Bluesfest’s luck couldn’t hold out Thursday. Despite no cancellations leading up to the day, severe thunderstorms not only delayed the start of the festival, but also prevented DJ Pauly D from making the trip. Fingers crossed that the current forecast holds: As of this moment, no lineup or weather issues seem imminent for Friday. Organizers may finally have a day go off as planned this week!
And what a day it’s going to be. Rock fans get a triple bill on the City Stage reminiscent of last year’s great Three Days Grace and Rise Against show.
City Stage: The Dirty Nil (6pm), The Offspring (7:30pm), Alexisonfire (9:30pm)
Videotron Stage: BlakDenim (6:30pm), Busty and The Bass (8pm), T-Pain (9:30pm)
Bluesville Stage: Area Resident (6pm), Red Young & His Hot Horns (7:30pm), Guided By Voices (9pm)
Barney Danson Theatre: Loon Choir (6pm), Megan Laurence & Lucas Haneman (7:30pm), All-Star Blues Revue with MonkeyJunk (9pm)
Spin Stage: Marquez the DJ (6:30pm)
Megan Laurence & Lucas Haneman, the vocal duo from the Lucas Haneman Express, will be taking the Barney Danson Theatre next. If you’re familiar with LHE, you know what to expect from this duo’s soulful voices. When performing as a pair, they usually take a more intimate approach to the stage, with Haneman on acoustic guitar. Get a sneak peek of the duo’s album, expected to be released later this year.
Doug Hempstead’s band Area Resident will take the Bluesville stage at 6:00. If The Dirty Nil is too heavy for you to start your festival evening, wander down to the tent and take in some less aggressive, more melodic indie rock. Following up his 2018 album Echolette, Hempstead dropped a great new single, “Viscount I,” two weeks ago. Hopefully a full album follows soon in the same vein.
The All-Star Blues Revue with MonkeyJunk will go for another round today. Guests include Big Dave McLean and Emily Burgess. Marquez the DJ will also return to the Spin Stage in the Big Chill zone.
If you’re coming for punk icons The Offspring and Alexisonfire’s triumphant reunion show, make sure you get there early so you can catch The Dirty Nil’s set. The Hamilton rockers defy categorization, with hints of punk, grunge, and indie rock, but slightly more polish and melody than most indie bands. Their distinctive sound earned them the 2017 Breakthrough Group of the Year Juno, and 2018’s Master Volume displays their ongoing evolution. Never ones to take themselves too seriously, they’ve released fun covers as well, with their most recent release You’re Welcome II featuring renditions of April Wine’s “Oowatanite” and Van Halen’s “Unchained.” A very apt opener for two bands that likely influenced their musical direction and attitude.
RBC Bluesfest is at LeBreton Flats (Canadian War Museum) from July 4–14, 2019. Visit ottawabluesfest.ca for tickets, the complete schedule and lineup. Check back for more on Bluesfest 2019, including our Day 9 preview Saturday that will feature our chat with Matt Andersen.