Bluesfest Review: Dave Matthews Band — still a gifted songwriter with much to say

Dave Matthews Band performs on the RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, July 11, 2018.

Jean Levac / Postmedia News

RBC Ottawa Bluesfest
Dave Matthews Band

Still cooling off from the hearth and fury of the Foo Fighters the night time earlier than, Bluesfest returned to its lazy, hazy summer time methods Wednesday with the Dave Matthews Band taking on the tie-dyed pageant grounds.

The venerable Virginia-based jam-band made their long-awaited pageant debut — their native contingent of loyal followers petitioned Bluesfest for years to provide DMB an invite — with an epic set of groovy jams showcasing every bandmate’s supreme musicianship.

It’s been awhile because the band performed the capital. Their mammoth excursions as soon as made the previous Corel Centre a common cease throughout their late-90s hey-day, and native music-lovers still discuss their 1996 membership present at a packed Barrymore’s.

Matthews and Co. made up for the prolonged absence (their final present right here was in 2002), with a two-and-a-half hour set stacked with crowd-pleasing favourites from an in depth repertoire.

“It’s been a long time, we’re very, very grateful,” the affable Matthews stated by means of introduction. “I really like visiting this very civilized nation to the north of the one I name residence. So much so, every now and then I’ve questioned about shifting up right here.

“I’ve one query although: If I moved up right here with my spouse and youngsters would you separate us? I didn’t assume so,” he stated as the gang jeered, whereas Matthews pointed to his clear view of the Peace Tower. “What a civilized and beautiful country.”

With the gang swelling, the band broke out a gem for its opener with So Much To Say, the 1996 single that made Matthews a family identify, and one thing of the clean-cut face of the bearded jam-band motion. The tune’s rapid-fire lyrics confirmed a gifted songwriter with much certainly to say when it first broke onto radio waves.

But whereas different heavyweights could have fallen behind the instances, DMB not solely survived the period, they preserve their followers beneath a spell by creating extra of the identical magic on their studio efforts as they do of their reside performances.

Their newest, and ninth studio album Come Tomorrow, peaked at primary after its launch in June, proving once more the band’s endurance and crossover attraction.

Part of that has at all times been due to Matthew’s entrance man attraction, on full show at centre stage because the band began up the brand new tune That Girl is You from the newest document, Matthews strumming his ever-present acoustic, his falsetto hovering above the mattress of percussion and stinging guitar traces.

And Matthews has at all times surrounded himself with the best of gamers to help his songwriting, the band’s membership now swelled to a seven-piece after the departure of founding member and violinist Boyd Tinsley.

Tinsley’s flashy presence was missed most dearly on set items like Jimi Thing and Ants Marching, the place rather than his traditional flame-thrower fiddling, the band had trumpeter Rashawn Ross and sax-man Jeff Coffin buying and selling licks with keyboardist Buddy Strong and longtime Matthews collaborator Tim Reynolds on electrical guitar.

But the star of the present for a lot of within the crowd was the powerhouse drumming of Carter Beauford, navigating an unlimited package and weaving intricate splashes of cymbals and percussion, or pounding out a livid double-kick beat.

The interaction between Beauford and Matthews was near-telepathic on the classic One Sweet World, from a assortment of their earliest recordings launched again in 1993.

Matthews snarling voice was solely amplified by Beauford’s thunderous beat on Don’t Drink the Water, they usually continued to play off one another’s intersecting rhythms on the funky What Would You Say, from their 1994 smash Under the Table and Dreaming, now serving as a launching pad for Coffin and his searing sax.

The band touched on its complete catalogue, with hits Crash and fan-favourite Ants Marching blended with road-tested tunes from their new album.

Again and Again and Samurai Cop have been among the many better of the brand new batch, served up earlier than breaking into a midset spotlight with a ripping cowl of Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer.

There are few who can tackle such a daunting tune, however DMB shot it into the stratosphere. And they have been simply getting warmed up.

Bluesfest continues with pageant favourites Blue Rodeo Thursday.

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