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Ottawa Bluesfest – Day Ten

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Ottawa Bluesfest – Day Ten

Deep Purple at Ottawa Bluesfest - Photo by Andrej Ivanov

Deep Purple at Ottawa Bluesfest – Photo by Andrej Ivanov

The 10th day of the Ottawa Bluesfest was filled with a nostalgic vibe, as we entered the festival grounds. The entire day was leading up to the final performance of the day, by the legendary Deep Purple, and it seemed as though every piece was fitting perfectly.

Our afternoon started with a mellow performance by Interpol, an indie band that has found resurgence in the last couple of years. The band, formed in 1997, has been subtly snaking its way through the music scene, mainly known by connoisseurs and lovers of a more underground scene. Overall though, the band was not as interesting as it may have been. The stage presence was lacking, there was no interaction with the crowd, and there was no energy. Simply put, the band came, they played and they left. It felt as though they were not overly interested in being there themselves. The saving grace of the set was that the music was actually really good and really well played, so at least, despite all their flaws, the band did play a good sounding set.

Interpol was followed by an old soft rock duo Air Supply. The two sexagenarians were accompanied by a full band, which included Russell Hitchcock’s son. First of all, it’s important to preface this by saying that Russell Hitchcock & Graham Russell can both still belt it out, despite their respective ages. Overall, the duo has charisma, charm and personality. And the fans ate the set right up, cheering and singing along to all of their hits. The interaction within the band was also quite impressive, at some instances finding Hitchcock encouraging the lead guitarist to keep on rocking, and at another having a very intimate duet with his son. All the while, both Hitchcock and Russell moved around the stage constantly. Overall, the band delivered an amazing set, filled with love ballads a-plenty. They even encouraged the crowd to turn around and kiss their loved ones, be it a spouse, a relative, a child or even a pet! A little bit cheesy, but in this case, cheesy worked well for them.

Next up, came a band for the younger folks in the crowd. This little group of five guys from Laval, QC has been around for many years, delivering pop-punk to teens for over 10 years, and kicked up the nostalgia factor for many 20-some odd year olds that were there. If you haven’t caught on, the band is Simple Plan and the minute they came on stage, the eruption of screams almost deafened the sound system. After ten years, giving them another rave review seems almost redundant. The band has come a very long way from their humble beginnings and it’s great to see a band that withstood the test of time amongst many others in a very similar genre. A lot of bands of that time have fallen to the wayside and have simply been forgotten. Despite that, Simple Plan stayed, and showed great support for many causes. Now older, with families, the guys show that they’ve grown but still know and love to have fun.

Next on our bill came G-Eazy, a producer and musician from Berkley, CA. Overall, his set was good, his flow was strong, fast-paced and well paced. The crowd ate up his entire set, jumping to his every word. The artist was accompanied by a DJ , a drummer and a backlit screen. Overall, the set was good fun, but nothing extraordinary. It left me wanting something more.

Last but definitely not least, came the show that most people had been waiting for. Deep Purple was introduced by an awe-inspiring opening sequence of Wagner-esque proportions. Deep Purple then entered, larger than life, and kicked it up to ten straight from the first notes. Despite their age, the band has still got it. Ian Gillan’s voice was, albeit slightly pitchy at first, on key the rest of the time. It is clear though, that age has caught up with the vocalist, as they opted to not perform the high-pitched and vocally challenging Child in Time. The set list went on up to the end of Strange Kind of Woman when Gillan announced that that was it for the “folk part of the show”. It was as though that turned every knob past 11, giving way to the rest of the show. And what a show it was. Despite being the frontman, Gillan actually spent a lot of time in the back part of the stage, giving more way to the music rather than his voice. The set included a solo by guitarist Steve Morse, ripping out riffs for well over 10 minutes. A drum solo by Ian Paice, Deep Purple’s original drummer, which rivaled Led Zeppelin’s Moby Dick, followed the guitar solo. To make things a tad more interesting, Paice was handed a different pair of sticks, the house lights were dimmed, and he performed in the dark with only the drum sticks lit up, giving up a very intimate light show. By the end of Hell to Pay, Gillan and the rest of the band stepped off the stage to give the third original member’s his chance to shine. Don Airey captivated us with a very intricate and diverse keyboard solo. He showed us that the he is more than just a rock musician, but also a concert pianist, throwing some classical pieces into the mix. This was then followed by a powerful performance of Perfect Strangers and Space Truckin’. But the sweetest of all tunes came as a pre-encore finale. You guessed it, they played the one song every budding guitarist has learned – or at least the intro to it. As the first chords of Smoke on the Water drifted through the air, everyone cheered and sang from start to finish. The band then returned for an encore of I Can’t Turn You Lose, Hush and closed the set with Black Night. Overall, this was definitely a high light, and an honor to witness what can easily be considered one of the most influential hard rock bands of their time. A great find by the Ottawa Bluesfest

Words and Photos by Andrej Ivanov

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Ottawa Bluesfest day 11 featured quite a few awesome sets: Air Supply, Simple Plan, G-Eazy, Deep PurpleFull article here:

Posted by Andrej Ivanov Photography on Sunday, 19 July 2015

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