178a. Magic Chords: Ottawa Bluesfest 2013 (Pt. 1) with The Black Keys, Sharon Van Etten, Femi Kuti, Neko Case, Bahamas, and more, July 4-6

Ticket Festival Pass 2013 Corrected

“Summer’s here and the time is right for …”

178a. Magic Chords: Ottawa Bluesfest 2013 (Pt. 1) with The Black Keys, Sharon Van Etten, Femi Kuti, Neko Case, Bahamas, and more, July 4-6, LeBreton Flats, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The Black Keys, Femi Kuti
Thursday July 4, 2013

For over a decade now, Ottawa Bluesfest has been the musical centrepiece of my summer here in the National Capital Region — it’s one of the geography’s positives. Read the rest of this entry »

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177. We Rule the School: Belle & Sebastian, Saturday July 6, 2013

BLOG Bluesfest wristbands 2013

 This year’s much-used Ottawa Bluesfest full fest passes featuring their mascot, Leadbelly.  He waved at me on Day One.  I think he looks like a blue version of the Just For Laughs gremlin.

177. We Rule the School: Belle & Sebastian, Saturday July 6, 2013, Ottawa Bluesfest, LeBreton Flats, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, $19.50 (as part of 10-day pass)

I first heard of Belle & Sebastian shortly after their mid-‘90s emergence but didn’t get to actually hear them until just after the turn of this century.  A younger friend of ours from that time was over one night when Donovan came on a CD compilation that we were listening to.  “Who is this?,” he asked.  “It sounds like Belle & Sebastian.” Read the rest of this entry »


176. Lightning: Ottawa Jazz Festival 2013 with David Byrne & St. Vincent and Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, June 23 & 29

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My wristband for the 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival and Macaulay Culkin sporting an appropriate facial gesture. (All photos and scans by VA.)

176. Lightning: Ottawa Jazz Festival 2013 with David Byrne & St. Vincent, Sunday June 23 / Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Saturday June 29, Confederation Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, $165.00 for a (largely wasted) Festival Pass

Another year, another Ottawa Jazz Festival: more great music intersecting with frustrations.  In other words, business as usual.

This year’s J Fest appeared as a terrific proposition with a stellar line-up anchored by its biggest star, Ms. Aretha Franklin, along with the currently touring collaboration between ex-Talking Head David Byrne and the fabaroony St. Vincent aka Annie Clark.  Sweetness!  Not only that but Willie Nelson, The Bad Plus, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Mavis Staples, and a few other options. Read the rest of this entry »


175. I’m Your Man: Leonard Cohen, December 7, 2012

leonard-cohen-ottawa-2012-ticket

Yes, it was pricey.  Yes, it was worth it.

175. I’m Your Man: Leonard Cohen, Friday December 7, 2012, Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, $171.04 

“I love to speak with Leonard,
He’s a sportsman and a shepherd,
He’s a lazy bastard living in a suit”
from “Going Home” (2012)

I’ll cut right to the chase: this was one of the very best concerts I have ever seen in close to 40 years of gig-going.  In my all-time Top 20.  Earlier last year,  I lamented not having been able to see Cohen last time around in my 20 Performances I Missed posting, thinking he would not tour again when I wrote it only to find myself holding December tickets by the time I published the piece.

I had good reason to believe he would never tour again. Read the rest of this entry »


174. Walk Like A Giant: Neil Young and Crazy Horse with Patti Smith, November 24, 2012

Neil Patti 2012 Ottawa Ticket

Tonight’s the night … to walk like a giant.

174. Walk Like A Giant: Neil Young and Crazy Horse with Patti Smith, Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday November 24, 2012, $73.11.

You can never be sure which iteration of “Neil Young” you’re going to get when you see him live — or which segments of his fanbase will predominate at a given show.  This was my sixth time seeing Neil in four decades and most of those gigs have certainly been distinct from one another, with sometimes decidedly different patrons at the fore. Read the rest of this entry »


171. Chameleon/Comedian: Kathleen Edwards, February 9, 2012

Kathleen Edwards ticket Ottawa 2012 bronson centre variousartists

My 2012 concert-going began with this magnificent show from returning hometown hero, Kathleen Edwards.  (ALSO NOTE: With the posting of this entry, I am now caught up here on WordPress with all my concert postings from my Open Salon blog, although there are other types of entries on OS not yet available here).

171. Chameleon/Comedian: Kathleen Edwards with Hannah Georgas, Bronson Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Thursday February 9, 2012, $43.50.

Back around the turn of the century (isn’t it neat to be able to write that as a contemporary benchmark!), Cublet and I took a trip out to the country to meet up with his family for a barbeque. His sister had just moved into a farmhouse she was renting in tandem with a good friend of hers. “Her housemate is a musician,” Cublet told me. “Hmmm …,” I pondered, with a mix of interest and ambivalence.

Both responses derived from the same source, namely that I’ve known a lot of musicians in my life. Read the rest of this entry »


169. Do U Lie?: Prince, December 3, 2011

Prince Ticket for blog

One of the most frustrating experiences in 36 years of concert going.

169. Do U Lie?: Prince, Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday December 3, 2011, $165.24.

“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” — Johnny Rotten/Lydon at the end of the Sex Pistols’ final concert at the Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, January 14, 1978.

As someone who’s been an avid live concert-goer since seeing Roxy Music when I was 12 in early 1975, there’s only a handful of non-recent acts left who are still out there playing who I have yet to, and very much want to, see. Tom Waits. Leonard Cohen. Stevie Wonder. U2.

And, up until this December show, Prince would have been on that list.

… Although I’m not sure if I can actually say I have seen him following this exceedingly frustrating experience. Read the rest of this entry »