• Festival Wrapup

    Yesterday was the last day for my local festival binge which started with Westfest, included both Jazzfest and Bluesfest and finished with a bang at the Kemptville Live Music Festival.  Over the course of the four festivals, I saw 40 bands perform over the span of 15 days.  28 of the bands were Canadian and 13 were from the Ottawa area.  Total spent on food, drinks and passes was $675 (Wesfest $17, Jazzfest $244, Bluesfest $346 and Kemptville $68). Average cost per act was $17 (Westfest $9/act, Jazzfest $24, Bluesfest $15/act and Kemptville $17/act. In short, I spent a lot money, expended a ton of energy dancing to almost every act and had a blast.  All four festivals put together amazing lineups this year and I am very grateful that I was able to take in as many shows as I did.

    Without further ado, the awards for this years festivals go to (in no particular order):

    Top Local acts: The Split (Westfest),  Monkeyjunk (Bluesfest).
    Top Canadian acts: 24th Street Wailers (Jazzfest), Carson Downey Band (Bluefest), Steve Hill (Bluefest), Paul Deslauriers Band (Bluefest),  Colin James (Kemptvlle), Tom Lavin & The Powder Blues (Kemptville).
    Favorite headliner: Sarah McLachlan (Jazzfest).
    Let’s Rock: Billy Idol (Bluesfest).
    Nothing will stop the show:  Sharon Jones and the DAP Kings (Jazzfest).
    Best Dance party: Ginkoa (Bluesfest).
    This is how to put on a show: The Peptides (Bluesfest).
    Best Day:  Bluesfest July 10 with Carson Downey Bad, Steve Hill, Ginkoa and John Fogerty.
    Living Legends: Charlie Musselwhite/Elvin Bishop (Jazzfest).
    Best Blues: Monkeyjunk (Bluesfest), Carson Downey Band (Bluesfest), Steve Hill (Bluesfest), Paul Deslauriers Band (Bluesfest), Tom Lavin & The Powder Blues (Kemptville).
    Best Jazz: Hot Sardines (Jazzfest).

    Next up for me will likely be Andre Bisson who is playing at D’Arcy McGees on Sparks on August 12 and sometime this summer I plan on checking out the new Northern Lights show on Parliament Hill and I’ll also likely see one or two of the Sound Of Light Fireworks shows in August.

     


  • Ottawa Bluesfest Picks

    Ottawa Bluesfest is only 3 days away so it’s time to highlight my picks for the blues/rock acts I want to see (and there are lots to choose from this year so it’s going to be difficult to decide which act to see on some days).

    July 7 Suits N Toques, David Gogo, Billy Idol, Bjorn and John

    July 8 Lucas Haneman Express, Harrison Kennedy, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, The Split All-Star Blues Revue, John Nemeth

    July 9 London Souls, John Campbelljohn, Kirby Sewell Band,  The Cult, The SPlit All Star Blues Revue,  Jill Zmud, Amanade Rheaume

    July 10 Ramblin Valley, Carson Downey, Steve Hill, Wild Child, Ginkgoa, John Fogerty, JD McPherson, Texas Horns

    July 13 Jack Broadbent, Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar, Ian Siegal

    July 14 Jesse Greene Band, Paul Deslauries Band, Colin Linden, Monkeyjunk All Star Blues Revue, The Monkees

    July 15 Chocolate Hot Pockets, Jack de Keyzer, Monkeyjunk All Star Blues Revue, Red Hot Chili Peppers

    July 16 Wicked Mercy, Kenny Blues Boss Wayne, Paul James, Monkeyjunk All Star Blues Revue, Duran Duran

    July 17 The Peptides, TJ Wheeler, The Powergoats, leMeow, Barry and The Blasters, Brian Ferry, Monkeyjunk All Star Blues Revue, James McMurtry

     

     


  • Ottawa JazzFest Review

    The Ottawa Jazz Festival is now over for another year, and I declare this years edition to be a great success. While I only had enough energy to attend 5 evenings, they were all great shows.  The opening night set the tone with some great performances by The Boxcar Boys, Alvin Youngblood Hart and a walk down 100 years of Chicago Blues memories with Charlie Musselwhite and Elvin Bishop.  On Day 2, I really enjoyed the energetic performances by the No BS Brass Band. On Day 3, Sarah McLachlan wowed the audience with her crystal clear vocals and wonderful charm.  She’s back in fine form and I think she gave one of the best concerts of the festival.

    Closing out the first weekend was a great party starting off with Mackenzie Rhythm Section, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and a late show with the 24th Street Wailers.  Despite fighting off the effects of Cancer (and Chemo), Sharon Jones put on a great performance.  I only hope that she can win this round of the fight as it would be sad to lose her so soon.  As always, the 24th Street Wailers closed out the late evening show with a high energy blues and boogie dance party.

    I made it back to the festival for the closing night as there was no way I was going to miss Brian Wilson’s 50th Anniversary of Pet Sounds and I certainly was not going to pass up an opportunity to see the Hot Sardines again.  Both proved to be a fantastic choice to close out the show.  With a 12 piece ensemble, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine put on a great show that clearly showed what an innovative album Pet Sounds was for it’s time.  After the full album, we were then treated to many of the other great Beach Boys tunes during an extended encore.  As for the Hot Sardines, they brought their special blend of vintage jazz that just makes you get up and dance.  I love the old style jazz and they’re one of the bands who bring it back to life.

    Thanks to the festival organizers, volunteers and performers for a great festival!!!


  • Ottawa Jazz Festival Picks

    Vacation time is almost here which means it’s time to reveal my choices for this year’s Ottawa Jazz Festival.  First, I have to give major kudos to the festival organizers this year as it’s the first time as there are acts that match my interests on 8 out of 11 days.  Without further delay, here are the acts I will be seeing (weather permitting of course):

    June 23 Alvin Youingblood Hart | Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite

    June 24 SF Jazz Collective

    June 25 Sarah McLauchlan

    June 26 Mackenzie Rhythm Section | Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings | 24th Street Wailers

    June 27 Trombone Shorty

    June 28 Buffy Sainte-Marie

    June 29 Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra with Wynton Marsallis | Judith Hill

    July 3 Brian Wilson’s Pet Sound 50th Anniversary | Hot Sardines

    There are lots of great acts to see, but the days I am most looking for are June 26 and July 3. It’s going to be a great vacation this year!

     

     


  • #Westfest2016

    A new chapter in Westfest kicked off the 2016 Festival Season this weekend and I liked it a lot!  Laroche Park provides for a much better layout and I love a festival that showcases a diverse range of performances and draws such a diverse crowd.

    I managed to catch the last 3 acts of the day yesterday – The Lionyls, The Spit and SoulJazz Orchestra and I was very impressed with all three, but my favorite was The Split.  I’ve been a fan of the Chaffey Brothers for a number of years and I have been looking forward to catching their new Neo-Soul sound and they did not disappoint!  They played a mix of songs from their EP as well as some great new material that will hopefully show up on their new album this fall – one that I am eagerly awaiting to hear.  Closing out the beautiful evening, the SoulJazz Orchestra put on a great show with a fantastic fusion of latin jazz, afrobeat and funk.

    It’s a real shame that today’s show had to be cancelled due to the heavy rainfall as I was looking forward to seeing Tata Holloway, Lemon Cash and Bone, but I guess I will have to wait for next year’s festival.  Next up for me will be Ottawa Jazz Festival.


  • Michael Kaeshammer Fantastic Show @ NAC Theater

    I will start with stating I am not a jazz aficionado and my taste in Jazz music falls into some very narrow categories with Boogie Woogie, New Orleans and Stride Piano being at the top of the list.   When an extremely talented performer comes to town with a great band that can follow all his moves and they deliver all of these along with a very fun and entertaining show, it is guaranteed that I will be left wanting more.  That is exactly what happened last night!

    I have been a fan of his since 2010 when I first heard his album Lovelight and this was the third time I’ve seen him in concert.  As was said at the opening of last nights show, after two sold out appearances at the NAC Fourth Stage, he deserved to play a show in the theatre.  Needless to say, he took full advantage of the opportunity.  I’m still amazed at how his hands dance over the keys and watching them move so fast that they’re just a blur just leaves me sitting there with my jaw on the floor.  And when you think you’ve seen it all he then plays with one hand on the grand piano and the other on the organ that is behind his back!

    In addition to his amazing talent, Michael also delivers a wonderful patter throughout the show that draws the audiences even closer.  This, coupled with the fact that he works without a set list so he can tailor the show to the audience (including an impromptu happy birthday to some of the audience members), turns a great performance into a fantastic show.  Kudos to Michael and his great band for another great show at the NAC.  I can’t wait for their next visit into town.

    Speaking of Jazz, Oliver Jones, a Canadian Jazz Pianist Legend, is making his farewell tour right now and will be playing the NAC on May 19th.  If you love jazz classics and jazz piano, I suggest you make the excursion to see the Oliver Jones Trio before it’s too late.

     


  • Another amazing show by Philip Sayce

    If you are a blues-rock fan, you have likely heard of Philip Sayce.  If you haven’t, I suggest you check out his albums and videos ASAP. I have been a big fan of his since I first saw him at Bluesfest in 2009 and every time I’ve seen him since then, I’ve been absolutely blown away by his incredible guitar wizardry.   Last nights show was no different.  It was a high energy show in a packed Rainbow Bistro that was designed to showcase his songs and his ability to make his guitar sing.  I can only hope that his career can now take off to heights he deserves now that he has the backing of a major label, but I will miss the intimate shows as future concerts will likely need to be held in larger venues. For those who missed last nights show, he’s playing again tonight at The Rainbow Bistro, but I suspect there are not many tickets left for sale!

    Next concert for me is Michael Kaeshammer at the NAC.  Time to put my boogie woogie shows on and enjoy another fun show.

     

     


  • @matt_andersen #Ottawa

    Matt Andersen came to town yesterday with his new release and some local friends and blew the doors off the NAC Southam Hall.  It has been amazing watching Matt grow and progress over the past 6 years.  I first saw him wailing on the guitar at Bluesfest 2010 and have now seen him perform six times – sometimes alone and other times with a full band.  Last night was yet another great show with Matt and his band and it was made even better with special appearances by Steve Mariner (Monkeyjunk) and Steve Hill.  It was certainly a treat to see all these great performers sharing the stage and it was clear everyone was having a ton of fun.

    Opening the night was Donovan Woods who put on a highly entertaining set.  Donovan, who co-wrote two of the songs on Matt’s latest release,  showcased his lyrical abilities as well as hes comedic side.  He was a great act to set the tone for the night.

    Next up for me is Colin James @ the NAC On April 2nd and then back-to-back concerts on April 22 to see Philip Sayce @ The Rainbow and April 23 to see Michael Kaeshammer @ the NAC.

     


  • @WESTFESTInfo #Ottawa

    For those who missed the announcement this week, the lineup for the new WestFest has been released and it’s a good one.  In case you have forgotten, this years version is no longer associated with the Westboro BIA and it has moved to a better location – Laroche Park.  This has given them more freedom to showcase local acts, which is great!  My picks for the festival include The Lionyls, The Split, and Souljazz Orchestra on Saturday night and Tara Holloway, Lemon Cash and Bone on Sunday.  It is certainly shaping up to be another great festival year.

     


  • Ottawa Jazz Festival Picks

    It’s that time of year again.  The snow is melting and Ottawa Jazz Festival has announced another great lineup, which means I’ll be attending back to back festivals for my summer vacation (the other one being Ottawa Blues Fest).  Notable acts that I’ve found so far include Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary Tour, Sarah McLachlan, Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Stacey Kent, Judith Hill, 24th Street Wailers, Mackenzie Rhythm Section, SFJazz Coillective and The Hot Sardines.  Now all we need is some nice hot dry weather from June 22nd to July 17.