August 2014

Reporting from Bluesfest: Journey, Zedd and Beth Hart

Bluesfest is a major music festival in Ottawa which, surprisingly, has very little connection to blues. Some of the more famous performers this year included Lady Gaga, Journey, Barenaked Ladies, Blondie, Childish Gambino, Queens of the Stone Age, Snoop Dogg, Tegan and Sara, The Killers, and Third Eye Blind.DSCF0768eAnd I had the most awesome luck of nabbing a press pass for the first Friday of the festival. My friend Griffith is an editor at The Scene Magazine, a Canadian based music review website, and he needed a couple of extra writers to attend the festival and review whatever bands we pleased. I wholeheartedly agreed and set on my way.
The festival was pretty chilled-out and some of the stages had a beautiful view of the Ottawa River. I decided first to see Beth Hart then Journey followed by Zedd.DSCF0787eAn excerpt from my Beth Hart review: “Beth Hart has commandeered a great deal of respect in the rock world over the past couple of decades and has successfully fought to remain relevant. In 2013 she was nominated for the “contemporary blues female artist of the year” award and for someone who has been around for a while, she surprisingly shows no signs of slowing down or changing course. Her show even leaves you wondering if the Hart train actually has a brake lever. But one thing is for sure, if someone or something was to end the train’s journey then her fans would either refuse to leave their seats or burn their own clothes in the furnace for one last ride around with their beloved Beth Hart.”
DSCF0790 An excerpt from my Journey review: “As a tall frat boy succinctly exclaimed, “what a big-ass crowd”. Journey’s audience stretched back in its thousands, which is to be expected for one of the world’s best selling bands. But the crowd lacked attention and people were constantly flowing in and out of the show without much concern for what songs they would miss. Whenever a group would recognize a lyric they would animatedly join in for a few moments, much like at a karaoke night where everyone is half drunk and half disinterested. But this pub night was more like an under 18’s social event where the dress code required irritating attitudes andperfect tans. You could almost imagine them saying to each other “Do you wanna see that old band who’s song was on Glee?” which is a strange reality for Journey now since their music appeared on the popular TV show in 2009. If only they knew that there is so much more to Journey than Don’t Stop Believin’; the band has an exceptional history and impressive persistence for staying relevant in today’s music world. But at least they’re bringing in a younger audience now, which is good… right?”

Photograph credit to Mark Horton/RBC Bluesfest Press Images

An excerpt from my Zedd review: “Zedd manages to succeed where most electro and house DJ’s fail. His music does not fall into the trap of repetition, shitty lyrics or “the louder, the better” mantra. Instead Zedd cooks a feast of music for his audience. He skillfully manipulates the music into something interesting and every 10 seconds a new sound is introduced into the mix. Zedd is a teasing DJ but his work is also very generous; the music is captivating and constantly provides new, new, new, and more, more, more. The night was a startling passionate three-way love affair between music, art and technology. And the audience loved every thrilling moment of it.”
Zedd performs at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on Friday, July 4th, 2013. The RBC Bluesfest is ranked as one of the most successful music events in North America.

Photograph credit to Mark Horton/RBC Bluesfest Press Images

Here is a snapshot of The Scene Magazine’s homepage the following day with my three articles:bluesfest my three articlesI have included links to the full versions of each review. I hope you enjoy them as much as I loved writing them!

Love Jill