Live music galleries: Ottawa Bluesfest 2019, day one – Marie-clo, Abigail Lapell, Chvrches, U.S. girls, Alt-J

(Since I’ll be too busy attending Ottawa Bluesfest over the next week or so to continue with this blog’s regularly scheduled programming, I thought I would do a special ‘live galleries’ series this week to share some pics from some of the sets I am enjoying.)

May of Bluesfest 2019 grounds

Artists: Marie-clo, Abigail Lapell, Chvrches, U.S. girls, Alt-J
When: July 4th, 2019
Where: Lebreton Flats Park, Ottawa
Some words: By my count, it’s been four years since I last bought a full festival pass to Ottawa’s Bluesfest, mostly due to increasing difficulties in finding enough in the lineup to be excited about. This year, there were two (perhaps three) bands that I was really, really jived for (and multiple others that generated a good enough amount of interest) and one of them was scheduled to play last night. Unfortunately for me (and likely many others), they were forced to cancel all of their summer shows. This removed a horrible time slot conflict with the main stage headliners for a lot of people. But for me, I would have rather seen First Aid Kit and crossed them off the bucket list. Next time, I guess.

I stopped off for dinner and a couple beers at a local brewery before heading down to the festival, factoring in plenty of time to navigate the long lines that are usual on opening night as organizers figure out their processes. Imagine my surprise to find nary a line, which made walking the labyrinth of temporary barriers superfluous. Once past the gates, I refilled my water bottle and headed in to the museum where the festival always has an intimate stage set up inside the Barney Danson theatre. Yeah, I’m very thankful that with last night’s heat, my first two shows were scheduled inside. Sweet air conditioning.

Right at 6 o’oclock was a local-ish, indie pop bilingual vocalist that went by the stage name of Marie-clo and was backed by another local band, Mal/aimé. After that, things got a bit dicey with conflicts and time slot overlaps. I caught the first half of Toronto singer/songwriter Abigail Lapell’s excellent and intimate folkie set. Then, I slipped into the middle of Scottish indie dance pop trio, Chvrches’ well-attended and high energy set on the main stage. At some point around 8pm, I hightailed it to the Videotron stage to catch the end of my happiest surprises of the night: the insanity of Meghan Remy’s art pop laboratory, U.S. Girls. I finished the night back at the City stage where the crowds had amassed even more for Alt-J. And it was brilliant.

Marie-clo and Mal:aimé
Marie-clo
Abigail Lapell
Lauren Mayberry and Jonny Scott of Chvrches
Martin Doherty of Chvrches
Iain Cook of Chvrches
Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches
U.S. Girls
Meghan Remy aka U.S. girls
Alt-J
Thom Sonny Green of Alt-J
Gus Unger-Hamilton of Alt-J
Joe Newman of Alt-J

Live music galleries: Dizzy [2018]

(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 of page.)

Dizzy live at Ottawa Dragonboat Fest, 2018

Artist: Dizzy
When: June 22nd, 2018
Where: Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, Mooney’s Bay, Ottawa
Context: Tonight marks the start of Ottawa’s Dragon Boat Festival, the festival that is considered by many the kick off to the festival season in our nation’s capital. It is a non-profit event that showcases both competitive and for fun dragon boat racing. They also happen put on a series of free concerts on every night of the festival and often, the Canadian talent they manage to draw is amazing. Unfortunately, this year will mark the first in the last six that I will be unable to attend any of the free music sets. Indeed, I have seen some great shows over the recent past and discovered some great homegrown musical artists. Oshawa-based Dizzy is one of two bands that blew me away last year and made a fan of someone who had not heard them before their performance on the Dragon Boat stage. They are a quartet made up of Katie Munshaw and brothers Alex, Charlie, and Mackenzie Spencer and their sound is some upbeat dreampop in the vein of Lorde. Their set was engaging, their cover of “The suburbs” compelling, and most definitely enough to draw me into investing in their debut album, “Baby teeth”. And now, they’re my second favourite band from the town where I was born.
Point of reference song: Joshua

Katie Munshaw of Dizzy
Alex Spencer of Dizzy
Mackenzie Spencer of Dizzy
Charlie Spencer of Dizzy
Katie Munshaw, close up

Live music galleries: The National [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 of page.)

The National live @ Ottawa Folk Festival, 2014

Artist: The National
When: September 12th, 2014
Where: Eh! Stage, Ottawa Folk Festival, Hog’s Back Park, Ottawa
Context: I had almost forgotten that tomorrow is the day The National is due to release their eighth studio album, “I am easy to find”. They have become one of my favourite bands still regularly releasing music and one of the few that are so reliable, I feel confident purchasing each new album for my vinyl collection without first hearing any of its tunes. I got into them with their fourth album, 2007’s “Boxer”, and by the time 2013 and their sixth album, “Trouble will find me”, rolled around, things had gotten serious between me and the band. While they were touring in support of that album, they headlined the third night of Ottawa’s Folk Festival, for which I had purchased a pass, mostly because The National were appearing there. That year was the final year the festival was held at the pastoral Hog’s Back Park and and the final year before it was rebranded as “CityFolk”. The National’s set on September 12th was mind blowing, my favourite of the festival and likely, of all the sets I had witnessed that year. All of that to say, the release date is remembered. See you all at the record stores tomorrow.
Point of reference song: I need my girl

Matt Berninger and Scott Devendorf of The National
Bryce Dessner of The National
Matt Berninger and the brothers Devendorf of The National
Aaron Dessner of The National
Bryce Dessner again
Matt Berninger and Scott Devendorf close up