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With vocals that are reminiscent of Michael Jackson, Francesco Yates opened my fourth day of Bluesfest. The Pharrel Williams-discovered Toronto teen brought to the stage a sense of experience and know-how to win over the crowd. Sharing with us his poppy tunes, Yates pulled out a cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” that transformed into the classic “Let’s Get it On” by Marvin Gaye. Yates ended his let with his much-loved single, “Better to Be Loved.”

The Growlers  is seen here performing at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on Saturday, July 11, 2015. The RBC Bluesfest is ranked by Billboard Magazine as one of North America’s top ten festivals. ~RBC Bluesfest Press Images PHOTO/Scott Penner

The Growlers are an L.A. based band and it’s evident in their music. Clearly influenced by the California surf vibe, their songs feature floaty keys and carefree vocals. As they moved through their set, their songs began to pick up the pace, which allowed for the audience to get excited and ready for the next band.

Shakey Graves is seen here performing at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on Saturday, July 11, 2015. The RBC Bluesfest is ranked by Billboard Magazine as one of North America’s top ten festivals. ~RBC Bluesfest Press Images PHOTO/Scott Penner

Starting out in his signature one-man-band style, Shakey Graves played guitar while kicking the drum and tambourine he assembled out of an old suitcase. As he moved into his second and third song out came a drummer and guitarist to accompany him on a few tunes. A crowd favourite was “Late July” which can only be found on live albums.  Shakey told us about how he found the lyrics to a song he wrote back when he was 17, about young love, and lost relationships, and while the lyrics to “Tomorrow” were naïve, they spoke of a time that many in the crowd could relate to.

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With this being my first time seeing Alvvays since they opened for Said the Whale back in the fall of 2013, you can instantly see how much their confidence in their songs has grown. Starting with songs like “Next of Kin,” and “The Agency Group,” the Toronto-based band led us into their biggest hit from their debut album, “Archie, Marry Me.” Riddled throughout the set were covers, such as the incredibly summery tune, “He’s On the Beach” by Kristy MacColl, and a sneak peek at a couple new songs. With the mix of distortion and twang on the guitars and bouncy keyboard, they ended their set with “Adult Diversion,” but unlike many of the other bands at Bluesfest, they allotted some time for an encore. Molly Rankin came back out on the stage to do a solo version of “Red Planet” (Karaoke-style, as she called it), followed by the whole band joining her for a cover of “Out of Reach” by The Primitives; one of the groups favourite bands and influences.

Porter Robinson Credit Cat Cote

To end the night, many flocked to the Monster Energy stage to see the video game music inspired DJ, Porter Robinson. Playing songs from his 2014 album Worlds, Robinson set the scene with anime imagery and computer generated vocals. Although he is considered part of the EDM genre, he wanted this album to be based more on nostalgia, and in turn, his set was full of chillwave and ambient sounds. I was most excited when Robinson sampled “Song of Storms” from the video game, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. While much of the crowd didn’t exactly seem to get the music (they started numerous mosh pits), the big fans were excited to have the chance to see Robinson not only DJ, but play on the synth and drums, as well. At only 23, it’s easy to see that Porter Robinson has quite the future ahead of him.

Photos courtesy of Scott Penner, Mark Horton, Cat Cole & Ottawa Bluesfest.