Coachella. Glastonbury. Rock in Rio. Primavera. Roskilde. These are the names of some of the world’s most popular music festivals.
And then there’s Ottawa Bluesfest. Which also exists for everyone too impatient for Osheaga.
The one thing Bluesfest has on all of those legendary music festivals, you ask? Well can you get sucker punched by a hockey bro from Alexandria that smells like Doritos and White Claw at Glastonbury? Didn’t think so.
Bluesfest, which started in 1994 with actual blues musicians, has almost evolved past the annual “this isn’t the blues!!!!” complaint from people who never leave Kanata. Headliners in recent years include Kanye West, Foo Fighters, and Lady Gaga—however, it is still held in Ottawa.
In honour of the great Noisey tradition of seriously and accurating reviewing every single band playing Coachella, we have spent thousands of seconds researching each and every act at Ottawa Bluesfest to help you decide if going to our nation’s capital is worth going to literally anywhere else.
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
Can some of those that work forces make it easier to get tickets?
Jack Johnson is like the guy who whips out an acoustic guitar at a house party and plays Jack Johnson songs.
Would prefer if Tom DeLonge strolls out and casually gives an hour-and-a-half Power Point presentation about how Aliens Exist.
More like marsh-hell-no.
High chance you’ll be soaked by wine spilling out of a novelty guitar neck cup.
Please resist the urge to propose to your crush of five weeks.
Nothing says festival season like contemplative indie rock for the divorced or soon-to-be divorced.
BOYZ II MEN
More like Men II Olds. (Sad trombone.)
A teary-eyed crowd will sing along to the one (and only) Vance Joy song everyone knows.
Oh yeah, Australia still exists.
Somehow the only Lil booked.
More like the Adult Diaper of the Crimson King, amirite?
Your dad still talks about the time he lined up at centre against Jim Cuddy in beer league.
Dress me up and call me emo because I’m about to get bangs, smudge mascara down my cheeks, and scream at Bluesfesters to Try Honesty.
Combat boot and mini dress hive rejoice.
Real fans know it’s pronounced “Slack” or “Six-lack” through wet lisp.
SAINTS AND SINNERS TOUR (BIG WRECK, HEADSTONES, MOIST AND THE TEA PARTY)
I guess Our Lady Peace’s Summersault revival didn’t take.
Unfortunately not the stage name of a singing crocodile.
[bad Tom Waits impression] Hello
[bad Emily Haines impression] Ottawa
Love to relive my first breakup, which left me crying into my pillow every night for a full calendar year.
CHARLOTTE DAY WILSON
If you evolve her at night she becomes Charlotte Umbreon Wilson.
Put a bird on it!
We see you, secret Brad Pitt side project.
Fantastic in The Conjuring.
SHARON VAN ETTEN
Our old, sad editor refuses to let us say anything mean about her.
Should’ve been Ca$h Ca$h.
If the DJ sees his shadow you get six more weeks of free Monster Energy.
THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS
Would be considered Canada's greatest band if they weren't from Vancouver.
TURKUAZ W/ JERRY HARRISON & ADRIAN BELEW: REMAIN IN LIGHT TURNS 40
Honestly, we've got no clue either.
Sorry ma’am I haven’t seen him, try child services.
It’s Brandy O’clark somewhere.
DJ Roomba made it to the big time.
Sharing a name with an acclaimed television show is terrible SEO.
THE BARR BROTHERS
One letter away from being a half-decent pirate band.
Warning you will cry but in a good way.
NAHKO AND MEDICINE FOR THE PEOPLE
Expect a crowd full of white people with dreads and mandala tattoos. (Sorry, Nahko.)
His “early life” Wikipedia entry makes us wish we googled him earlier.
We wish your dad nothing but the best.
Tractor McGee was unavailable
Against all odds he is not a Norweigian metal band.
THE CINEMATIC ORCHESTRA
Hopefully it's a silent movie.
Should have been a curler.
I hope their openers are The Chips.
Sadly this band has nothing to do with a hyper-literary Jack Russell Terrier
Hell yeah Sex Education.
DURAND JONES & THE INDICATIONS
What, not Durand Durand?
Should team up with Ocean Alley to cover "Ocean Avenue."
Should team up with Southern Avenue to cover "Ocean Avenue."
If you say Jontavious three times in a mirror a harmonica appears.
Thank god this isn’t four white guys.
Sadly not three collies in a trench coat.
Playing their biggest hit, "What reconciliation?"
I don’t know who this is but I’m excited to get my tarot read.
I think we have the same Hormone Monster.
What Professor Frink yells after completing an invention.
Shoulda been Anthony.
Member of the Kim Mitchell Cinematic Universe.
THE COOPER BROTHERS SOUTHERN ROCK ALL-STAR REVUE
Hopefully your single cousin is free to join you for this one.
My favourite Sopranos character.
My least favourite Sopranos character.
DWAYNE DOPSIE & THE ZYDECO HELLRAISERS
I have no idea who these people are but this is the best band playing this event.
THE TEXAS HORNS
Country ska band, I hope.
Sashay away. (OK, getting pretty tired now.)
Red, red young / Stay close to meeee.
How’s she trading after Brexit?
Someone fix her levels.
ANGELIQUE FRANCIS BAND
Angelique Francis banned.
Should be Big Zed whenever you play in Canada, bud.
We get it, Braden Fuc—wait, what?
Etoile Noire means 'Black Star' en francais
Hey baby I hear the blues a-callin, tossed salads and scrambled eggs! Mmmercy.
Hi, yes, I do own flannel.
GENTLEMEN OF THE WOODS
We call them Sasquatches around here actually.
Rejected album title for Justified.
JESSICA PEARSON AND THE EAST WIND
Weird, I don’t remember this Harry Potter book.
Kim Mitchell’s full name.
Only Cloud I acknowledge defeated Sepiroth.
If I’m going to be completely honest I prefer Laura Duotang.
LYLE ODJICK & THE NORTHERN STEAM
After Bluesfest will be continuing their tour of every coffee shop open mic within driving distance.
MACK & BEN
We assume this is just two hosers talking about Internet Nazis.
Fuck y’all, Grace Kelly still slaps.
Not a Slate columnist.
MURRAY KINSLEY & WICKED GRIN
Congrats on whoever wished their DeviantArt characters to life.
Dollar store Zellweger.
How I’m tryna be.
Artists named after root vegetables are known for bringing the party.
Next time you pick a band name try a little harder plz.
Which is exactly what we’ll do 10 seconds into this set.
TONY D BAND
Could you not afford the Tony C Band?