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Okay, so I promised I’d have the second half of Ottawa Bluesfest for last week. I didn’t. Meh, life is full of disappointment: Mandy Moore marries Ryan Adams; Neil Armstrong gets to speak those famous words, while you’re known as “Buzz, second man on the moon”; Ottawa drafts Alexandre Daigle; and finally, my blog has no deadlines, is poorly structured, and uses superfluous profanity.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009:

Xavier Rudd. The man does everything. Seriously. Without yanking your chain, he was simultaneously playing slide guitar, kick-drums, and a didgereedoo. “For my next act I’ll do your taxes while taming a lion.” Oh, those crazy Aussies.

– As I mentioned in my last post, seeing Stone Temple Pilots was reliving the 90s. To top that, I had to see Our Lady Peace, which was definitely reliving my 90s. Between them and Bush (remember them?) I’d like to think I had pretty decent taste. What happened? Not a big fan of most of OLP’s new (e.g. post 2000) music. To illustrate how this was reflected in the concert: the best song of set was “Denied” (from their 1994 album Naveed), hands down. They played a couple newbies that were average, at best. The one that actually sounded okay was “Paper Moon”. People don’t want new stuff as reflected by the big singles from their history (e.g. “Clumsy”, “Innocent”, etc.) all garnering nostalgic sing-a-long participation. Raine Maida at least had the benefit of being a good frontman, scaling the stage’s sides to take a picture from twenty feet up and running into the crowd (sort of, he had security and a protective fence) were crowd-pleasers. Ultimately, the three best songs came post-set, in an encore of “Naveed”, “In Repair”, and “Starseed”.  Two songs from Naveed, and one from concept album Spiritual Machines (a personal fave, and in my opinion, their last good album) for the encore. Think about it. Oh, and they have a new album (Burn Burn) out. I’ll be reviewing it soon. Spoiler alert: it probably won’t be making my top 50 for 2009.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009:

The National. Saw a bit. Sounded good. Didn’t get enough of a chance to pass judgement.

KISS. Too far away to see or hear much. Every break was a falsetto “Are you STILL having a good tiiiiiiime?” to a bunch of screaming festival goers. Uggh, I hate festivals, but I like music. It’s a bit like being a narcissistic misanthrope. However, later that night as I was on my way home, just after their encore/fireworks I saw the four painted old guys escorted away in a black SUV with 3 cop cars. What a sight.

– Because I couldn’t get close enough to enjoy KISS I went and checked out K’NAAN. He was awesome. I was ten feet away. His strength was incorporating the crowd – too much at the end, though, as he invited misbehaving youngsters to rush the stage. Not likely to help him with the promoters.

Friday, July 17, 2009:

Paolo Nutini. Did that boy ever make love to the microphone. Pants were the only thing between the crowd and his oozing charisma. The Glaswegian-Italian really can sing, though he can’t speak. Botched the encore call, too. He had twenty minutes before the concert curfew and an eager crowd. Left the lights in concert mode and played a bit of recorded music in the background (his own, so people were still into it) and then never came back on. Dude, you missed it. If you don’t do encores, flip on the full lights and have the crew start dismantling so there is no confusion. An unflattering end to an otherwise solid set, exactly what I would expect from Sunny Side Up.

Sunday, July 19, 2009:

– Yes, I saw The Dead Weather. Note to everyone out there: this is not a Jack White “side-project”. It’s a “supergroup”. I used the wrong term around the watercooler and was later chastised by email. I’m making sure to say so in these concert musings and in my upcoming review of their album. I just thought with the White Stripes and the Raconteurs, this would be a project on the side for Jack White, and his bandmates from The Kills, the Raconteurs, and Queens of the Stone Age. Aren’t all those bands their primary concern (or in White’s case secondary…)? Regardless of the nomenclature, The Dead Weather delivered a strong set on-stage and crowd favourite White came out from behind the drums occasionally to sing a line or two and was nearly drowned out by applause. But this isn’t a side-project. This is a supergroup. I just can’t name the bassist.

– Oh, yeah yeah yeah, did I ever enjoy the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Where to start? Karen O jumped on stage to start the set wearing a mask reminiscent of the Scarecrow in Batman Begins lined with neon lights. She changed accessories to her outfit every song. When she put her leather on, it was studded with her initials. A giant beach ball shaped like an eye is the best way to keep the crowd as energised as the band. Remember my review of their album (one of the best of 2009…you can bank on that), well it’s duplicated in full live.

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