During Bluesfest there’s always one day when they line-up is fairly country-centric but amidst this I was able to hear some non-country gems starting with local surf-pop band, Thrifty Kids. After seeing them open for The Elwins a few months back I knew that the turn out to their set would be pretty great. Playing indoors at the Canadian War Museum, Thrifty Kids wowed by making great use of the intimate theatre setting. Their carefree lyrics really came alive with some dreamy guitar and smooth but powerful vocals.

Making my way back outside to the Claridge Stage, I was greeted by giant blow up letters that read “HOODIE ALLEN.” The New Yorker came out sporting a hockey jersey and was clearly so excited to be playing Bluesfest. He was a little confused as to why he was playing between country acts, so he called himself the “rapscot” of the night. Hoodie launched into some songs from his newest album People Keep Talking then transitioned to a few of the singles from his break out album All American, changing the lyrics of “No Faith in Brooklyn” to reflect Canada’s capital. To show some of his love for the pop-punk of his teen years Hoodie began a cover of “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit but unfortunately not many of the teens who made up the crowd knew the song so he switched it up in favour of “Fat Lip” by Sum 41.

Photo by Scott Penner

Photo by Scott Penner


To end the night, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaries came out with their throwback to the funk and soul of the 60s and 70s. Originally discovered as a James Brown impersonator, Bradley definitely showed that he earned his title as the “Screaming Eagle of Soul.” He spoke to the crowd of following dreams because that’s the only way to be happy as he broke out into a gospel inspired songs complete with that classic organ sound to back him up. The highlight of his set for this Canadian crowd was Bradley’s soulful rendition of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.”

Photos Courtesy of Ottawa Bluesfest.