by Laura Feeney

Since our Wednesday night at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival was jam-packed, last night my Harvest-buddy and I decided that we should enjoy the festival “like normal people.” What did this involve? Selecting a few acts to pop into and getting fully distracted by buskers, food, and friends – of course!

I love the Harvest.

We stumbled onto Queen Street after a marathon photo-editing session and decided to check out a few minutes of Big Head Todd and The Monsters. This produced one of my most memorable Harvest memories to date – the Colorado-based band rocked a bluesy cover of LMFAO’s ‘Sexy and I Know It’ on steel guitar. We left the already-packed Blues Tent beaming, now fully prepared for another fantastic night of music and unexpected turns.

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The Groove-a-matics featuring Johnny Whitehill (left) and Mick Cantwell (right). [Photo: Scott Greer]

Our next stop was the Mojo Tent, where the winners of the Harvest UK-NB Battle of the Blues were set to play. The Groove-a-Matics, featuring guitarist Johnny Whitehill, were selected from nearly 100 UK bands as the next big blues band, so naturally my curiosity was piqued. Mick Cantwell’s deep soulful voice and saxophone solos caught my attention during the first few numbers, but my focus shifted once Johnny Whitehill gained some momentum and began producing one electric guitar solo after another. They played through an enjoyable electric blues-rock set with crisp guitar solos, plenty of saxophone, and classic blues lyrics. In case you missed them, they’ll be playing one last set at the Hoodoo House Stage on Saturday at 7:30.

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These Halifax lads will be returning for weekend shows with their remaining group members. [Photo: Scott Greer]

We proceeded down Queen Street, stopping briefly to take in some awesome fire busking. Next, we took a break from the blues to enjoy an indie-rock stopover at the Barracks Galaxie Tent, catching the last few songs of Fredericton’s Belle Comedians and half of Charlottetown’s Paper Lions. I’ll review this show in depth in my next post, but I must say that I’m a new Paper Lions fan.

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Matt Andersen [Photo: Scott Greer]

Our desire to stay at Fredericton’s “Hipster Central” was trumped by a shared desire to catch Bairdsville’s Matt Andersen on the Mojo Stage. The audience gave a roaring welcome as the Harvest veteran took the stage and his clear, powerful voice filled the tent. It seemed like all of Fredericton had come out to enjoy Andersen and a host of Maritime musicians as they performed an electric blues-rock set that could be heard across Fredericton.

For more photos of the Groove-a-Matics and Matt Andersen, check out this slideshow: