Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani
There are perks to playing Bluesfest. If you’re a local act, it’s one of the best gigs in town because of the paycheque and the rock star treatment. More than 350 local acts applied to play the festival this year, competing for about 55 spots. In addition to the massive audience, you get $1,500, an air-conditioned trailer furnished with cube chairs and stocked with beer and food, plus a full festival pass. The grapevine tells us that there’s also a secret location on site with a huge buffet of good chow. Sure beats the road-warrior’s budget meal of PB sandwiches. With those perks in mind, Ottawa Magazine asked selected O-town scene acts to tell us who they’re hankering to see and meet as Bluesfest takes over LeBreton Flats for the next few weeks.
The Ottawa band melds rap and rock with nods to British pop. They play the Claridge Stage on July 10. Lead guitarist Dom Goss recommends:
—Metric: I just downloaded their Synthetica album and really liked it. I can’t wait to see them perform some of the new songs live. Main Stage: July 15.
—A$AP Rocky: I love that he’s bringing a fresh sound to hip hop. I had his single “Goldie” on repeat when it first came out. He’s playing on the same day as us so I’m pretty stoked about that. Main Stage: July 10.
A Tribe Called Red
The Ottawa DJ crew mixes Pow Wow music with club beats and is in the running for the Polaris Music Prize for their self-titled album. They play the Electro Stage on July 8. DJ Shub recommends:
—Diplo: He’s been a big inspiration for the crew. We play a lot of his tracks. Main Stage: July 14.
—A-Trak: He is one of the few DJs that really inspired me to take my DJ skills and battle sense and carry that over into production. Electro Stage: July 13.
—Chromeo: I’ve been a huge fan since their birth onto the scene. I was born in the ‘80s and their sound brings me back to my youth. Pure funk and nostalgia. Electro Stage: July 8.
The Souljazz Orchestra
The Ottawa troupe played the main stage of the Montreal Jazz Festival earlier this week and will play the Electro Stage at Bluesfest July 14. Keyboardist Pierre Chretien recommends:
—Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires: Mr. Bradley is just an amazing soul singer, with an insanely powerful, passionate, sandpaper-rough voice, and he’s backed by an all-star band made up of members of Brooklyn’s Daptone family. I loved his last album, No Time For Dreaming, but I never got a chance to catch him live yet. Black Sheep Stage: July 6.
—Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars: The Refugee All Stars just put out a great new album produced by Victor Axelrod — the organist for Antibalas. It’s a breath of fresh air for the current afro scene, I really dig it. River Stage: July 8.
—Orgone: They’re a Los Angeles band that mixes soul, funk, and afro styles. They nail the sound and they know how to keep it tight and gritty. River Stage: July 8.
The singer-songwriter is also an organizational powerhouse. She’s held coordinator roles at the Ottawa Folk Festival and coordinates the She’s the One Emerging Female Artists Competition at Bluesfest — which she makes a plug for (“Discover a great new musician!”). In addition to that event, taking place Saturday afternoon, Ana recommends:
—Lake Street Dive: When I walked into a tiny hotel room in Memphis, Tenn., at a music conference, I was immediately drawn to the musicality, the originality, and the passionate churning of pop/soul/rock that Lake Street Dive was delivering. They punched all the way to the forefront of my favourites with a firm feeling. Black Sheep Stage, July 6.
—Rich Aucoin: Go see Rich Aucoin ready to be changed. Take your most uninhibited, free friends and go ready to sweat, dance, yell, sing, and let go. One of the best shows I’ve ever attended. Ever. Electro Stage: July 11.
Miura plays offsite at the Rideau Centre July 8.
If you aren’t into crowds or watching your favourite bands through a haze of weed, your best bets for Bluesfest after parties are Mugshots, the bar behind the Ottawa Jail Hostel, and Babylon on Bank Street. In previous years, bands such as Michael Franti & Spearhead took over Babs with impromptu jams.
There are other things happening this weekend too, aside from Bluesfest:
Punk Rock Covers Night: On Friday, July 6, capital city longhairs gather to perform the songs of their heroes (Head, Bad Religion) to benefit the Kids Help Phone. It starts at 8 p.m. at Montgomery Hall Legion on Kent Street near Somerset Street West.
Move and Shake for Elliot Lake: The proceeds from the show on Monday, July 9, at the Elmdale Tavern go to the Northern Ontario community’s food bank. The roof of Algo Centre Mall collapsed on June 23; two people died. The mall was a major employer in the town of 11,000. According to CBC News, the mall is closed and workers are not allowed back into the building to retrieve items. Playing the benefit are the bands: Capital Grass & the No Men, Shannon Rose, the Bomarcs and Celery Troff.
Members of The Brothers Chaffey — the Ottawa band known for their fiery roots-rock — expand into soul-rock with a new project called The Split. They’re at the Lunenburg Pub on Waller Street Friday, July 6. 8 p.m. $8.
DJ Michael Caffrey and VJ Daisy curate a night of reggae, D ‘n’ B, and dancehall Saturday night at Raw Sugar Café going from 9 p.m. ‘til late.
Musk Ox (post-rock) plays Gig Space, inside Alcorn Music Studios at 953 Gladstone Ave., Tuesday, July 10. 8 p.m., $5. All ages.
House Music man Fred Everything shimmies into the Mercury Lounge Friday night at 10 p.m.