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Concert Photography, Concert Reviews, Music, Ottawa Folk Festival 2013

Concert Review + Photos: Ottawa Folk Festival 2013 (Day 4) – The Avett Brothers, The Sheepdogs + More

By: Calum Slingerland –

Not even the threat of rain could keep concertgoers away from Hog’s Back Park on Saturday night. The Ottawa Folk Festival had a plethora of acts on stages throughout the afternoon, including Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, and Sondre Lerche, and had a stellar lineup in store for the evening as well including Vancouver-based indie alternative rock/folk trio Hey Ocean!, Saskatchewan-based blues rock quartet The Sheepdogs, and headliners, folk-rock sextet The Avett Brothers.

The Avett Brothers


The Avett Brothers were the big draw of the evening, packing the festival’s main stage with one of the biggest crowds of the festival. Opening with a rousing rendition of “Down With the Shine” from 2012’s The Carpenter, brother Seth and Scott Avett didn’t disappoint, playing an emotionally charged set of their tuneful, jangly folk music.

Joining them onstage were a host of guest musicians including cellist Joe Kwon (who carried the instrument around the stage as if it was light as a feather), Bob Crawford who handled the low-end of things on upright bass, and Mike Marsh who showed nice versatility behind the drumkit for everything from bluegrass to more rocking numbers.


The Sheepdogs

Saskatchewan’s classic rock revivalists, The Sheepdogs were up on the RavenLaw stage, and they’ve always been known to play enjoyable sets, and this performance was no exception.

Kicking things off with a length jam piece, towering frontman Ewen Currie stepped to the microphone and thanked everyone for coming out. “The nation’s capital has always shown us a great time in the past, so let’s get down!” he proclaimed to the crowd’s delight.

They performed the hits that everyone in attendance wanted to hear, such as “I Don’t Know” from 2010’s Learn and Burn, and “Feeling Good” from 2012’s self-titled release. They also brought the sounds of late sixties/early seventies rock music to life, with drawn-out, indulgent jam sessions of songs such as “Learn and Burn” from the album of the same name, and “Ewen’s Blues” from their self-titled record. This song saw the frontman’s younger sibling, Seamus, bring out a trombone to play the song’s catch melody. The Currie brothers even traded off solos on trombone and keyboard to top it off.



Hey Ocean!


Once Vancouver-based indie alternative rock/folk trio Hey Ocean! arrived on stage, the crowd was engulfed in rich harmonies and humable melodies. Having played smaller venues around the city before, some were taken aback at how far they’ve come.

The band’s music is incredibly catchy and hook-oriented, a style which had the crowd moving throughout the entire set. Hey Ocean! performed incredibly vivacious versions of tracks like “Big Blue Wave” and “Jolene” from their most recent release, 2012’s IS. “How is the general vibe in the audience right now?” asked vocalist Ashleigh Ball to raucous cheers. “I think it’s dance party o’clock, get ready!” she instructed before launching into the ever-infectious “Make a New Dance Up”, also from IS. The song included a moment where all the band members onstage gathered around touring drummer Johnny Andrews’ drumkit and proceeded to play on it with their own sets of sticks, as well as a slide whistle solo from Ball. It was a truly unique and overall fun performance to say the least.


Sondre Lerche

Chris Hadfield


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