Photograph by Patrick Doyle
Day two at RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest and it is HOT. All the snacks I have responsibly packed and brought to the venue are melted. By 5:00 P.M. this has escalated to the “wow, I didn’t know the inside of my back of my ears could sweat” kind of hot. Get the picture? It’s hot.
As they all do here at Bluesfest, our day begins with all six of us on the back of an impressively resilient golf cart. We’re scouting for the perfect place to shoot a segment with Matt and settle in a nice spot by the gorgeous Ottawa River, which wraps itself around the Bluesfest site.
As we’re working, we see another golf cart careening down the pathway towards us. It stops and the driver smiles at us. It’s takes us a minute to fully recognize him in this unexpected context. It’s Dallas Green also known as City and Colour. “Our interview is at 6:30 right?” he asks. We confirm, and with a gentlemanlike tip of his hat he steps on the gas and heads off.
We end up interviewing him behind the stage where he will be performing later that night in the relentless heat, where Matt Wells does his best to shade Dallas from the sun’s blinding glare. Music journalist by day, cabana boy by early evening.
Dallas takes us on a tour of his trailer and we learn that he owns so many blue shirts it’s become a painful process trying to choose one to wear. Jokes aside, when Matt finishes the interview he tells me that it has “restored” him. Good music and the people who are passionate about it will do that to you.
We’ve got a few hours to relax and enjoy the festival and I decide to head over to the River Stage to watch Arkells, Hamilton’s greatest gift to indie rock, which proves to be the best decision I make all day (packing a chocolate bar in my purse on a 35-degree day, not so much). The 2012 Juno Award winners for “Group of the Year” quickly win the crowd over, an easy task considering that at least the first five rows are loyally singing along with every word.
Matt decides to watch the City and Colour show and tells me a story that makes me love Dallas Green even more than I already do. Dallas tells the crowd to put up their cameras and/or cell phones into the air. The massive crowd obliges. “Great,” he says, “now put them in your pocket.” He says for this next song – just this one – he wants everyone to forget about recording it or taking a photo of it. He wants them to be present in the moment and simply enjoy it. They do.
The sun has set and we all meet up at the Electro Stage, where Tommy Lee will be spinning with DJ Aero. Yes, that Tommy Lee. The legendary drummer from Mötley Crüe, spinning an electro set. We wait for over 45 minutes backstage after the show is done for Tommy to come out of his trailer but as we suspected would be the case, it was WELL worth the wait. He is full of energy, tells us some amazing stories and drops a lot of f-bombs. He very eloquently explains how spinning electronic music was a natural progression for him, we talk about his controversial Facebook post about hating when fans ask him for a photo, and he and Matt brainstorm ideas for kick ass children’s birthday parties. Such is an interview with Tommy Lee.
RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest goes until July 15. For the full schedule head to http://www.ottawabluesfest.ca and be sure to follow us on Twitter @MuchMore for real time coverage of all our #Bluesfest antics.
- Sarah Dawley
Photography by Patrick Doyle