Bluesfest Review: Jethro Tull on Friday night

RBC Ottawa Bluesfest
Ian Anderson presents Jethro Tull / The War on Drugs

It was a throwback of three differing types on Bluesfest’s important stage Friday with Ian Anderson celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jethro Tull, former teenyboppers Hanson marking their 25th 12 months, and The War on Drugs rocking out their classic heartland vibe.

While the venerable prog rockers of Jethro Tull is probably not the marquee headliner they have been of their hey-day, there have been no indicators of the lengthy lineups and crowd management complications festivalgoers endured on the competition’s opening night Thursday with Bryan Adams beneath the large lights.

Instead, the 70-year-old Anderson, not a crazy-eyed wild man, now balding and bespectacled, led his followers on a nostalgic journey by way of the heady, hazy ’60s with a near-chronological studying of the Jethro Tull catalogue.

He started, appropriately sufficient, with My Sunday Feeling, the opening monitor from Tull’s 1968 debut This Was.

“Nice to have you with us to celebrate 50 years of Jethro Tull, and almost 71 years of Ian Anderson, but let’s not talk about that,” he joked after Love Story.

The backdrop of outdated tv units, each broadcasting live performance footage from the band’s psychedelic freak-out peak, set the stage for Anderson to have fun “not only the repertoire, but the 36 former band members” who plied their commerce with the Tull.

The first of these to make a cameo on the large display was Jeffrey Hammond, who left the fold early to develop into an artist, returning to introduce his favorite tune (“Of course,”) A Song for Jeffrey.

Former guitarist Mick Abrahams beamed in on the large display to introduce Some Day the Sun Won’t Shone For You, a bluesy duet Anderson used to carry out with Abrahams of their first gigs at London’s swinging Marquee Club.

But it was Tull’s shock second guitarist who drew the most important cheer from the boomer-heavy crowd.

Anderson mentioned his association of Bach’s Bouree in E Minor, which the band carried out on the televised Rolling Stones Rock ‘n Roll Circus in 1968, featured the one and solely efficiency by the guitarist, who, following the gig, “Got on the train and went back to Birmingham to join his other band, called Earth. But they changed their name,” Anderson teased as Black Sabbath rocker Tony Iommi appeared onscreen to want Anderson effectively.

“He inspired me and I owe him a lot,” the legendary guitarist mentioned.

The cameos weren’t restricted to former bandmates, both, as Joe Bonamassa appeared to cue up A New Yesterday, a standout from 1969’s Stand Up, which Bonamassa would later cowl on his debut album. Slash dropped in through video, too, to introduce Tull’s largest hit, the epic Aqualung.

Anderson’s gruff vocals reached their peak on the riff-heavy rocker, although his vocals have been by no means the band’s defining trait.

His madcap strategy of vocalizing the notes as he breathes them by way of his flute, digging in to the woodwind and flailing with one leg perched, is actually distinctive and nonetheless unparalleled in rock.

And, wherever you stand on the deserves of prog rock, there may be no denying Jethro Tull is a band with a cinematic scope that at all times sought out textures exterior the common confines of rock.

That description might equally swimsuit The War on Drugs, although on a a lot totally different scale, because the Philly indie rockers made a grand return to Ottawa competition levels, warming up the City Stage with their slow-burning classic rock.

Opening with Eyes to the Wind from their breakout 2014 album Lost within the Dream, singer-guitarist Adam Granduciel and his shaggy-haired six-piece had followers captivated in a heat, fuzzy haze, with the tune’s acoustic guitars, Hammond organ and harmonica harkening again to Harvest-era Neil Young.

The opening strains of Pain, from final 12 months’s Grammy-winning A Deeper Understanding, have been ushered in with broad, sweeping brushstrokes of chords, Granduciel’s baritone voice awash in reverb and echoing throughout the sunbaked Lebreton Flats competition grounds.

Granduciel, his wild untamed mane flapping within the night breeze, paid his personal type of tribute to Jethro Tull, dedicating the synth-soaked Strangest Thing to the headliners.

With a visit by way of the stable wall of sound of Burning, the relentless beat of Red Eyes, and the electrical piano inflections of Knocked Down, Granduciel joked that he had instructed his keyboardist to dismantle the flute setting on his Mellotron “out of respect” for Anderson.

“I mean, what kind of person uses a Mellotron for a flute? The nerve,” he smirked.

No want when the actual factor is ready within the wings.

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