Live music galleries: Ottawa Bluesfest 2019, day eight – Loon Choir, BlakDenim, The Offspring, Busty and the Bass, Guided by Voices

(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.)

25 years of Bluesfest

Artists: Loon Choir, BlakDenim, The Offspring, Busty and the Bass, Guided by Voices
When: July 12th, 2019
Where: Lebreton Flats Park, Ottawa
Some words: So… last night was my final night at Bluesfest for the year (there are two more days but the music there doesn’t really appeal) and it just happened to coincide with a Friday… so there might have been some beers involved.*

To start things off, I headed back into the Barney Danson theatre to catch local indie, chamber rockers, Loon Choir. Last night marked my third time seeing this cool collective, each time at Bluesfest, but the last time I had seen them was six years ago so I was eager to hear how their sound had evolved. There was certainly a bit more maturity and professionalism but the idealism, especially on the part of the lead vocalist, was alive and well and the eight-piece put forth a wondrous sound.

Just before they finished, I ducked out to the Videotron stage to catch a snippet of another local band about whom I’d heard good things. BlakDenim is a funk/soul/rap outfit that had the small outdoor stage jumping. There were horns, great energy, and a little bit of breakdancing. I was sold. And if it weren’t for the fact that I wanted to get a good spot for the next main stage act, I would have lingered longer.

The Offspring were a band that I knew but never loved back in the heyday of 90s alt-rock and lord knows, I never thought I might ever see them live. However, given they were on the lineup and that I had planned on attending last night, there wasn’t a chance I would miss them. And man, I’m glad I didn’t. They were a hell of a lot of fun, playing pretty much all their hits and throwing in some new bits that weren’t at all out of place. Of course, the beer I had thus far drunk and the energy in the crowd might’ve helped, but I’ve got to admit, they were a highlight of the festival for me.

I then caught a smidgen of the high energy set by Busty and the Bass back on the Videotron stage on the recommendation of a work colleague and would do so again, even given the small sample size. Finally, though, my night ended at the Bluesville stage, where I witnessed a living legend in Robert Pollard and his group Guided by Voices. To be honest, I didn’t stay to the end but given that all their songs were about a minute or two, I still felt that I caught about a million of their songs. And even at that, I felt that the diehards around would’ve loved hours more.

Loon Choir
Kathleen Cauley of Loon Choir
Craig Barlow and Dan Larmour of Loon Choir
Derek Atkinaon of Loon Choir
Kenny Creole, Karl Acelin, and Crystalena Paquette of BlakDenim
Dexter Holland and Pete Parada of The Offspring
Greg K of The Offspring
Noodles of The Offspring
The Offspring
Busty and The Bass
Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices
Guided By Voices

Once again, Bluesfest has offered me hours of great music, even with the cancellations and the nights I missed. The pass purchase has always been worth my while. Thanks again, organizers, for a job well done.

*My excuse for the lack of quality photos out of the way,

Best tunes of 1991: #22 Red Hot Chili Peppers “Under the bridge”

<< #23    |    #21 >>

So I’ve never been a big fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers.

My friend Elliott tried back in the day, playing their fourth album, 1989’s “Mother’s milk”, for me incessantly. I understood that it was different and in some ways innovative, but it never spoke to me. Then, when the first single from “Blood sugar sex magik” came out and my friend was all over it, I was not. In fact, “Give it away” drove me nuts. The rest of the album wasn’t my thing either but there was one song (and I’m sure you can guess which) that caught my ear and I’ll get back to that in a sec.

Since then, the LA-based funk rock band led by founding members Anthony Kiedis and Flea has reached legendary status, becoming one of the more successful bands to come out of the early 90s alt-rock explosion. But because I’ve never really paid that much attention, I hadn’t really grasped the true extent. That is, until they were slotted to play Ottawa Bluesfest a couple of years ago and the night they were headlining sold out, the first time a night has sold out in the festival’s history.

Of course I would like “Under the bridge” out of all of RHCP”s songs up to that point. At first listen, it didn’t really sound like them. In fact, when Kiedis wrote it, he didn’t want to bring it to the band because he didn’t think it fit in with the rest of their work. It was a deeply personal piece for him, expressing his loneliness and reflections on his history with drugs. “Blood sugar sex magik”’s producer, Rick Rubin convinced Kiedis to share it with the rest of the band and he was right to do so.

That now famous guitar intro by John Frusciante is just beautiful. You know the one where he is standing solo on a pedestal, wearing a chullo, like he is a misfit angel casting glory on us all before Kiedis lays down his heavy weight.

“Sometimes I feel
Like I don’t have a partner
Sometimes I feel
Like my only friend
Is the city I live in
The city of angels
Lonely as I am
Together we cry”

Though the feel is completely different than, say “Suck my kiss”, the sound is still definitely Red Hot Chili Peppers. The drumming is somewhat more restrained but Flea’s bassline is still muscular and funk heavy. Frusciante’s guitar through the rest of the song tempers Kiedis’s mood and almost eases him into a faster tempo. Then, the choirs joins in and it is epic.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1991 list, click here.