 2014 – 10:00 pmNo Comment

bf_day7_web-19There are events we experience in our existence that make us believe in a higher power, one far greater than us that leaves all who witness it in wonderment and utter amazement: Solar eclipses, the Northern Lights, and even Gogol Bordello.

bf_day7_web-69They are a group of gypsy punks, lead by charismatic singer Eugene Hutz. Combining elements of cabaret, eastern folk, and punk they took to the Clarudge Home stage to open up Thursday’s Bluesfest activities in Ottawa.

You don’t so much watch them perform as you are sucked into their gravity. Blasting through songs like “Wanderlust King” and “Think Locally Fuck Globally” they worked the crowd into frenzy.bf_day7_web-53As Hutz barrelled into the band’s most well-known hit “Start Wearing Purple,” he began to play a bass drum using a wine bottle.  It was savage, abrasive, and absolutely wonderful.  Showman to the core, crowd was left satisfied and a little shell shocked – leading into ridiculous mosh pit testimonials on their behal:

“I think I may have developed PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in that pit.”

“He’s like a Gypsy Jesus.”

“Holy Shit.”bf_day7_web-21Those were just some examples from the audience’s response to Gogol Bordello’s performance on the Home stage. In between claps, shouts, and swigs of their beverages, the fans would bask in their reflected glory.

“This show alone is worth a full week’s pass,” won top one-liner review.

In my opinion, that’s both a fair observation, albeit entirely inaccurate at the same time. bf_day7_web-73Next on the day’s bill were psychedelic rock legends Procul Harum took to The Bell Stage, and although the energy was different than that of Gogol Bordello – it was no-less entertaining.

At one point the lead singer tried to stand up from his keyboard and then was like “nope,” and sat right back down. But these are men who have been professionally rocking for decades. Backed by the NAC Orchestra, they transported the crowd to another time.

“Hearing “Whiter Shade of Pale” live is like waking up in my first apartment again,” was the sentiment expressed by the guy beside me. In his early fifties, his sentiments were shared even  by the younger generation there – “I was born three decades too late.”bf_day7_web-29 bf_day7_web-31While this up-to-the-minute time capsule was taking place, there was also interesting performances happening elsewhere on the Bluesfest expanse grounds.

Texas songstress Long Tall Deb took to the Black Sheep Stage with her blistering brand of bluesy funk. The crowd was smaller than those of the main stages, but she engaged them with her stage presence and kept them there with her talents.

On another stage, four piece indie rockers The Districts were performing their unique and catchy brand of spastic rock.bf_day7_web-82They’re a group of talented musicians from Pennsylvania, and frankly a breath of fresh air to the stagnant independent rock scene from down south. The sound is all at once classic, with basic four/four timing, and yet, it has a refreshing energy.

When The Districts’ set was over, a short walk back outside took us to The Black Sheep stage to watch Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam. For those of you unfamiliar with Dave Mason, the man is an incredible guitarist who’s been setting stages since the seventies. The crowd was a little older at first, but some of the youth found their way over towards his stage after they heard his six-strings singing. He mesmerized the audience for his hour long set.bf_day7_web-57“If you’d asked me yesterday, I wouldn’t be able to tell you who Dave Mason was,” explained an intoxicated concert-goer. “ Probably the same if you ask me to tomorrow morning, but this is amazing.”

But then another guy turned to me and exclaimed “I’ve been following this guy since before you were born!” I didn’t doubt him for a second.

Meanwhile, back on The Claridge Homes Stage, the one and only eighties pop-rock sensations Blondie were taking the stage. The crowd was packed and excited, although some didn’t seem to know why they were there.bf_day7_web-86“Honestly, I can name one of their songs, maybe. But it’s so good the rest have to be, right?”

Indeed. And they weren’t wrong in that assessment. The show was good, the crowd loved them, and people realized they’d heard Blondie more than they thought.

“I could’ve sworn this was a Joan Jett song, I just learned something today!”bf_day7_web-85bf_day7_web-87On the main, Bell stage, country legends The Band Perry performed. Their show was well attended and received, and you could hear the fans at the other side of the grounds. However, they were not necessarily the most interesting performance closing the night out.

That distinction has to go out to Young the Giant.  They are an indie power-house, lead by singer Sameer Gadhia. As they melted through their set, that mysterious fog enveloped the crowd again. What makes Young the Giant unique though, is the sense of unity in the crowd. They made every one sing along, even though most didn’t know the words.bf_day7_web-93 bf_day7_web-47Story by Brian Talmey, photos by Alexander Vlad

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