Review of Bluesfest Day Five: The Mashup of Music Genres

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Jontavious Willis performs at Bluesfest on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 in Ottawa, Ont. [Photo by L. Manuel Baechlin/The Charlatan]

The fifth night of Bluesfest was filled with contrasts as the musicians treated the audience to performances of various musical genres. The crowd in attendance was as unique as the performances, but mixed with a mosaic of music lovers as the night wore on.

With alternative rock, blues and EDM, the fifth day of Bluesfest was a magical experience.

Lyle Odjick & The Northern Steam, a Canadian blues-rock band, set an energetic tone to open the evening on the Sirius XM stage. Odjick, the lead singer of the Algonquin reserve of Kitigan Zibi in Quebec, captivated the audience with his smoky voice. A harmonica sounded through the crowd as fans stomped and nodded in unison.

On the RBC stage, alternative R&B singer frasé showed fans his ability to display beautiful and unique sounds. Throughout his set, he showed immense range moving from a slow, seated melody to a fast EDM beat that captivated the audience.

Meanwhile, Emma Armstrong ft. A short walk to Pluto wowed the crowd at the River Stage with their eclectic approach to rock. The Canadian rock band performed hits such as “Mary’s paper boat,” “last hero” and “Flooding.” The band’s stage presence was mesmerizing and the chemistry between the band members enhanced the experience. They looked like a bunch of friends just enjoying each other’s company while creating music.

Canadian rock duo Crown Lands was next to perform on the River Stage. They immediately captured the public’s attention when lead singer Cody Bowles appeared in a striking white jumpsuit similar to that worn by Elvis Presley. The duo turned up their speakers and sang about colonialism using their music as a unique outlet for activism.

Grammy-nominated blues artist Jontavious Willis sitting with fans in the Sirius XM stage tent. As he moved from song to song, the stage lights changed to match the mood of the music, adding another layer of detail. The crowd, though intimate, was captivated by Willis’ modern and distinctive take on blues music. He played hits such as “Low ways,” “The Blues are dead?” and “Resting on my mind.”

Walking from the Sirius XM Stage tent to the RBC Stage was like a fever dream. The blues slowly faded away, to be replaced by harsh EDM music played by SAINT JHN. The Guyanese-American rapper and singer thrilled audiences with his top hit, “Roses.” SAINt JHN frequently interacted with the crowd throughout the show, checking in, asking questions and even leading a prayer towards the end.

Two headliners of the festival took to the stage at the same time in the evening, with Marshmallow on the RBC stage and Three days Grace on the River Stage. This was a mistake on the part of the festival organizers, as both artists had a large enough fanbase to perform separately. The crowd eventually split in two towards this part of the evening.

A full red buck moon blessed the sky in harmony with performance. People of all ages danced to the DJ’s electric melodies. Marshmello had the crowd jumping to the beat, adding a physical feel to the event.

Canadian rock band Three Days Grace ended the evening with their fantastic performance on the River Stage. While playing their most recognized song, “I hate everything about youfans saw flashing rock symbols with their hands bouncing to the beat of the music.


Image selected by L. Manuel Baechlin.


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