Day 8 highlights from Ottawa Bluesfest

Our personal highlights from day eight of Ottawa Bluesfest, featuring Holy Fuck, Wolf Parade, and more
Photo by Matthew Wardell

Chilly and overcast, day eight of Ottawa Bluesfest for me opened at the Monster Energy Stage with Australian duo DZ Deathrays. Self-described as dance-punk, the duo had expanded into a touring trio—two guitars and one drum kit—to bring a thrashy, buzzing distortion to their sound. Taking material from their two previous albums, they ranged from heavy as hell to fun, danceable hard rock.

With a slightly overlapping schedule, I hurried to the Black Sheep Stage where Toronto-based 4 piece Holy Fuck were playing. Their dark and chunky electronica-rock sound made for a great live experience, whether people were dancing to themselves, headbanging, or even moshing—it all seemed to work. Washed out, pounding electronic beats were mixed with a complex drum and bass rhythm section, often piecing together a puzzle of a sound that, when finally built up, brought the house down. Much of their songs played were off their latest album, Congrats, which released this May; they also dipped into plenty of their older catalogue, stretching back to 2004. Highlight performance of the night for me.

From Montreal, Wolf Parade came on next, back at the Monster Stage. The sizable crowd that drew towards them was made almost entirely of young adults, which made for an excitable yet controlled vibe, one of the best crowds I was a part of at the festival. Drawing from three older albums and their recently self-released self-titled EP, Wolf Parade had a tight indie rock sound akin to Tokyo Police Club; the crowd loved it.

Closing at the Black Sheep Stage was Norwegian DJ/producer Cashmere Cat. Considering the same stage had been rocked all week by plenty of talented electronic groups, Cashmere Cat had a big shadow to step out of—and his unique blend of soft, intricate melodies and biting blast beats left their impression. The more challenging nature of his music payed off—ensnaring the young crowd at quieter points before getting them jumping at each drop. With a unique sound that’s been gaining international attention in the EDM scene, Cashmere Cat was a nice cap on the night.