As we did with Bluesfest this summer, Apt613 will have you covered with daily preview articles, including highlights and interviews with some of the artists about to hit the stage. Beyond the main stage, make sure you check out our feature on the dozens of acts being featured as part of CityFolk’s free Marvest series.
Friday, September 13
Organizing festivals is a tricky endeavour, risky at best given the number of variables that aren’t under your control (hence the number of cancellations this summer at Bluesfest). However, sometimes the stars align perfectly, as is the case this Friday, with a ready-made lineup of five artists falling into CityFolk organizers’ laps.
Summersault was born in 1998 in the golden age of touring festivals, amidst Lollapalooza, Lilith Fair, Another Roadside Attraction and Edgefest on the landscape. Our Lady Peace rallied contemporaries at the time (I Mother Earth, Moist, Sloan, etc.) and crossed the country that August. A second edition was held in 2000, but then the festival went dormant until this year.
The festival-within-a-festival will be taking over the City Stage Friday, leaving organizers to bring in a few extra artists to round out the lineup for the night. Given the alignment of dates, we could have had competing shows that night, but for once, common sense prevails and everyone wins.
The Pairs (7pm)
A quartet with three frontwomen leading the charge, their harmonies and style evoke echoes of the Indigo Girls, with a little bit more passion and rougher around the edges.
Donovan Woods and The Opposition (8:30pm)
Bringing the folk in CityFolk, Donovan Woods will be taking the stage armed with a rare choice for an artist. Woods followed up 2018 Juno winning album Both Ways’ 12 songs with a new album in 2019 The Other Way… with the same 12 songs. The difference is that they were redone, not just acoustically, but entirely rearranged. So, depending on his choices, he can take those songs in either direction, the original way, or The Other Way, or even Both Ways. Either way, his smooth vocals will deliver the punch of his exceptional songwriting.
Rich Aucoin (10pm)
If you haven’t seen a Rich Aucoin show yet, it’s difficult to put into words the grandeur and sensory tidal wave that his shows hit you with. Aucoin’s songwriting has evolved over the years into the masterpiece that is his 2019 album Release. If you like Mother Mother, you owe it to yourself to give this album a spin. Considering how he’s continued to raise his game with each album, he could easily be on the main stage next time he’s in town.
City Stage – Summersault Takeover
Human Kebab (5pm)
U.S.S.’s deejay half, Human Kebab will be kicking things off early with his creative remixes. While his set is fairly short, you can be sure he’ll cram all the energy he has in every minute behind the turntables.
Dear Rouge (5:45pm)
The one downside with such an amazing lineup is that a great band like Dear Rouge is stuck playing a short half-hour set. Get to Lansdowne early to catch their captivating show and start your night off right. Last time they dropped into Ottawa to play a packed show for the Winter Dragonboat Festival, we had a chat with lead singer Danielle, so this time around, we connected with her guitarist and husband Drew to see what they’ve been up to, touring with Our Lady Peace, Live, and Bush, and when we can expect new music. Check back for the interview being published this weekend.
The first of the triple rock monsters bill, England’s Bush will bring fans back to the 90s with their catalog of hits. The bigger question: with 11 bona fide hits, charting at #6 or higher, will Bush be able to squeeze everything into their set? Fans who’ve kept up with them will also hope to hear their latest single, “Bullet Holes” which shows they can still put out solid rock songs.
The meat of the post-grunge sandwich on the lineup, Live will be making their return to Ottawa after their Bluesfest show that had to be aborted due to lightning (insert “Lightning Crashes” joke here). 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of their breakout album Throwing Copper, currently at 8x Platinum and counting. Since reforming the original lineup in 2016, they’ve released an EP Local 717 in 2018, and a special anniversary edition of Throwing Copper. Hopefully this time Mother Nature doesn’t take singer Ed Kowalczyk’s lyrics literally, and they get to perform their entire set.
Our Lady Peace (9:45pm)
As the gracious hosts, the Canadian legends are letting their English and American friends go first (and saving the best for last) on home soil. Unlike the vast majority of their contemporaries, OLP has essentially remained active since they burst onto the scene with 1994’s groundbreaking Naveed, and while many others went on hiatus or broke up and reformed, they’ve just kept churning out hit singles, up to and including 2017’s “Drop Me In The Water” which reached the Top 10. If Bush has a conundrum on their hands with 11 hits, OLP have twice as many in the same 60 minutes. Good luck!
We managed to catch up with guitarist Steve Mazur before they hit the stage for the first show of the Summersault tour in Moncton this week—check back here for that interview soon.
CityFolk takes place at Lansdowne Park from Thursday September 12 to Sunday September 15, 2019. Visit cityfolkfestival.com for the complete lineup, schedule and all information.