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Jimmy Eat World
While remaining a league above the generation of emo-core torch-bearers they helped spawn, Jimmy Eat World continues to appeal to a broader audience with a blend of alternative rock and power pop that targets the heart as well as the head. The band's influence became huge with 1999's Clarity—an album that has since emerged as a landmark of the emo genre. The infectious single ‘The Middle’ went on to establish Jimmy Eat World as major figures in commercial rock.
The Black Keys
The Black Keys recently won three awards at the 55th annual Grammy Awards—Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Album. The celebrated duo also performed their hit song “Lonely Boy” with Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the live, televised awards ceremony. The awards culminate a highly successful series of years for the band, whose critically acclaimed Nonesuch album, El Camino, was recently certified RIAA Platinum. Internationally, the record is Gold in Belgium, Spain and Holland; Platinum in Ireland, France and the UK; and double Platinum in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In 2010, the duo won three Grammy Awards for their breakout album, Brothers.
The Black Keys will continue to tour throughout 2013, including a headlining appearance at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa, on July 4. Touring highlights over the past year include sold-out shows at Chicago’s United Center and DC’s Verizon Center; two nights at New York’s Madison Square Garden; and headlining appearances at numerous marquee festivals. They have also toured extensively overseas this year, including two sold out shows at the O2 Arena in London. Additionally, on December 15, the duo joined The Rolling Stones on stage for their final “50 and Counting” concert. The special “One More Shot” event was telecast live via pay-per-view and streamed online.
MTV called a recent live performance “a set of searing, hard-riffing rock . . . that had the 60,000 who packed Central Park’s Great Lawn losing their collective minds,” while Rolling Stone calls this year’s series of shows “their biggest, baddest tour ever.”
- Jimmy Eat World
The Split are the newest and most expressive original soul group to hit Ottawa's live music scene in recent time They are a hard-hitting, bass driven, neo-soul band. 2013 is the real debut for these fellas. After a few years of fine-tuning their sound, the Split are now recording. Be prepared for a smash single, an unstoppable EP, and a full-length LP that will blow your mind. They have been dropping their soon-to-be hits such as, “Doo Wop”, “Spaceship”, “Tried To Be Your Man”, and “I Can’t Stand It!”, all over the region to sold out crowds busting their feet all night long. If you have not yet seen the Split in the flesh, you need to get out of your house and find them right now. Their live performances are an experience that will take you to a better place, cleanse your soul, and free your mind.
Grand Funk Railroad
“You cannot talk about rock in the 1970s without talking about Grand Funk Railroad!” ~ David Fricke, Rolling Stone Magazine
Originating from Flint, Michigan in 1969, this top selling American rock group of the '70s is “COMIN’ TO YOUR TOWN TO HELP YOU PARTY IT DOWN." Known as “The American Band," the high-energy five-piece group, includes original founding members Don Brewer (vocals and drums, writer and singer of the multi-million selling hit, We’re An American Band) and bassist Mel Schacher, “The God Of Thunder." Joining Don and Mel are a collection of true All Stars. Singer Max Carl is a rock veteran from 38 Special. Don refers to Max as “the best blue-eyed soul singer on the planet." Lead guitarist Bruce Kulick is best known for his 12 years with KISS and also has credits with Michael Bolton, Meatloaf and Billy Squier. (KISS members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were influenced early on by Grand Funk.) Keyboardist Tim Cashion, affectionately called “Dr. Tim," has credits that include stints with Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band and English soul man Robert Palmer.
This multi-talented band carries on the tradition of Grand Funk hits and creates a new chapter in the legacy of Grand Funk Railroad. In July of 2011, GFR drew 25,000 people to their Molson Canal Series Concert outside Buffalo, and they continue to draw fans young and old wherever they play. Grand Funk’s 2012 tour was a huge success and now, with the group’s 2013 tour, seasoned Grand Funk lovers and contemporary rock fans discovering the group for the first time will be able to celebrate with GRAND FUNK RAILROAD at this year's RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa!
- The Split
The son of Afro-beat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Femi Kuti helped introduce a percussive blend of jazz and funk music to the international masses beginning in the mid-'90s. After his father's death in 1997, Femi suddenly found himself the subject of immense attention. He responded by signing with MCA and embarking on a solo career, beginning with the release of 'Shoki Shoki', which received tremendous critical acclaim from a number of esteemed publications like the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Vibe. This led to a major breakthrough into the U.S. mainstream.
In 2001, Femi returned with, 'Fight to Win', and toured the States with Jane's Addiction, broadening his growing mainstream audience. Part of his ongoing crossover effort meant aligning himself closer to hip-hop and its gigantic audience. 'Fight to Win' featured a number of respected rap artists like Mos Def and Common.
In 2008, Femi re-emerged with 'Day by Day', a definitive album that helped establish Femi as a true original with a unique style. His 2011 effort ‘Africa for Africa’ was a well received mix of new songs and older material in new recordings.
More than just a simple musician, this composer has become a true African Ambassador, in the most honourable sense. Seeing Femi Kuti live at the RBC Bluesfest is guaranteed to result in a cherished memory for any fan of great music, regardless of their preferred genre.
The Cat Empire
Renowned Melbourne band The Cat Empire return with their brand new album ‘Steal The Light’. Their first fully independent worldwide release, the record will be out 10th May 2013 on Two Shoes Records through Inertia.
The album began its conception in the European summer of 2011, when vocalist Felix Riebl was in Athens working on the opening and closing ceremonies of the Special Olympics. “I was living in a two-star lodge in Monastiraki and wrote many early ideas on a small keyboard in that room, with a view to the white city haze, the riots, the strange furniture shops, and the Acropolis”.
The ideas continued to germinate following a tour of the USA, when Felix fulfilled a long time dream and attended the New Orleans Jazz Festival. “What started as a planned week turned into two months—I was captivated by the mystery of the city, its extraordinary history, its Caribbean colours and European architecture, it’s relentless and deep music.
“It brought me back to a feeling I had at the very beginning of my career with The Cat Empire. There was also something wild about the place—the dancing, the ghosts, the sadness and celebrations in the old haunted streets. I loved being trapped there, and many of the melodies started there.”
The resulting album, ‘Steal The Light’, comes after more than ten exhilarating years together, which has seen the six-piece traverse the musical landscape to forge a signature sound that transcends genre by virtue of its pure improvised energy. Following the breakout, triple platinum-selling success of their first major release in 2003, The Cat Empire watch descriptions of their sound grow longer and longer—jazz/reggae/funk/Latin/gypsy/hip-hop, and so on—as they would jump from one genre to the next, many times within a single song. It didn’t matter what it was, as long as people were dancing. Yet, on ‘Steal The Light’, the band’s music grows out of its ‘multi-genre’ concept into something wilder; bringing together both melody and rhythm, harnessing a feeling of beautiful chaos, ancient ritual and glorious colour, all caught up in the magic of the beat.
Alex Clare was born and bred in south-east London and raised on his dad’s bebop records. “There was nothing much to do back then, other than skate, smoke weed, and play in bands,” he says. Alex had begun listening to voodoo blues of Dr John and the street corner harmonies of Snooks Eaglin. “Jazz and blues and soul were a comfort to me,” he says. “I started to play open-mic nights, but I never had the patience to learn someone else’s music. I tend to just take the chords, make a mess of them, then write a new song!”
These new songs were more personal and pointed. And when the new demos found their way to Island Records, two weeks later a deal was on the table. Shortly afterwards Alex was on his way to New Orleans, where he got together with producers Diplo & Switch (responsible for the Jamaican dancehall project Major Lazer and M.I.A.’s Paper Plane – among many others). The single 'Up All Night' and album track 'Tight Rope' were born in those sessions.
After New Orleans there were trips to Jamaica and LA to write more and record. What Alex came back with is ‘The Lateness of the Hour’, an album that’s in touch with his beloved soul and jazz as well as opening itself up to funk and jungle and punk rock and dub-step. “I love the feel of the bass. I've always preferred writing on my own in the past, but when you work with someone like Diplo and Switch—people who bring ideas to the table and vibe off what you do, while you’re vibing off what they do—it means you create work that’s more balanced and moving.
“I love playing live too,” he adds. “Touring and playing every night would be the dream for me.” Well, touring he is . . . and that tour has a stop in Ottawa at the RBC Bluesfest . . . don’t miss it!
- Femi Kuti
Afire Jurvanen isn’t from the Bahamas. He’s a Finnish-Canadian from Barrie—a working class town in rural Ontario. But his chosen moniker is fitting. Since 2009 he’s been making music under the name Bahamas—writing songs about sunsets, love affairs, and making out with crooked smiles. Through simple arrangements, he charts an escape route from the snow-belt to the coral reefs. His new album, ‘Barchords’, was released on February 7, 2012 to critical praise:
"Barchords is a gorgeous, full-bodied recording that revels in spare but intensely flavourful textures. It’s that delightfully rare kind of record that commands an instant replay." ~ Los Angeles Times
“A reserved yet melodically rewarding exploration of relationships and heartache . . .” ~ The New Yorker
"A sublime, incomparable leading man with a soulful, sweet and stylish touch in his songwriting . . ." ~ Globe and Mail
“Barchords is a work of impeccably concise and considered song craft.” ~ Toronto Star
DVBBS is an electro/house duo from Toronto, Canada. Alex & Chris Andre write and produce bangers that are sure to keep the party going. Their unique style helped them quickly build a loyal fan-base, which in turn led to the release of their EP ‘Initio’ in March, 2012.
Adventure Club is Montreal dub-step duo, Christian Srigley and Leighton James. Formed as a hardcore pop-punk band, they later decided to move onto the more electronic sound of dub-step. The first song to put the duo on the map was their remix of the song 'Daisy' by the American alt-rock band Brand New. Some of their major influences include Tiesto, Flux Pavillion, Bring Me the Horizon and Skrillex. The duo's signature sound includes high-pitched female vocals with electronic sounds and heavy drops. Through online social network sites, Adventure Club has reached new levels of exposure and got their first music video on the UKF Dubstep's YouTube channel. As of November 2012, the remix of ‘Everything to Me’ by Lips had over 1.5 million views.
Adventure Club have toured across North America, as well as parts of Europe and Australia and have played various music festivals including the American Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, Nevada. The duo's remix of 'Crave You' by the Flight Facilities was featured in the episode, Restraint (2012), of the MTV television series Teen Wolf.
With nine-albums to his name and a few hundred live performances every year for almost a decade, singer-songwriter Brock Zeman is well-established as one of the Ottawa Valley's hardest working musicians—all of this before the age of 30. He's also highly regarded, having earned praise from critics across the country. Exclaim! Magazine says Zeman "is a songwriter worth hearing over and over again." CKUA hails Zeman's work as "intelligent, tuneful, heart-felt songs served up with an authentic but understated style", and the KW Record says that "Zeman doesn't surrender an inch to any Texas singer/songwriter you care to name. Closer to home, he has the chops to join the likes of Fred Eaglesmith on the lonesome outskirts of town after the street lights come on."
Come and see Brock perform this summer—closer to home—at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa.
Steve Hill (Solo) - 2013 Juno Award Nominee
Steve Hill got an early start as a professional guitar player at the age of 16. By the time he was 20 he was already doing more than 200 gigs a year, which lead to the success of his first album in 1997. The album was voted Best Canadian Debut Recording by Vancouver’s Real Blues Magazine, who also proclaimed Hill to be the best young Blues guitar player in North America!
Fast-forward to 2009, when Steve Hill pursued his musical evolution through a new project, Steve Hill & The Majestiks, and the release of ‘The Damage Done’. Released by Sony Music in Europe, the album was given four stars out of five by prestigious magazines Rock & Folk and Les Inrocks.
In 2012, Hill revisited the blues with the album ‘Solo Recordings Volume 1’. Probably his rawest album ever, it features Hill not only on guitar and vocals, but also on bass drum, hi-hat, shakers and whatever he can do with his feet at the same time that he plays guitar and sings. Recorded live in the studio (with no overdubs), it’s the sound of a man that has lived through a lot. 15 years after his first album, you can hear and feel a maturity that can only exist through experience.
With 'Solo Recordings Volume 1', Steve Hill proves once and for all that he is one of the best guitar players in North America, and a great singer-songwriter as well.
“The meanest guitar player in Canada” ~ BB Burnett / The Hour
- Brock Zeman