With the final shows of RBC Bluesfest slowly creeping closer, Saturday will be the perfect distraction to the impending conclusion on Sunday. With a full grid of performances for Day 8, including a large number of local musicians, festival goers will be treated to some of the best in hip-hop, rock, and more – just as long as they know where to look.
Check out our top picks for Saturday night, and head to the official Bluesfest website for more information.
Claridge Stage: 1:00 – 2:00
Gatineau-based pop singer Noushka recently travelled to Los Angeles to work on some new material. Although her repertoire is small, the bilingual musician will be giving it her all as she opens up the final Saturday of Bluesfest.
Monster Stage: 3:00 – 4:00
The Dubé became local celebrities after busking outside Bluesfest every year, often covering bands who had just performed that night. The three brothers eventually turned their busking gig into a charity project, raising thousands of dollars for a good cause. They’ve grown up and now are performing from within the Bluesfest grounds.
Claridge Stage: 4:00 – 5:00
Ottawa hip-hop trio Just Poets have an old-school approach to rap; pushing their lyrical flow to the forefront, while the slick, minimalistic hip-hop production provides the ideal background of energy. As their fanbase continues to grow, Just Poets are expected to make the most of their main stage appearance, bringing their energetic live shows to the next level.
The Wicked Mercy
Monster Stage: 4:30 – 5:30
Ottawa-based hard rock group The Wicked Mercy made their debut into the local music scene back in 2013 with their debut record. They’ve since followed up with their sophomore album back in December, and the four-piece are ready to being their slick guitar riffs, groovy doom melodies, and sturdy rock n’ roll to Bluesfest.
City Stage: 5:00 – 6:00
One of the biggest names in hip-hop, Future is taking over the main stage Saturday evening. Get ready for bass-pounding, trap style beats from one of the south’s best producers and performers. The success of his debut record Pluto was just the beginning for Future, as he has gone on to write and collaborate on some of hip-hop’s biggest hits, as well as record two more chart-topping full-lengths.
(Plus we will finally see once and for all if Drake makes an appearance).
The Paper Kites
Monster Stage: 6:00 – 7:00
Australian folk rock quintet The Paper Kites have had a steady build up of success since their formation back in 2010. Their first hit single “Bloom” was the match under the fire, setting their popularity ablaze. The band’s gentle sound, lead by the soul-melting voice of Sam Bentley, has a certain density to it provided by full-band harmonies and a medley of lush guitar and percussion tracks. Their 2015 sophomore release twelvefour extended their sound to include more dynamic instrumentation, with electric guitars, and a stronger presence from the drum kit – all the while holding onto their rich, soothing style. Easy on the ears and the soul, The Paper Kites will be a nice addition to a summer evening.
City Stage: 7:00 – 8:00
Ottawa funk/soul/R&B group The Lionyls found their footing back in 2014 after winning the Live 88.5 Big Money Shot, and since then have been bringing their party-friendly sound everywhere they go. Their performances are nothing short of electrifying, bringing back the raw, unfiltered power of the ’60s/’70s soul era mixed with the contemporary edge of alternative rock.
Monster Stage: 7:30 – 8:30
Between the crunchy, distorted riffs blaring from Shane Parsons’ guitar and the self-destructive rhythms from drummer Simon Ridley, DZ Deathrays have the power to ignite the wild side in your grandmother, and inject a rush of excitement and adrenaline similar to that of a self-inflicted punch to the face. Catchy like the riffs of Royal Blood, wild like the unpredictability of Lighting Bolt, and with the distortion of Death From Above, the Aussie pair will presumably aim to be the loudest show at this year’s festival.
Black Sheep Stage: 8:00 – 9:00
Holy Fuck aren’t your traditional idea of electronic. Sure, keyboards and synthesizers are used, but for a band described as electronic, they stay clear of laptops, and programming. But it works. Really, really well. Throwing psychedelic, undistinguishable vocals into the mix, the Toronto outfit put a twist on the idea of being a “rock” band, as the standard guitars, bass, drums, and vocals are taken for a wild ride. Cyclic rhythms, impressively precise percussion, and shoegaze-esque dynamics make Holy Fuck nothing short of mesmerizing in the studio, and absolutely sensational live.
Claridge Stage: 8:00 – 9:00
Platinum selling R&B artist Nelly took over as a leading name on the Billboard charts back in 2000 with his debut album Country Grammar – which includes the smash title track and “Ride Wit Me”. His last record M.O. was released back in 2013, and three years later Nelly is resurfacing for some more performances. His Ottawa appearance is undoubtedly going to be one exciting throwback.
Monster Stage: 9:00 – 10:15
Blink, and you’ll miss them; Montreal indie alt-rock group Wolf Parade were a band formed on a whim, and their recording history is staggered and unpredictable. After going on an indefinite hiatus back in 2011, the quirky alternative rock quartet made a surprise return in 2016 with their pseudo-untitled fourth EP EP 4. With a small, but loyal cult following in the indie rock community, Wolf Parade’s appearance at Bluesfest has been a long time coming.
City Stage: 9:30 – 10:45
U.K. new wave/art-pop group Duran Duran have been creating hits for almost three decades. Their lengthy career and revolutionary place in music history makes them a highly anticipated show for fans new and old. With 13 albums and another in the works, Duran Duran will have plenty of tunes to choose from for their appearance Saturday night.
Pith and the Parenchymas – Blacksheep Stage: 3:30 – 4:30
Danny Albert – Barney Danson Theatre: 3:30 – 4:30
The Flava Factory – City Stage: 3:30 – 4:00
Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne – Blacksheep Stage: 5:00 – 6:00
Pipahauntas – Barney Danson Theatre: 5:00 – 6:00
The Flava Factory – Claridge Stage: 6:00 – 6:30
Paul James – Blacksheep Stage: 6:30 – 7:30
Lera Lynn – Barney Danson Theatre: 6:30 – 7:30
Garrett Klahn – Barney Danson Theatre: 8:00 – 9:00
Cashmere Cat – Blacksheep Stage: 9:30 – 10:45