Bluesfest review: Blue Rodeo vs Naughty By Nature

Colin Cripps (L), Jim Cuddy (C) and Greg Keelor (R) of Blue Rodeo on the City Stage because the RBC Bluesfest continues on the grounds of the Canadian War Museum at Lebreton Flats.

Wayne Cuddington / Postmedia

Concert overview

Blue Rodeo, Naughty By Nature

City Stage, RBC Ottawa Bluesfest

Reviewed Thursday

Thursday evening at RBC Ottawa Bluesfest made sense when it was first introduced, when the initially scheduled headliner was reggae-rapper Shaggy and 90s hiphop crew Naughty By Nature was set to open the main-stage present.

But after Shaggy pulled out and Blue Rodeo stepped in, it meant the hip hop crew turned the warm-up act for Canada’s beloved country-rock stalwarts, which was one thing of a head scratcher for everybody concerned.

Leave it to Bluesfest to give you one of the unlikely pop-music pairings conceivable, though credit score goes to each acts for making it work. After all, each rose to recognition within the ’90s, and it appears they share a sure, slim demographic of followers.

For Blue Rodeo, it was their 12th live performance on the pageant since 2001, and all the weather fell into place for yet one more satisfying evening. The climate was stunning, the sound was terrific, and the gang was a manageable measurement.

Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo on the City Stage because the RBC Bluesfest continues on the grounds of the Canadian War Museum at Lebreton Flats.

Wayne Cuddington /


Co-singer-songwriter Jim Cuddy greeted people like outdated pals: “So nice to be back at Bluesfest,” he mentioned, stepping into the spirit of the evening. “Don’t worry we’ll keep the hip hop going up here.”

Well, not precisely. Blue Rodeo adopted their standard roots-rock groove, however saved it upbeat and performed with a swagger, virtually like there was one thing to show.

And possibly there was.

After a listening to downside skilled by co-frontman Greg Keelor brought about some uncertainty within the Blue Rodeo camp this yr, the band could also be feeling the necessity to flex their musical muscle on this string of summer time dates.

Whatever the explanation, they performed remarkably nicely, and it was reassuring to see the complete lineup function at peak capability, cranking out shapely preparations of the acquainted songs that so many Canadians have grown up with.

The oft-requested ballad Five Days in May was a place to begin that drew everybody collectively, the plush model adorned by the guitar work of Colin Cripps. The outdated nugget, Diamond Mine, was prolonged with an intense and trippy keyboard interlude by keyboardist Michael Boguski, who additionally offered an accordion flourish to Bad Timing.

Mike Bugowski, left, Jimmy Bowskill, centre, and Greg Keelor, proper.

Wayne Cuddington /


Young Jimmy Bowskill, who’s a part-time member of the band when he’s not busy with Sheepdogs gigs, added a spread of textures to the songs, too, contributing mandolin, violin and pedal metal to the proceedings.

The contrasting, honey-and-grit voices of Cuddy and Keelor had been sturdy and true, they usually had some help from Ottawa singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards, who made a shock look singing backup vocals on Try and Lost Together within the encore, joined by a refrain of 1000’s within the viewers.

Earlier within the night, the New Jersey hip hop trio Naughty By Nature delivered a present that was designed to please a large viewers, kicking it off with a soft-rock singalong and a present of respect for elders born within the 1960s.

It was an simply digestible starting for an viewers that seemed to be principally Blue Rodeo followers seeing Treach, Vin Rock and DJ Kay Gee for the primary time. All three performers labored arduous to construct a celebration environment. Shots of liquor had been consumed and single women had been inspired to disrobe within the 25th-anniversary hiphop celebration.

Highlights included the old-school hits O.P.P. and Hip Hop Hooray, the beats getting heavier because the present progressed. References to Tupac, the Humpty Dance, Marty McFly, and A Tribe Called Quest had been tossed out alongside the way in which, a sequence of pop-culture tidbits that helped ease the transition between American hiphop and Cancon campfire tunes.

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