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Concert Photography, Music, Ottawa Bluesfest 2013

Concert Review: Ottawa Bluesfest 2013 (Day 1) – Jimmy Eat World, Alex Clare, Grand Funk Railroad

By: Scott Penner –

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World. (Photo: Scott Penner/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Jimmy Eat World opened the Bell Stage with an hour-long set that featured a mix of songs that spanned their career, including their new single “I Will Steal You Back”, from their new album, Damage, “Pain” from their 2004 album, Futures, and their most well-known song “The Middle”, from their wildly successful 2001 album Bleed American. While they seemed a little sluggish at first and it took them a while to find their groove, they quickly ignited the crowd to several massive singalongs and exerted contagious energy. Overall they succeeded by jump-starting a positive, feel-good atmosphere that is likely to reverberate throughout the rest of the festival.

Alex Clare, who we saw and completely fell in love with at Coachella earlier this year, headlined the River Stage on Thursday night. Despite being 10 minutes late in starting his set, his performance included a stunning cover of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” and his hit single “Too Close”.  His softer songs like “Three Hearts”, which prominently featured Clare’s delicate acoustic guitar strumming, was at times overwhelmed by the massive sound from The Black Keys at the next stage.

Overall Clare’s sound was great and he was a pleasure to listen to. He seemed not to be bothered but encouraged by the fact that he was playing to a fraction of the park, when he decided to take out his in-ear monitors as they were “killing the vibe” of an intimate and interactive show for him. Clare was very laid-back and comfortable on stage as he drank beer and commented on the beauty of the festival beside the water between songs. He also treated us to a cover of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight Irene”, which he described as “possibly the most depressing song ever written”. We really think there could not have been a better headliner act on the River Stage for day one.

Grand Funk Railroad (GFR), whose line-up features original “competent” drummer Don Brewer and the “bong-rattling” bass player Mel Schacher along with former lead singer form 38 Special Max Carl, and KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick, showed their age during their 75 minute set, but not before they energized the crowd, albeit in short stints, as Brewer occasionally rose from his drum kit to jump around and cheer on the crowd, but overall they weren’t as active on stage as most younger bands. But what they lacked in energy, they made up for with experience as they’ve enjoyed a six-decade-long career GFR stuck to what their fans wanted to hear, which was mostly their hit singles from the early-to-mid-seventies, including “The Loco-Motion” and “We’re An American Band”.

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Jimmy Eat World
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Alex Clare
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Grand Funk Railroad
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  1. Pingback: 07/04/13 Bluefest @ Ottawa, ON | Jimmy Eat World Online - July 10, 2013

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