The Hard Rock Stage Must-See Acts at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011

by: Jay McConnery

Found on a grassy tree-lined knoll, between the ass of the war museum and the Ottawa River, is the intimate Hard Rock Stage. Last year the Hard Rock truly filled the vibe-void created by the transformation of the Black Sheep Stage into an air-conditioned tent, giving many of us a place that felt like home and providing some of the festival's best sets. This year should be no different, as the programming offers an abundance of rootsy and funky acts! 

Bootsy Collins

Legendary, eccentric slap-happy bassist who has provided the low-end for George Clinton and James Brown will be a great way to kick things off with an undoubtedly tight band. 

New Country Rehab


Canadian Contemporary Bluegrass/Americana combo,boasting members of Run With Kittens, and Amy Milan's band. Theirbiography states; 'Take Canada’s hottest fiddle player, a guitarist thatis a cross between Tom Morello and Kevin Breit, a percussionist thatplays saw-blades and cookie sheet and one of the most versatile doublebass players in Canada and you get New Country Rehab', now tell me howcan you resist that? Based on my listening, they have a very warm andaccomplished sound with terrific harmonies ...and they even offer someDead covers!


Hey Rosetta!


Upbeat, garage-y, poppy and slightly orchestral, Newfoundland's Hey Rosetta! is hitting the road hard and making a serious name for themselves. Although some of the words in the their description may be on the verge of cliche- their music is crafted, interesting and focused and the result is very engaging.

The Funky Meters


Featuring Art Neville and George Porter Jr. (from the original Meters), the funky Meters faithfully deliver the soulful brand of funk pioneered by their namesake, jammed out for our pleasure. Rounded out by all-star New Orleans musicians Russell Batiste Jr and Brian Stoltz, there is no hope for the lawn chairs.


Trampled By Turtles 


On the forefront of the new grass movement and as close as bluegrass can get to punk without being confusing- TBT walks the line between tradition and explosive energy, on a tightrope of terrific compositions. Listening to their recordings, it is clear they are impassioned by their songs, and I can't wait to enjoy them live in this setting!


Murder Plans


Ottawa's own, fresh off a performance at Westfest, offer original rock in the mood of Roxy Music, Modest Mouse with a touch of David Byrne. Their songwriting and performances continue evolve, so it should be great to see what they bring to the table at such a great showcase opportunity.


Karl Denson's Tiny Universe


Guaranteed to be one of the festival highlights, KDTU offers an unparalleled funky tightness that is guaranteed to move you. Karl was a key member of the Greyboy All-stars, the soundtrack to the last decade for many of us, and continues to bring the messages of peace and unity to the people. If you miss this show, you are stupid.


John Butler Trio


One of Australia's favourite scruffy troubadours, formerly more reggae and acoustic soul focused, now delivers upbeat funky crowd pleasers with hip-hop undertones. This group plays to huge crowds around the world, so this will be a very intimate setting in which to check them out.