Day 9 of the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest featured some of Ontario’s best musical talent. Cancer Bats, Billy Talent, The Arkells, and The Tea Party – from Toronto, Streetsville, Hamilton and Windsor respectively – all graced the main stages on yet another beautiful day at the largest Canadian music festival.
With the security team already well experienced with fierce crowds after the Skrillex and Dropkick Murphys performances, they were definitely ready to handle the punk energy that started the night off. Over at the MBNA stage the southern punk stylings of the Cancer Bats quickly got their audience moving. It wasn’t too hard for frontman Liam Cormier to amp the crowd up – the group has a loyal following in Ottawa. The group recently played a packed show at Ritual Nightclub in May with another Canadian metal band, 3 Inches of Blood.
Next, the byward team stepped into the air conditioned War Museum to see Montreal’s Winter Gloves. The group started off with a song from their sophomore album, All Red. By the second song the band had the packed Barney Danson Theatre audience up and dancing. Charles F, the groups lead singer, guitarist and producer of their latest album, had the everyone captivated as his whispering lyrics floated over the gritty and melodic synth beats provided by his surrounding bandmates. Be sure not to miss this refreshingly charismatic group if they are playing near you – they will have up and dancing in no time at all!
Back outside in the midst of the Ottawa heat wave, we stopped by to check out The Arkells, who had drawn a huge crowd to the Claridge Stage. The 5 piece group, signed to Dine Alone Records back in 2006, have only recently really taken off thanks to their 2010 Juno for “New Group of the Year”. Their mix of catchy blues rhythms and east-coast style folk had the crowd addicted as they whistled and sang along. The Arkells are all about spreading local, Canadian love… watch out for their sophomore album due to be released in early Fall!
Billy Talent was next to perform on the MBNA stage. Fans already knew what to expect from these multi-platinum Juno winning boys and were certainly not disappointed with their performance. Lead vocalist Ben Kowalewicz harmonized the groups angsty lyrics perfectly with guitarist Ian D’sas’ staple hard-rock riffs- slowing things down only for their easier tempo’d songs like “Nothing To Lose” (and yes, Ian is still rocking his iconic hair-do!). Billy Talent‘s touring experience definitely showed as they rocked the stage like veterans with confidence and full energy. The group will only continue to grow and expand their musical stylings and they ensured fans that their next album will be unlike any other before.
All in all, Day 9 represented Ontario’s talent very well, and kept the hardcore and rock fans begging for more.
Check out the rest of our Day 9 coverage after the jump and make sure to stay tuned for Day 10, featuring pictures of Classified, Cuff the Duke, Hannah Georges and Mac Miller.
Closing out the night on the Hard Rock Stage was director, activist, actor and now musician, Tim Robbins, who played with a stage full of instruments such as the accordion, fiddle, double bass, trumpet, guitar, piano and drums-played by his bandmates, the Rogue Gallery Band. As surreal as it was to see such a Hollywood icon grace the stage, Tim Robbins kept the crowd in reality as he humbly joked around and played his self-described “gypsy Americana” folk.
Another Ontario-native group and Canadian favourite, The Tea Party, kept more fans happy at the MBNA stage. Having toured Canada over 20 times over their nearly two-decade existence, you would think the group would be tired and worn out- but their genuine love for music shone through, as it not only gave the show it’s brilliance, but also recently brought the band back from a 6 year hiatus from the music industry (much like day 11 performers, Death From Above 1979). Playing all their classics such as “Heaven Falling Down” and their career-starter “Save Me,” the groups bluesy rock and deep echoing bass parralelled lead vocalist Jeff Martins deep voice and haunting lyrics.
writer & photographer: Blair