RBC Bluesfest July 7, 2016

“Drink lots of water” was the motto for the first night of RBC Bluesfest. The heat and the sun were an unstoppable duo and if you weren’t sweating – you’re lying. It was a hot one. But Thursday evening was too much fun to care, with some even hotter acts heating up the festival. Sunshine, dancing, and some of the biggest names in music made for one hell of a night.

Ottawa photographer Kamara Morozuk kicked off her photo coverage of the festival Thursday evening, and you can browse through her photos in the new Concert Gallery below featuring Suits n’ Toques, ScHoolboy Q, The Head and the Heart, and more. Follow her on Instagram for more pictures and updates.

(Photo by Kamara Morozuk)
(Photo by Kamara Morozuk)

For more information on the festival, head to the Bluesfest official website.


Ottawa ska band Suits n’ Toques opened up the first day of RBC Bluesfest with an energizing dance party at the Black Sheep stage. Fitting seven musicians on stage is never an easy task, especially when dealing with the unwavering punk spirit of a young ska band; jumping around, having a wild time were certainly on the to-do list Thursday evening, as Suits n’ Toques played through their small but fun-loving discography, performing songs from their two EPs. With the sun blazing down on the hot July evening, the set came to close with their latest hit single “Faceplant”, but not before transforming Van Morrison’s “Brown Eye Girl” into a surprisingly well-suited ska rendition.

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In the studio, American soul/R&B musician Son Little has an absolutely stunning presence. His voice is gritty and soft simultaneously, and his merging of genres is easy on the ears. After being selected as one of the director’s top picks of the festival, Son Little drew in a fair-sized crowd to the back stage, with many new fans in the audience. But aside from his shirtless entrance, Son Little did not have as dominating of a presence as anticipated, choosing to open with his slow, more studio-friendly tracks from his debut release. With each passing track, the audience seemed to dwindle in size, with only his loyal fans taking up the bulk of the space in front of the stage. It was only near the end of his set, when he played his hit “Lay Down” did he seem to re-capture the audience’s attention, and then swiftly amped things up with the blues rock tune “Toes”.

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Performances from Lost to the River, Boy & Bear, and The Head & The Heart transformed the Monster Energy Stage into a rendezvous place of indie folk, with each band bringing their own dosage of folk to the side stage by the river. However, Seattle alternative folk ensemble The Head & The Heart stole the show with their undying energy and love of performing being transformed into their dynamic, heartfelt music. Their 2013 album Let’s Be Still served as the bulk of their repertoire, and although it has been a few years, the album’s rich personality still shown bright for devoted and new fans alike.

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Although the music of pop rock legend Billy Idol could be heard from almost every inch of the festival grounds, the far back Black Sheep tage became its own bubble of Swedish alternative rock courtesy of the always dynamic Peter Bjorn and John. The Swedish trio ensured the first night of concerts would end in style, playing hits from across their discography, including their most recent album Breakin’ Point. The combination of the wild light show, their peppy alternative pop hits, and Peter and Bjorn dancing and hopping around made for an entertaining night. It cannot be easy to spin around on one foot, dancing like a small child who needs to pee, all the while not missing a note; regardless, Peter and Bjorn made it work, running down to be as close to the audience as possible, not to miss out on the dance party they created. Their quirky and humble personalities helped build a bond with the audience, narrated with charming Swedish accents, creating an intimate concert experience as they playfully joked and spoke as if it was a group of friends in front of them.

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More photos from Thursday night are below:

ScHoolboy Q:

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Boy & Bear:

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Lost to the River:

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