Festival Review + Photos: Ottawa Bluesfest 2015, Part Two (including Iggy Azalea, Alvvays, Nas, + more)

Second day covering Bluesfest and all the kinks plaguing the festival the day prior, had all disappeared. Arriving mid afternoon to a very sparsely dispersed crowd, navigating between stages was a total breeze! G.Grand playing to a very humble attendance at the Claridge Homes Stage, jumping around and delivering as if the stage were a sold out club show. Family of the Year kicking things off for me at the Canadian Stage, vocalist/guitarist Joe Keefe playing with a broken arm seemed strangely adapt with the limited use of extremity. Nailing songs from most of their back catalog spanning the last 6 years, keeping the mostly lounging around crowd content.

Self proclaimed up and comer Francesco Yates falsetto’d himself onto the stage after his video intro, informing the audience of just how much promise the Toronto-based pop star lead into his first number. All the fluff surrounding this young star was warranted though, through his flawless vocal and instrumental abilities, the again humble crowd lapped up every note. Playing covers from the Weeknd and Ed Sheeran throughout his set to keep the mostly pop enthused crowd interested.

Cali-formed band The Growlers slinked their sound onto the Canadian stage and proceeded to set the tone for the rest of their set with their infectious “beach goth” sound. Brooks Nielsons vocals never faltering far from their recorded standard, awesome performance!

Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts have copped a far amount of bad press recently with Scott’s lacking to hold notes sentences/himself up in general. Having not known this fact, you would have never known this was a thing with the band killing their set from start to sweet finish. Props go to them on completing the set without passing out from heat exhaustion. Allie X for me was strange, yet intriguing with a mix of Disney-esque (read Frozen soundtrack) vocals meshed with opera (at times) and electronica synth-based instrumentation. I then devoted my time to Shakey Graves’ set at the Canadian Stage, the dude is on the money. Playing a set fully consistent with all aspects of a musician that knows their craft, from free styling jams, to banter that seems unrehearsed. Cannot fault this artist.

It would seem there was a staging mix up with the majority of people here to see Nas. The overly energetic hip-hop crowd captured by every syllable of the Brooklyn based legend. His hour long set was full with his back catalog stretching back over 20 years. Dude should’ve graced the main stage fo sho. Alvvays for me are spot on for what they do; never faltering nor challenging anything, safe music if you will. The stage presence was none existent to be expected, everything else was on the money and couldn’t be a better fit for a sunset.. set.

Iggy Azalea sits in the realm of YouTube “watch later” playlists. I never really had time to give the Australian hip hop/pop artist a listen, even though she is from my home country and I should have crossed inspection paths at some point. Alas, I was forced into finally viewing/ listening to her hour long Saturday headliner set. I left feeling exactly the same way as when I went in, not really knowing much about the artist aside from the fact that her set tickets all the boxes most pop styled concerts tick — singing over backing tracks, lots of lights, and confetti… much like a YouTube video.

Iggy Azalea

Alvvays

Nas

Shakey Graves

Allie X

Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts

The Growlers

Francesco Yates

Family of the Year

G.Grand


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Photos and Review by Rick Clifford | @rcstills

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