Boy & Bear

Boy & Bear

The first day of Bluesfest seemed to go off without a hitch. The grounds were packed and the drinks were flowing as I made my way to the Monster stage to catch Australian 5-piece, Boy & Bear. Blending classic folk rock with California surf vibes, they played through a few tunes, including the catchy title track from their most recent album, Limit of Love. While most of their catalog includes driving bass and drums, with punchy keys, Boy & Bear tok some time to slow it down on “Showdown” with hauntingly ambient synth and echoing vocals. To keep things interesting, the Sydney-based band played an amazing cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black,” complete with a powerful guitar solo. To end the set, Boy & Bear pulled out the international hit, “Southern Sun,” and wrapped it up with their most recent single, “Walk The Wire.”

Schoolboy Q

Schoolboy Q

In classic Bluesfest fashion, there is always a wide variety of genres to check out so I decided to see LA-based rapper, Schoolboy Q next. He told the crowd that he was incredibly close to cancelling his show. He thought he would prefer to be home when his newest album, Blank Face LP, dropped at midnight, but he decided that celebrating in Ottawa with all of the show-goers would be more fun. Schoolboy Q had a very young and

The Head and the Heart

The Head and the Heart

rowdy audience jumping and shouting along with his songs, including the Kid Cudi-sampled, “Hands On The Wheel.”

 

My night ended with some more folk inspired tunes, courtesy of The Head and The Heart. They started off their set with the 2013 single, “Shake,” to an incredibly excited crowd. With a new album coming out this Fall, they decided to play a few new songs from it including, “City of Angels,” and “Library Magic,” the latter written by violinist, Charity Thielen. With lyrics reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac, and Thielen’s unique vocals, there’s no doubt she’s in line to be the next Stevie Nicks. Speaking of amazing vocals, on the fan favourite, “Another Story,” Russell showed off his impeccable vocal control as he touched on the soft falsetto lines of the track.

Playing “Down in The Valley,” and “Rivers and Roads,” the set ended with a few tunes from their 2011 self-titled debut, followed by an unexpected but audience-demanded encore featuring “Ever Since (Chasing a Ghost).”

Photos by Scott Penner and Mark Horton courtesy of Ottawa Bluesfest.