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After not performing for eight months while working on their new album, Chvrches brought not only an amazing drive to Bluesfest but also a number of songs that they had yet to perform live including “Clearest Blue,” and “Leave a Trace.” Their intense bass and synth were juxtaposed with dark lyrics coming through sweet and serene vocals. Chvrches has a sound all their own which you could tell the audience was in awe of; even the ones who were only there to hear the Scottish band finish with their biggest single, “Mother We Share.”

The Gaslight Anthem  is seen here performing at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 15, 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 next band was close to not making it to Ottawa after their tour bus broke down in New Jersey, but fortunately, The Gaslight Anthem was able to catch a flight. The perils of the day may have made lead vocalist, Brian Fallon, a little loopy as he joked about how the band was just going to play the Eric Clapton classic “Layla” fifty times. With raspy vocals, Fallon and his band of almost a decade played songs new and old, including “Too Much Blood” which was a long blues-like song in honor of the festival. Clearly the band was having fun with their set since they had a few mash-ups, such as Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire,” with their 2007 tune “Red at Night” and a sample of “Scar Tissue” by Red Hot Chili Peppers mixed in with another track. This group of total pros had the crowd jumping and cheering as they began the clear favourite “The ’59 Sound” before ending their set with an incredible rendition of The Who’s “Baba O’Reily.”

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