John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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Ottawa Bluesfest, Day 2

One of the reasons that I go to the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest is to actually see some artists perform the blues. You know, that form of music that originated in African-American communities of primarily the Deep South of the United States at the end of the 19th Century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The problem with the Ottawa Bluesfest the last few years is that bands like KISS and some of the other performers that have attended the festival just haven't been that blues-y. Fortunately, last night, I got to see MonkeyJunk and Jose Conde at Bluesfest, and let me tell you, there was plenty of the blues to go around.

Kathy and I arrived relatively early for the show this time, not wanting to get caught up in the crowd to get in, but the organisers of the Bluesfest got their act together with this today, the second day of the event, and things went very smoothly. One thing that I need to say right away. The National Bank Stage is probably one of the best-kept secrets of the Ottawa Bluesfest. At the northeast end of the LeBreton Flats site of the festival, up near the Warm Museum, this stage is one that lends an air of quiet intimacy, has some spectacular views from its area, and is quite a nice little venue, though it still suffers from sound bleed from the other stages. MonkeyJunk took the stage early in the evening, around 6:45 pm or so, and put on another wonderful show. Steve Marriner, Tony D, and Matt Sobb delivered another fine, technically adept show with a mix of swampy rhythm and blues, soul boogie, and bedroom funk, playing a good chunk of music off their new album, To Behold, but also including material from their earlier Tiger in Your Tank CD as well. The show was solid, with good bluesy rocking, and the crowd seemed to love the sound, with folks dancing and getting their groove on.

The later show at the stage had artist Jose Conde (no really good websites about him to link to), a Miami-born Cuban-American with a litany of world music based on a heavy vibe of Latin American sounds, with some heavy brass at times. I don't really think that I can do justice to the set he performed, but suffice it to say that the world music side of Ottawa Bluesfest holds many gems, and it was like having a Latin American band playing in one's backyard. The show was intriguing, to say the least, and there was a fusion of various musical styles on some of the songs. I liked the show for the most part, and the band seemed tight in their performance though from a stylistic point of view, they had room to play around and have fun, which they certainly seemed to be doing up on stage. I really liked the Latin sounding blues of the Jose Conde Band, and left LeBreton Flats in an upbeat, Latin dancing mood.

While other folks prefer to see the Ben Harpers, the Roots, Bedouin Soundclash, Alberta Cross, and some of the other performances that are more avant garde (I suppose), I'll take my MonkeyJunk and Jose Conde any day of the week, though I do like the music of Ben Harper as well. I just want my Ottawa Bluesfest to have a bit more of the blues to it.

In the meantime, back to the mundane world and work.
Tags: bluesfest, monkeyjunk, ottawa bluesfest, report

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