by Micayla Bussieres

Devin Cuddy Band

Devin Cuddy Band

It was a pretty terrible day, weather-wise, when I got to the venue on day 4. With a small crowd of maybe 30 people, Ottawa native, Lora Bidner offered us some hauntingly beautiful ballads that matched the moody weather (in the best way possible, of course). The multi-instrumentalist, accompanied by Raphael Weinroth-Browne on cello, played us a few new songs as well as a unique cover of Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco.”

The gloomy weather came ad went as The Devin Cuddy Band began their set with a sound I can best describe as a bit of 20’s New Orlean’s jazz, a touch of 40’s jump-blues and a whole lot of 50’s rock and roll à la Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. As they played a few songs from an upcoming album, it wasn’t hard to see that Cuddy has set himself apart from the country sounds of his father, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo.

The Lone Bellow

The Lone Bellow

At every festival there’s at least one favourite discovery,for me and this year’s was The Lone Bellow. The country-folk Brooklyn based band had a sound similar to Mumford and Sons except you could actually tell their songs apart. The trio (along with their backing band) featured a variety of strings, including guitar, mandolin and upright bass, that gave them a full and rich sound and they drew quite the crowd.

While Neutral Milk Hotel has a great sound, I found that they were such an interesting band to watch. They used a ridiculous amount of instruments on each song and band members would switch mid-song just to get that perfect sound. I don’t know many of their songs but when they played crowd-favourite, “In an Aeroplane Over the Sea,” I think many were surprised and excited to see the use of a saw and bow to allow for the signature eerie sounds of the song.

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For the last set of the night, fans young and old crowded around the Eh! Stage to watch Blue Rodeo do that thing they do best. I’m sure their set list doesn’t vary much these days but do we care? Probably not, especially if you’re like me and just have a major dad-crush (is that even a thing?) on Jim Cuddy. The crowd sang their hearts out to old standbys like “Diamond Mine,” “5 Days in May,” “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet,” and finally to end their encore, the title track from their 1992 album, “Lost Together.”