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Ottawa Bluesfest Day Three – Lady Starlight

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Ottawa Bluesfest Day Three – Lady Starlight

Written by Chris O’Gorman

Who: Lady Starlight

From: New York City

Where: Bell Stage, RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, Ottawa

When: Day Three, July 5th 2014

Total Score: 7/10

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Lady Starlight, Lady Gaga’s mentor, former co-star, and now her opening act, took the stage a couple of hours before Gaga herself at this year’s Bluesfest. Instead of ramping up the audience, though, Starlight left the audience a little bewildered. She spun a really good set yet received minimal applause afterwards. Unfortunately, it seems like Ottawa didn’t get her, her music, or why she was opening for Gaga. Allow me to clear a few things up.

Style: Starlight is old school electronic. She’s the type of musician that uses two soundboards and a whole lot of DJ know-how to make her music. She doesn’t use computer-generated sounds so her sound has a distinct New York ‘burb feel to it. It’s different and it’s weird because it’s so classic and unfamiliar.

Fans 5/10: A few minutes into the set, it became clear only a few people were feeling it. I mean there were people plugging their ears and giving each other a few knowing looks as it to say, “Is this a mistake? Did I wander into an electro dance hall and this isn’t Bluesfest? Was taking MDMA mandatory for this and I just missed the memo?” No to all of the above. Starlight certainly wasn’t meant to perform in large venues, much less an outdoor venue. But the crowd really didn’t get her or her music and to me that seems like their fault, not hers.

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Musical Ability 9/10: As mentioned, Lady Starlight knows her stuff. Her beats were on point and she spun a really good set. The venue might not have been suited to her and the crowd may not have been as enthusiastic as they could’ve been, but she knew her stuff and the music was solid. After all, this is the musical style that inspired Lady Gaga’s career. It’s this music that gave ARTPOP its roots and it’s a shame to see it wasn’t as appreciated as it should have been.

Sex Appeal 8/10: Dressed in a sailor moon outfit meets Japanese schoolgirl, Lady Starlight was rocking the quirky DJ persona. She looked interesting and like she was having fun on stage. While not as outrageous as some of the other outfits of the day, Starlight looked good all the way down to her bobby socks and sneakers with red laces to match her necktie bow.

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Memorable Moment: Lady Starlight has a look, a smirk if you’d like, when she knows her music is getting funky. When she turns a knob, she looks out at the audience and does the look just before the music goes to the next level. I call it the StarSmirk. Definitely the memorable moment from her performance

Overall: Lady Starlight is a misunderstood artist. While Ottawa may not have appreciated her originality, there is a lot to be said for her overall performance. It was definitely boring. While she’s technically brilliant and looked funky on stage, throwing a StarSmirk every so often, it wasn’t enough to make up for the fact that it was a performance in an open air meant for a nightclub filled by electronic music enthusiasts.

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Photos by Mac Dimanlig

THE SCENE