*most photos are not mine*
I’ve said it for the past few years and I will say it again. CityFolk is my favourite festival in Ottawa. It’s a more relaxed vibe than Bluesfest, they have a good beer selection and if the weather is right, it’s a perfect end to the summer.
The weather this year was great for the most part. One night my feet got so cold I had to leave before Arkells took the stage but other than that, I was prepared and even sported a new jacket which prompted a compliment from someone while I was navigating the crowd at Hozier: “That’s a great outfit!”
Here’s some mini review in order of how I enjoyed these bands:
Gov’t Mule: I’ve been waiting years to see Gov’t Mule and they didn’t disappoint. They only had an hour to play but what I heard wanted me to hear more. I hope to see them more in the future.
Bush: They put on a great show! I’m a fan of their first album so I didn’t know what to expect but they played a lot of the first album and a bunch of newer tunes that I was a fan of as well. I gave up on this band after their second album but it sounds like I will have to dip my toes in their discography again. We went to this show for Vero’s birthday along with Andreane and the other Vero. We all had a great time although I’m not sure if I’m a fan of the Chung Chan uber-pogo that we had afterwards!
Kaleo: Andreane and Donovan came to Ottawa to see this group from Iceland. I listened to a few of their albums but I wasn’t blown away but if experience has told me anything, it’s that a good live act can change my opinion quickly. This blues rock band has what it takes and I was happy to have seen them.
David Kushner: Ever go into a show and not know what to expect but then your entire soul gets sucked in and you’re absorbed with what’s going on? That’s what I felt seeing David Kushner. I can see this person becoming a large act in the future.
Busty and The Bass: This “electro-soul and hip-hop” band (Wikipedia’s words, not mine) were a fabulous start to the festival. They had some great musicians up on stage and I was digging them.
Iggy Pop: I don’t know much Iggy Pop or Stooges music but that didn’t matter. Witnessing 76 year old Iggy Pop strutting around the stage was inspiring. He brought the energy for the entire show.
Headstones : I only caught the last three songs but even that blew me away. I’ve seen Headstones before and they know how to put on a great show.
Hozier: This was the largest crowd of the entire festival and it was on the closing Sunday night. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know much of Hozier and I’m not sure if it was because I was surrounded by chatters for the first hour, or if I was just tired of going to a festival for five days but I wasn’t blown away by Hozier. He had a stage of incredible musicians and some songs that piqued my curiosity but nothing that blew me away. Hey, you can’t all be winners! I did enjoy the show more after I navigated away from the front and went back near the sound tent where there were less chatters.
Claire Coupland: I showed up a couple of songs into her set and what I heard was ok. I enjoyed a few of her tunes, a few less so, but isn’t that true of any singer?
Ruby Waters: While she seemed to have her share of fans (some of them even got engaged to be married during the show!), I really wasn’t a fan of her. I always scratch my head when lyrics are fairly x-rated and I think “Is that genuine? Do they really want to sing about this kind of stuff? Or are they just doing it to get a reaction?”. THAT BEING SAID, she has her fans and that’s great. I’m glad others are appreciating her.
My new hobby is recording audio of concerts which brings an interesting challenge (and excitement!) to the concerts I attend. I’m always scoping out better spots to tape (less chatters) and focussing on things like not drinking beer so I can avoid going to the washroom and interrupting a perfect capture. But at the same time I always have to remember to prioritize just having fun and fun I did have at CityFolk. I even managed to snag some older posters from the festival that were signed by Matt Mays and Corb Lund.
Two thumbs up to the organizers and volunteers of CityFolk festival. I hope to see you again next year.