Festival Review + Photos: Ottawa Bluesfest 2015, Part Three (including Blue Rodeo, Arkells, CeeLo Green, + more)

Cee Lo Green
Today was hot, like HAWT hot. Luckily, there were no dehydrated punters being harvested from the collective sponge of bodies which amassed at the main stage previous nights. Today was all (for the most part) about chillin’. Kicking off said chill factor was Australian reggae/indie rock fusion act Sticky Fingers mixing the sweltering heat with some fine relaxed atmosphere sounds to suit. Next up was Tribal Seeds, again fitting the reggae genre (and look), with over 3/4 of the band supporting the unwashed dread head look with the majority of songs in reference to the “sticky icky”.

Afterwards was 90’s LA based alternative rock three piece Failure, playing to a minimal attendance but an eager one none the less, they barrelled through a set comprised of mid 90’s hits as well as some from their recent post hiatus album “The Heart is a Monster”.

Finding it weird that I had yet to see an actual “blues” act at this festival, I went searching, luckily it didn’t take long for me to stumble upon The Kinsey Report, comprised of 3 brothers and spanning 2 decades of song writing, naturally they had their formula down to a fine art.

When The OBGMs finally kicked things off, their energy and general realness was apparent almost instantly. Every member equally energetic as their counterpart and ever present through out the entirety of their set. New fan you say? Maybe!

Keeping it blues and predominately guitar was Philip Sayce, the dude shreds.. and then shreds.. and shreds… and shreds. The guitar enthusiast in me was content. The majority of the crowd were gathered at the Canadian Stage to witness Southern Ontario’s The Glorious Sons, and for good reason. Their sound, song structure, and musicianship were second to none with lead singer Brett Emmons thrashing himself around stage possessed sour note when he called out the crowd for being “pussies” for not responding to their performance as he’d hoped. Swigging from a bottle of red sometimes makes ones tongue loosen, so I’ll allow it a la rockstar “cry for help” persona.

CeeLo Green is a presence of a man, audibly and physically. Gracing the stage in overly religious looking muumuu to then reside on a regal looking wooden throne, the mix of persona, stage props, and backing band set the tone for what would be a very mixed sounding set. Having little research on the former Gnarls Barkley singer, I’d assume he would’ve had enough repertoire from previous releases to fill an hour long set. Instead, the multi-Grammy award-ist chose to feature a varying array of dance-floor-filla numbers from the 80’s and 90’s amongst them Rock the Casbah, Sweet Dreams, Let’s Dance, and Smells Like Teen Spirit, so keeping it very “hit machine” for the entirety of his set.

Shortly after, Hamilton heroes Arkells took to the Canadian Stage, bringing all the jiving and shoe shuffling one could bring to a purpose built unfolding trailer stage. The very responsive crowd stuck on almost every move, thrust, and note spouted by frontman Max Kerman.

Closing out the main stage was Blue Rodeo. The chaos and confusion that plagued the stage the previous nights was almost a distant memory with most the younger punters now back home appreciating overly priced Kanye merch and drooling over their shaky and distorted phone videos. No, none of that tonight. Most of the mid-aged and over fans of Blue Rodeo got to put their feet up, with ample space, enough for even the more elaborate of fold out chairs. The lads took to the stage quietly and undetected drifting into their first song much like you’d expect any Blue Rodeo number would. This keeping the pace for what pretty much was the bulk of Sunday’s performances. Very chill, man.

Blue Rodeo


CeeLo Green

The Glorious Sons

Philip Sayce



The Kinsey Report


Tribal Seeds

Sticky Fingers

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Photos and Review by Rick Clifford | @rcstills

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