Live music galleries: Ottawa Bluesfest 2019, day seven – Brandon “Taz” Nederauer, Shakey Graves

(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.)

Bluesville stage lineup

Artists: Brandon “Taz” Nederauer, Shakey Graves
When: July 11th, 2019
Where: Lebreton Flats Park, Ottawa
Some words: After taking another night off imposed by serious stomach issues (I’ll never know what that was), I was back at the festival last night. A massive wave of violent storm activity passed through the area right around the time the gates were due to open, delaying this for almost two hours and cancelling a whole swath of the early shows. This suited me just fine because I had planned from the beginning to head back home by bus, eat a home-cooked meal, and then drive back in to catch a couple sets.

On deck on the Bluesville stage tonight were some serious guitarists. I arrived with plenty of time to catch the first of them to take the stage for 7:30: teenage blues rock guitarist, Brandon “Taz” Nederauer. It wouldn’t necessarily be music I would listen to all the time but you have to hand it to a kid that picked up a guitar after watching the film “School of rock” and found out he had real talent.

The headliner and real reason I roused myself back down to the muddy festival grounds last night was the return to Bluesfest of Alejandro Rose-Garcia, aka Shakey Graves. I had seen him twice before already, but have recently discovered his latest album and the new direction for the Texas-born guitarist and roused my interest in him all over again. As for his show? Like always, the man was a performer and had the crowd with him the whole way.

Brandon ‘Taz’ Niederauer and his band
Matt Godfrey on guitar
Kendall Lentz on drums
Matt Fox on bass
Brandon Niederauer
Shakey Graves alone onstage
Shakey Graves and his band
Patrick O’Connor on guitar
Jon Shaw on bass
Shakey Graves with drummer Chris Boosahda in the background

Live music galleries: Ottawa Bluesfest 2019, day five – Scary Bear Soundtrack

(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.)

Entrance to Bluesville

Artist: Scary Bear Soundtrack
When: July 9th, 2019
Where: Lebreton Flats Park, Ottawa
Some words: This’ll be a short and sweet one.

I hadn’t actually planned on attended Tuesday night but an early set by a local band caught my eye. The name, Scary Bear Sountrack, was a fun one that aroused my curiosity. However, it was the influences of dream poppers My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins, and Canadian indie stalwarts, Stars, that drew me right in.

And that’s the beauty of having a festival pass. One can choose to stop in after work for one band, a local one that may be heretofore unheard of, without a great commitment, rock out at the front of the Bluesville stage and go home at a decent hour, satisfied.

And so that is what happened.

To sum up, many of you outside of Ottawa, or if you’re lucky, Canada, may never get the chance, but if you do and you love any of the aforementioned influences, go check out Scary Bear Soundtrack. The local five piece led by Gloria Guns put on a great set for these ears, three part female vocal harmonies and plenty of noisy guitars and washy synths.

Scary Bear Soundtrack

“Trevor”

Gloria Guns of Scary Bear Soundtrack

Live music galleries: Ottawa Bluesfest 2019, day four – James, Psychedelic Furs, Ashley MacIsaac

(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.)

James concert T-shirt

Artists: James, Psychedelic Furs, and Ashley MacIsaac
When: July 7th, 2019
Where: Lebreton Flats Park, Ottawa

James… in Ottawa!

Some words: When the lineup for this year’s festival was announced months ago, I had to blink and wipe my eyes and do a bunch of double takes: James?!? One of my favourite ever bands, James? Sure enough, it was them and not some other group or artist with the same moniker. Pass purchased.

Those of you who have been following along with these pages for a while will know that I’ve been a fan of the Manchester-based, hit-making alternative rock collective for a while and that they are also one of my wife, Victoria’s all-time favourites. The two of us drove to Montreal to see them in a small club back in 2008 (still one of our favourite ever shows) so the drive downtown from the suburbs was a much quicker trip. James is amazing live and yesterday’s afternoon set was just more proof of that. Their big sound is definitely conducive to the festival concept and frontman Tim Booth is just as engaging with the bigger crowds. Of course, at just an hour it was way too short but they still managed to fit quite a few classics in with their new material, rousing even non-fans with their only hit to cross over to North America: “Laid”. (And as evidenced above, I did buy a concert tee, the first I’ve owned in over a decade.)

Unfortunately, the line Victoria and I picked for food after James’s set was the wrong one. The meal when we finally received it was tasty enough but the purveyors were so disorganized, the close to one hour wait wasn’t worth it. This also meant we listened to almost half of The Psychedelic Furs‘ set from said queue and by the time we were done eating, we were never ever to get very close to the stage for all the young fans that were arriving early for The Killers. The Furs, who are currently touring North America with James, put on a good enough show, playing all their 80s hits and any other songs I would’ve wanted to hear. My wife didn’t think too much of them, though, and didn’t remember any of their stuff.

Afterwards, we navigated through the amassing crowds for a spot to watch the main stage headliners and Victoria wondered when The Killers got so big. We had seen them almost fifteen years before at a tiny club in Ottawa, just before they struck it big and while reminiscing about that, we realized that neither of us were tied to seeing them again. So we extricated ourselves from the masses and headed for the Bluesville stage to catch the side stage headline set by Ashley MacIsaac (yes, that Ashley MacIsaac). We found a seat on the bleachers and enjoyed some crazy celtic folk fusion by the award-winning Cape Breton born fiddler and percussionist Jay Andrews. It was quite the civilized way to end the evening.

Andy Diagram of James
Adrian Oxaal of James
David Baynton-Power of James
Mark Hunter of James
Saul Davies of James
Tim Booth in the crowd
Tim Butler and Amanda Kramer of The Psychedelic Furs
Rich Good and Mars Williams of The Psychedelic Furs
Richard Butler and Paul Gariston of The Psychedelic Furs
Ashley MacIsaac and Jay Andrews
Jay Andrews
Ashley MacIsaac