by Micayla Bussieres
ottawablues2
BadBadNotGood put on the most fantastic show to start of the night and I’m so glad I was not standing in the crowd by the stage. This jazz trio made up of Humber College alumni was greeted with applause and shouts that you’d expect at a pop-punk show, partially because of their extreme talent but also because of hometown boy, Chester Hansen, on the bass. They started their set with covers of a few jazz songs, even bringing out long-time friend and collaborator, Leland Whitty, on tenor sax to join them. As BBNG moved into more originals and drummer, Alexander Sowinski, amped up the crowd, a mosh pit began to form and clouds of dust rose above the crowd. My favourite tune was their cover of TNGHT’s “Bugg’n” because it had so much energy and made the entire audience so pumped up for the rest of the night.

Third Eye Blind at the RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest 2014

Photo by Mark Horton

Next up was Third Eye Blind and I managed to get in the front row once again. I had some pretty good luck during this festival. They had just flown to Ottawa from Hawaii to be at Bluesfest and were very excited to tell us they had been working on their 5th album. Starting with a few songs from the 90’s, the crowd was definitely feeing the nostalgia but soon lead singer, Stephen Jenkins asked if they could play us some of their new songs. They played what is set to be their new single “Back To Zero,” which was reminiscent of their original album, complete with a bit of Jenkins’ signature spoken word in the mix. The band showed a lot of excitement to be playing in Ottawa and surprise at how many fans they had here. They ended their set with the massive hit “Jumper” but came back out for an encore. Jenkins took requests and played a solo “Slow Motion” from the 1999 album Blue, and brought the rest of the band back out to play “How’s It Gonna Be” to end the show.

 

Photo by Mark Horton

Photo by Mark Horton

My friend and I sprinted to the River Stage to see July Talk, and we weaseled our way to the front because she’s a huge fan and said I absolutely had to see them. Instantly I was amazed by the contrast between Peter Dreimanis’ rough, raspy tone, and Leah Fay’s sweet but strong vocals. The two had crazy chemistry on stage, which added so much to the show. I was surprised to hear a few songs that I recognized and loved every single one that I didn’t because the guitar sounded so dreamy and the entire band rocked out so hard to every tune. Leah made a reoccurring joke about how badly she wanted a Beaver Tail (“This song was written about Beaver Tails, right Pete?”), and asked the audience to crowd surf one up to her.

 

As they came out for an encore, Pete and Leah put their keyboard on the stage floor and sat while they sang “Comedown Champion” to bring it all back to where July Talk started. The band was so amazed at how far they came since they played Bluesfest 2 years ago; the crowd more than doubling in size and people actually knowing their songs. As July Talk left the stage to end the 8th day of Bluesfest, someone from the crowd tossed a Beaver Tail up onto the stage, to Leah’s delight.