Saturday, July 08, 2006

Bluesfest Guide

Calum Marsh

The Bluesfest scheduele is a little overwhelming. There are five different acts playing each of the six stages on each of the ten nights - you do the math. Schedueling conflicts often force you to make tough choices, and there are a lot of factors involved: it's not just which band you like more, but which band will put on a better show, how many times (if ever) you've seen the bands before, and, hell, which crowd will be less annoying (watch as the teenyboppers flock to Emily Haines - a ghastly sight).

I thought I'd make some recommendations so you don't feel so lost and confused. I'm not expert, mind you, and my choices aren't necessarily any better than yours. But this is supposed to be slightly scientific - I stress "slightly" - so you should feel pretty comforatable heeding my advice.

The (Not Really) Official Indie Guide To BLUESFEST 2006.

Night One: Friday, July 7th

The Choices: Broken Social Scene, Seu Jorge & Calexico, Great Big Sea

Best Bet: Seu Jorge & Calexico
Why: My rationale for choosing Calexico over BSS almost entirely revolves around performance prolificy. Any Ottawa resident will tell you that Broken Social Scene is always here - for a city that draws very few indie giants, everyone's favourite supergroup just can't get enough of the capital. They're a great band and they never dissapoint - last's year they were to die for - but if you're in Ottawa, chances are you've seen them more than once already. The icing on the cake is Seu Jorge, who you may remember covering Bowie songs in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. That'd be worth it if just to hear 'Space Oddity'.

Download: Calexico - Cruel

Night Two: Saturday, July 8th

The Choices: Bell Orchestre w/The Acorn & The Great Lake Swimmers, Feist w/Jason Collett & Brazilian Girls

Best Bet: Bell Orchestre w/ The Acorn & The Great Lake Swimmers
Why: Feist and Jason Collett are reasonably good, but there live performances are, quite honestly, boring. And, like BSS, they visit Ottawa all the bloody time. If you miss this show you're bound to catch them in the fall. That being said, Bell Orchestre could be missed for the same reason (Shawn Scallen is bringing them to Ottawa in a couple of months time - more on that later), and The Acorn are local so they're obviously here a lot too. I know a solid lineup when I see one, and Bell Orchestre with The Acorn and Great Lake Swimmers is just that.

Download: The Bell Orchestre - Throw It On A Fire

Night Three: Sunday, July 9th

The Choices: Ani DiFranco, Amadou & Mariam, Solomon Burke

Best Bet: Ani DiFranco
Why: Though you'd be watching an incredible performance at each stage, the strongest and perhaps least likely to return to this fair city is the lovely Ani DiFranco. She might not be hip with the indie kids, but she's awesome - and isn't that enough? Yes, yes it is.

Download: Ani DiFranco - Fire Door

Night Four: Monday, July 10th

The Choices: Sam Roberts w/The Stills, Los De Abajo, Rickie Lee Jones

Best Bet: Take a night off
Why: I really have nothing to say about this. You could maybe catch The Stills when they play early in the evening and then, um, head to the bar - I hate Sam Roberts and I've never heard of the others, so my input on the decision should probably be disregarded. I mean, if you like Sam Roberts, check it out - but then if you like Sam Roberts you're probably not reading this...

Download: The Stills - In The Beginning

Night Five: Tuesday, July 11th

The Choices: Be Good Tanyas, Blue Rodeo, Mark Kozelek

Best Bet: Mark Kozelek
Why: Because it's like you're seeing two bands. Being that Kozelek is the frontman of two awesome bands - Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters - you're sure to hear something you know and like. And honestly, who doesn't like acoustic Modest Mouse covers?

Download: Sun Kil Moon - Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes

Night Six: Wednesday, July 12th

The Choices: The Grande Mothers, Nelly Furtado w/Live, Terrance Simien,

Best Bet: Nelly Furtado
Why: Because she's so hot right now. Seriously, who wouldn't want to see the recently turned wild girl burn through those new songs (which are really catchy, by the way)? As for Live, um, well...I liked 'Dolphins Cry' when I was 13. I don't know what else to say.

Download: Nell Furtado - Afraid

Night Seven: Thursday, July 13th

The Choices: Elliott Brood, Etta James, Konono N1, Mofro

Best Bet: Etta James
Why: Sure, I like Elliott Brood, but turning down an Etta James performance would be a crime. Do yourself a favour and go.

Download: Etta James - Oh Happy Day

Night Eight: Friday, July 14th

The Choices: Cadence Weapon w/Rihanna, Wintersleep & Holy Fuck & The Fiery Furnaces & Metric, Kathleen Edwards

Best Bet: Wintersleep/Holy Fuck/Metric/Fiery Furnaces
Why: Oh come on. Obviously. It's almost worth it just for a Fiery Furnaces shirt - or a Wintersleep shirt, but those are kind of lame...

Download: The Fiery Furnaces - Single Again

Night Nine: Saturday, July 15th

The Choices: Fefe Dobson, Wilco, Hawthorne Heights

Best Bet: Wilco
Why: Well, you've really got your work cut out for you here: how the hell are you ever going to choice between Blues greats Hawthorne Heights and Fefe Dobson? I love both so much and I hear they're incredible performers - oh, and there's that "Wilco" guy, I've never really heard of him. Is that Blues too?

Download: Wilco - No Poetry

Night Ten: Sunday, July 16th

The Choices: New Pornographers w/Controller.Controller & Hilotrons, KC And The Sunshine Band

Best Bet: New Pornos
Why: It just might be the best night of the whole festival. Some indie snobs can't stand the New Pornographers, but deep down in your heart you know they're a lot of fun. Controller.Controller works as an opener and local greats the Hilotrons always put on a good show. Well worth the price of admission.

Download: The New Pornographers - Jackie


Comments on "Bluesfest Guide"


Blogger Steve Peters said ... (8/7/06 1:39 pm) : 

RE: Night 4 - Try Rickie Lee Jones.


Blogger Calum Marsh said ... (8/7/06 1:57 pm) : 

Will do.


Anonymous Juliane said ... (9/7/06 4:27 pm) : 

holy fuck are awesome! saw them a couple of weeks ago here in glasgow (uk) and, yeah, it was mindblowing music.


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