Ottawa CityFolk: What Happened Thursday and What’s Happening Friday

The first two days of CityFolk have already left us with plenty to remember. Wednesday had no indie bands, so I won’t go into that, but Thursday was absolutely stuffed with indie music that left me rather satisfied.

I started the day sitting on the Great Lawn and being serenaded by Les Soeurs Boulay, who provided excellent tunes for easing into the day. The crowd was still light at that point, and I was able to find a nice spot to sit back and enjoy the exquisite vocal harmonies from these two sisters. It was a set full of easy-listening soft folk music that was simply pleasant. I wouldn’t say that their set was a mind-blowing performance, but it was a great way to begin the evening.

Next up: Steep Canyon Rangers. This set consisted of blistering bluegrass jam after blistering bluegrass jam. These guys took the energy up a level at the indoor Ravenlaw stage. Sweet folksy vocal melodies carried over a perfect blend of double bass, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, guitar, and cajon for percussion. I was absolutely floored by the long fiddle jam that closed the set, which seamlessly worked various familiar melodies, such as “O Canada”, into the solo. For any bluegrass lovers out there, this band delivered.

In the headliner slot I opted for Lisa LeBlanc over The Avett Brothers, and I do not regret my decision. This trio blended true folk with some pretty intense rock for a set that made me go from intense head-banging to patient listening and right back again. Combine that with Lisa LeBlanc’s aloof, down-to-earth demeanor and stage banter and we had ourselves quite an enjoyable show. Her songs found an excellent balance between sheer raw energy and delicate playing. Lisa LeBlanc is an artist that I will be sure to investigate further after the festival.

Finally, the late-night set was the indie rock band Wintersleep. I feel that these guys delivered exactly what you would expect from an indie rock band, but did not colour outside the lines too much. Their music was full of energy and power, and they played with precision, but I felt that their songs were fairly standard fare in the indie rock world. Still, they put on a solid show to close the evening. And with that, the first two days of CityFolk have come to a close.

What’s Up for Friday

Patrick Watson: Anyone who has spent a decent amount of time on this website knows that I adore Patrick Watson. I cannot wait to see him again. He’ll be playing at 6 on the main stage.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones: This is another band that I was excited to see on the lineup. Expect some powerful soul music straight from the heart of Alabama, this band is going to make you feel! See them at the Ravenlaw stage at 10.

LeE HARVeY OsMOND: I know virtually nothing about this guy, but he is described as “psychedelic folk”, and some brief research tells me that we should be in for a somewhat sultry performance with led by smooth baritone vocals. He will also be on the Ravenlaw stage starting at 11:30.

Much Love,

~Dave

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