The Black Keys, Wanda Jackson, Dawes, Erykah Badu, M. Ward
July 8 and 9, 2011
Review by: Jordan David
Photos by: Jamie Kronick
Jordan and Jamie continue coverage of the recent Ottawa Bluesfest with The Black Keys, Wanda Jackson, Dawes, Erykah Badu, and M. Ward.
The Black Keys
This was definitely one of the most hyped shows of the festival, and for good reason. Since the release of Brothers on May 18, 2010 the band has had nothing but success. The Black Keys have been playing some of the worlds largest festivals, they were nominated for a Grammy, and if you’ve watched HBO in the last year then chances are you have heard the gritty voice of Dan Auerbach (vocals, guitars) featured on series such as Hung and Entourage.
Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse as rain and wind swooped in minutes before The Black Keys were about to take the stage.
The show was delayed for just over an hour, but the large majority of fans stuck it out as everyone embraced the waterfall. When the show finally started The Black Keys wasted no time and started the set with one of their bigger hits off Brothers, "Everlasting Light". This was my first time seeing them live and they delivered a good mixture of new and old material. They managed to play 10 songs before ending there set due to time restrictions. Although I ended up soaking wet, cold and with not much of a voice left, The Black Keys gave us a show to remember.
What's there to be said about Wanda Jackson anymore? The 73 year-old Oklahoma City native has been singing and performing since the mid-1950's, and judging by her performance at Bluesfest she hasn't missed a beat in her more than a half century long career. Wanda Jackson and her three piece accompanying band played songs from throughout her career, including some from her most recent release, a collaboration with Jack White, "The Party Ain't Over".
Finally, Dawes played Ottawa. This is one of the shows I was looking forward to most at this year's Bluesfest. Despite a large loyal following in the United States, Dawes is still relatively unknown in Canada, and this being their first time in Ottawa the crowd was a little thin. Right from the start, I was blown away by the powerful lead vocals of Taylor Goldsmith (vocals, guitar). The four-piece Los Angeles based band played mostly songs of their new record Nothing Is Wrong, but also plowed through some hits from their previous release North Hills. It had to be one of the hotter days of the festival, but it was worth it. I ended up watching the lead singer's brother Griffin Goldsmith (drums, vocals) for most of the set as he has to be one of the most expressive drummers around. Between nailing backup harmonies, Griffin makes some of the most entertaining drumming faces around.
When you talk about Erykah Badu, you must speak about a female singer with some serious stage presence. Despite Erykah Badu being 40 minutes late for her performance (yes, you read that correctly, 40 minutes late), the restless crowd were immediately won over once Erykah and her band finally did emerge.
Everyone involved with the Monsters of Folk project seems to be in Ottawa this festival season. Starting with M. Ward on day five of Bluesfest, followed by Jim James of My Morning Jacket on day eight, and then Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes will be playing at the Ottawa Folk Festival on August 27th.
M. Ward and his four piece band strung one song to the next and played through a large chunk of M. Ward's material in ways that used his various artistic outlets.