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Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Sam Roberts Band [2014]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Like my ‘Vinyl love’ series, these posts will be more photos than words but that doesn’t mean I won’t welcome your thoughts and comments. And of course, until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts page.)

Sam Roberts of The Sam Roberts Band


Artist:
The Sam Roberts Band
When: July 13th, 2014
Where: Claridge Homes stage, Ottawa Bluesfest, Lansdowne Park, Ottawa
Context: Just a few days ago, I posted about an incredible early single by a singer/songwriter that since the time of its release has become something of a Canadian institution. Montreal-based, Sam Roberts started things off as a solo artist but these days leads a pretty solid rock band that releases music that is pretty universal in terms of fan base, at least here in Canada. I feel like I’ve seen him perform live a bunch a times but in reality it was only twice, at least twice in full, though I’ve had a plethora of opportunities. The first of these opportunities was in 2009, the first year I attended Ottawa’s Bluesfest, and his set overlapped with that of Okkervil River and so only caught a few tunes from it. The first full set I attended was five years later at the same festival and he had just released his fifth album (the second as a band) called “Lo-fantasy”. The crowd was large and pumped and when the energy is that great, you’re bound to have a blast. I spent the whole time jumping up and down, fist pumping in the air, screaming along to lyrics of songs* I’d heard many times over on the radio with people I’d never before met and will likely never do again. Good times indeed.
Point of reference song: We’re all in this together

The Sam Roberts Band!
Eric Fares and Dave Nugent of the Sam Roberts Band
Sam Roberts and James Hall of the Sam Roberts Band
(The sax player)
Dave Nugent
Eric Fares, Dave Nugent, and a sax player
Sam Roberts

*With the magic of the internet, I was able to go back to rewatch the same concert recently on YouTube and sang (not screamed) along with it all over again.

Categories
Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Gogol Bordello [2014]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Like my ‘Vinyl love’ series, these posts will be more photos than words but that doesn’t mean I won’t welcome your thoughts and comments. And of course, until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts page.)

Gogol Bordello live at Ottawa Bluesfest 2014

Artist: Gogol Bordello
When: July 10th, 2014
Where: Claridge Homes stage, Ottawa Bluesfest, Lansdowne Park, Ottawa
Context: It’s been quite a while since I’ve done one of these Live music gallery posts. I was sharing pictures of past concerts on the regular back in the spring, back when this pandemic was so new and the sting of cancelled tours and music festivals was still fresh. It’s been close to fourteen months now since I stood in a heaving crowd and experienced music the way it was meant to be and I’ve resigned myself to the fact it will likely be a bunch more months before we all get back there. But when we do, I’m definitely finding passes to a music festival and going large. And it’s not necessarily going to matter who’s playing because we know the musicians are missing this as much as we are and the first bunch of shows they all do are going to be epic. Kind of like when I saw gypsy punk collective, Gogol Bordello at Bluesfest back in 2014. The energy was palpable, aggressive but not violent, and it was all ignited simply by frontman Eugene Hütz arriving on stage. He was a lightning rod for sure, but the other seven members of the band weren’t exactly inert either. In fact, I think the crowd on stage were just as rowdy as the crowd watching, each playing the hell out of their instruments, be it fiddle, guitar, bongo drum, or accordion, and each contributing to the mass vocal message. The music was equally good for dancing as it was for slamming into other people, as witnessed by the different ways the varied crowd appreciated the performance. By the time Hütz finally dispensed with the shirt that was only getting in the way of his running about the stage about halfway through the set, I knew Gogol Bordello’s was a performance I would remember for years to come.
Point of reference song: Amen

Eugene Hütz of Gogol Bordello
Elizabeth Sun of Gogol Bordello
Oliver Charles of Gogol Bordello
Michael Ward of Gogol Bordello
Pasha Newmer of Gogol Bordello
Pedro Erazo of Gogol Bordello
Thomas Gobena and Pasha Newmer
Pedro Erazo and Eugene Hütz
Thomas Gobena and Pasha Newmer
Eliazabeth Sun, Pedro Erazo, Eugene Hütz, and Pasha Newmer
Sergey Ryabtsev and Michael Ward of Gogol Bordello
Eugene Hütz: The man, the legend.
Categories
Live music galleries

Ten great Ottawa Bluesfest sets: #10 Violent Femmes – Sunday, July 6th, 2014

(This year’s edition of Ottawa Bluesfest has been cancelled, for obvious reasons. In previous years, especially on my old blog, I would share photos and thoughts on some of the live music I was enjoying at the festival throughout the duration. So for the next week and a half, I thought I’d share ten great sets, out of the many I’ve witnessed over the years, one for each day on which music would have be performed. Enjoy.)

Violent Femmes live at Bluesfest 2014

Artist: Violent Femmes
When: Sunday, July 6th, 2014
Where: Claridge Homes stage at 8:00pm
Context: Yes, I know they’re from a long time ago but they’re a band I’d never seen live. Like the last two sets I’ve posted pictures from, sets by The Waterboys and Belle and Sebastian, this one crossed off another big one on my list of bands to see. Violent Femmes’ self-titled, debut album for 1983 was one of my favourite albums growing up and as I learned that evening, I still know every word from every song.

I knew as soon as they started things off with what is arguably their biggest song, “Blister in the sun”, that their plan was to play that self-titled, debut album from beginning to end. (Do I have to tell you that the crowd went nuts?) By the time they got to “Good feeling”, I was in heaven and my voice was hoarse from singing along. After playing “Violent femmes”, they played a selection of hits from the rest of their career (see full setlist below), including “Jesus walking on the water”, “I held her in my arms”, and perennial favourite, “American music”.

Gordon Gano’s performance was tempered to a low pitch, letting his vocals tell the story, except of course, when the songs required the use of the fiddle or the banjo. By comparison, Brian Ritchie was a monster on the acoustic bass, making his presence felt on every song, and Brian Viglione (replacing original drummer Victor DeLorenzo) was a master showman, dazzling us with solos and tossing out drumsticks and brushes to the audience. For a band that’s been around a long time, they played to a crowd of all ages, not just us old folk. There were a large group of youngsters who likely weren’t even born yet in 1983, holding on to the rail at the front of the stage and shaking their moppy heads so hard, it gave me a headache just watching. However this wasn’t a tired old reunion performance in the least. The Violent Femmes looked like they had the energy to do this for maybe another thirty years.

Gordon Gano
Brian Viglione on drums
John Sparrow on the cajón and Brian Ritchie on the xylophone
Gordon Gano on the fiddle
Brian Ritchie on the acoustic bass
Kicking it with Brian Viglione
Gordon Gano on the banjo
Gordon Gano and Brian Ritchie

Setlist:
Blister in the Sun
Kiss Off
Please Do Not Go
Add It Up
Confessions
Prove My Love
Promise
To the Kill
Gone Daddy Gone
Good Feeling
Jesus Walking on the Water
Country Death Song
Old Mother Reagan
Freak Magnet
Gimme the Car
Black Girls
I Held Her In My Arms
American Music

(I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through ten of my favourite Bluesfest sets from years past. Here’s hoping we don’t have to do this again next year and instead have a bunch of new performances to experience.)