Bluesfest Day 6: Pup and Awolnation

It was a mixed bag of genres at Ottawa Bluesfest on Thursday July 14th, with many fans looking forward to country superstar Sam Hunt, whilst others preferred something a bit heavier.

Opening the day on the Monster Stage, Toronto punk rockers Pup put on a superbly energetic show with songs both old and new!

Despite being one of the earliest acts of the day, Pup was able to draw in a significant and extremely loyal crowd that was ecstatic to hear each and every word and note that the band had to offer. Amongst the most devoted fans in the pit were many members of Ottawa’s own ska-punk outfit, Suits ‘n Toques, sporting Pup shirts and inerasable grins that only comes with seeing one of your favourite bands.

Recently, the main vocalist of Pup, Stefan Babcock, was informed that he had acquired a cyst on his vocal chords and was going to have to give up singing due to hemorrhaging.

“The dream is over” the doctor told him. Words that would soon be immortalized as the title for the bands sophomore LP, released this past month.

However, Babcock refused to throw in the towel and after a long rest, he was back on the microphone as strong as ever and their Bluesfest performance was truly a testament to that.

Pup played many tracks off of the new record like “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will,” “DVP” (short for Don Valley Parkway) and “Doubts.” As well, many favourites from their debut self titled LP were played, like “Guilt Trip,” “Dark Days” and “Mabu.” a song about Babcock’s beloved family car of the same name.

However, the highlight of the show was certainly the encore, a first for Pup, in which they played a cover of Weezer’s “El Scorcho.”

After Pup cleared out and the crowd digested the awesomeness in which they just witnessed, Wakefield, Quebec based rockers Rebelle took the Monster stage to continue the high energy performances of the night.

Afterwards, the Claridge Homes main stage lit up with an electric performance by acclaimed American violinist Lindsey Stirling. Incorporating, backup dancers, elaborate stage sets, including graveyard scenery and some fantastic drum and synth work by her backing band. The crowd was continuously being blown away by the shere force that Stirling, her bandmates and dancers were able to provide to the quickly increasing crowd.

Stirling also unveiled some songs from her upcoming album, including an original track, “Something Wild” off of the newly released Pete’s Dragon film soundtrack.

Another highlight from the night was California rock group, Awolnation. The group took the Monster stage with more high energy and a pounding bass that could be heard from across the venue.

However, the night came to an unfortunate stutter as the storms rolled in which caused many of the main shows to be delayed including Sam Hunt, Jazz Cartier and the remainder of Awolnation’s set.

Though, the artists, workers and volunteers braved the short lived but torrential rain and the show went on as Sam hunt took the stage to the delight of the many country fans throughout Lebreton Flats.

Despite the less than favorable weather, the night ended on a high note for music fans of many genres and left a feeling of optimism for the remaining days of the festival.