RBC Bluesfest 2015 Line-up

So the long awaited line-up for the Ottawa Bluesfest has finally been announced. This festival has become an annual tradition in Ottawa, attracting some of the most celebrated artists to the Lebreton Flats stages. This year's edition, being held from July 8th to the 19th is strangely missing the punch of previous years, however there are still a few gems in the list that I believe make this a worthwhile festival. Although I am not familiar with a lot of the bands announced, here are some that caught my eye (For expediency purposes I will leave out bands that everyone knows such as Antibalas, Blue Rodeo, Canned Heat, Deep Purple, Keith Urban, The Hip, etc...):

  • Alvvays: fronted by the daughter of two members of the Rankin Family, this Toronto based band released a great indie-pop debut album which received plenty of Juno nominations.
  • Arkells: A Hamilton band who is quickly a rising star in the Canadian rock scene, having won many awards at the Junos this past year, and headlined Supercrawl last year as well. The more success the Arkells get the more it benefits the Canadian rock scene, the less the focus will be on Nickelback as our national representative. The music is nothing groundbreaking, but it is acceptable pop rock.
  • Black Mountain: More Canadian rock! This Vancouver band has been making the rounds since 2004, and has several great albums to its credit. They skirt a fine line between hard rock and psychadelic rock, and might find some appeal within the Jambands.ca community, so I would rank this band high on the list of recommended bands to go see.
  • Charles Bradley: Soul power! The energy that Charles Bradley projects on stage is sourced from a lifetime of struggle and backed by a tremendously tight funk ensemble from the Daptone label. Just a fantastic emotional experience that will leave you feeling grateful, and simply cannot be missed!
  • Chvrches:  Want to get your groove on? This Scottish trio will help you out with that. Their music has been compared to early Depeche Mode or Cocteau Twins. Synth and beat heavy, yet a clean organized sound. I've listened to their debut album when I needed something light, yet energetic.
  •  Future Islands: The little band that could. They were well known in certain inner circles for over a decade, but failed repeatedly to pierce through to a wider audience. They never gave up, and kept trying and trying. It was their appearance on the David Letterman Show in early 2014 to promote their latest album where the band realized that this was possible their last chance and made the best of it with a legendary performance.
  • Interpol: Their first two albums were indie rock success stories, but the band has struggled since then , gone through some line-up changes, gone on hiatus, and put out a bad album or two. But they seem to be back on track, and I would put this band on my list simply because their first two albums are legendary.
  • Purity Ring: A Canadian synthpop duo that should be a lot bigger than they are. I could easily listen to them on the radio, but for whatever reason they are not getting the love from radio. They are, however, getting the love from various music publications. Laid back with interesting stage decoration, they would make for a beautiful visual experience if their set time is later in the evening. 
  • Run the Jewels: Hip-hop purists and saviours. It's all about the turntable and a couple of MCs spitting into the mic. If you crave some beats and a couple of cunning linguists, then this set is not to be missed. Their album RTJ2 was named the best album of 2014 by Pitchfork.
  • Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts: Scott Weiland is the former frontman of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, and he harkens back to the old days of rock where musicians were unreliable drugged-out sketch, with an amazing ability to control the crowd once they finally arrive on stage. I saw the second to last Velvet Revolver show ever, and they were an hour and a half late coming on stage. The crowd was pissed, but eventually elated once the show got on track. Rock 'n Roll! The new band sounds very bluesy, with an occasional hint of STP.
  • The Gaslight Anthem: I love this band. No nonsense rock 'n roll with a hint of punk. Most of their songs beckon memories of summers past where you were young, stupid, and having the time of your life. This is my driving music on long road trips.