I know it’s a little late but here’s my review of the shows I saw at bluesfest this year.
Friday the 5th
Dawes – 3/5 Put on a pretty good show, not my thing exactly, but not bad by any means.
She and Him – 3.5/5 I love this band but the rumours about Zooey’s mostly dull stage performance were true. Also there was way too much new vs old material. Fun but not totally entertaining and the difference between Zooey and M. Ward’s excitement was very noticeable.
Sunday the 7th
Fevers – 4/5 Good show, the band was fun to watch and hear despite the rain, really just wish I’d known their music going in.
Watsky – 4/5 This man delivered, rap is always a mixed bag for me but Watsky was luckily on the good side. Super interactive, and really genuine. The stage climb and fight for time at the end also made the show super memorable.
The Joy Formidable – 5/5 Probably the best show I’ve seen all year, I was still exhausted the next day. The band was ecstatic the entire time, the music was loud and they ran through all their best. My only knock was it was only 45 minutes, a shame considering the caliber of this band. Ritzy throwing her guitar at the end and running it through the crowd, the drummer punching the air during a song and throwing a drumstick when we just sorta played charades for it. PS the bassist also punched the cymbals, when security looks confused, you know the show’s good.
Best of Be in the Band – 1/5 Coming from this program I was expecting to see a bunch of children’s bands playing music, but it was all the instructors. On top of this it was very unprofessional, switches between songs seemed to take several minutes at least and for people who instruct kids getting into bands they didn’t really seem to know how to run a show. Misleading name and bad show just lead to a bad show, that seemed poorly improvised at times.
Hannah Georgas – 4/5 Good show, I’d seen her a few months ago so it wasn’t as exciting. The feel and sound of her show seems to work better with an indoor space but she was great nonetheless.
Fun. – 4/5 Fun. is a great live show and they really put a lot of energy into their show. Though I feel like Nate milked the applause too much and I honestly couldn’t tell if they were putting on an act at any point as I’m sure they have adjusted to their fame enough to not get that shocked by the Ottawa crowd. I preferred seeing them a year ago when they were trying to make sure they survived the one hit status, and put everything in it but it was still good.
Monday the 8th
Rush – 3.5/5 Fairly middle of the road as far as a Rush show goes. The start and end was amazing as ever. The drum solo Peart gave was less exciting as it was before and the 10 new songs in a row middle of the set was hard to enjoy as great as they are. I also felt that the videos they used for their intermissions weren’t funny as they had been before. Also the drop from 3 hours to 2 felt like a real let down considering that no other artist played that stage that day and they had used practically a whole hour for new material. Awesome but a let down from 2010s amazingness.
Wednesday the 10th
Animal Collective – 1.5/5 To be honest only knowing “My Girls” Going into this show while I was waiting for Weezer, I was expecting some cool experimental soundscapes. What I got was a mostly boring and detached session of improv and occasional sound tweeks, with occasional good parts. Generally a bad show, I feel like the bad mixing that seemed to be around all night also affected it as I know a lot of the soundscaping would be higher range and the bass that day was mixed terribly
Weezer – 3.5 to 4/5 I’m not sure why, but despite playing all their hits and talking with the crowd, that Weezer just don’t really care anymore, and not in the good experimental way, the disinterested, less excited way. Despite this it was a great show and the group I was with managed to get 2 drumsticks, 2 setlists and I got a pick. I also found the bassist and guitarist handling the vocals on “Dope Nose” and “Gone Fishin” just kinda weird as I know Rivers sings those, and it just seemed lazy. Something just seemed disingenuous but it was fun. The bass was also way too loud here and the guitars were practically inaudible half the time. My only other comment is MORE PINKERTON PLEASE, El Scorcho isn’t the only good song from there.
All in all Bluesfest was an awesome time, but there were a few too many disappointments and time changes for the worse to make it ubermemorable.