RBC Bluesfest 2013: Killer Mike, El-P, Mariana’s Trench, & Solange (Photos)

Posted: July 17th, 2013

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Last Wednesday at RBC Bluesfest was like a marathon for us at Envy Magazine; Running from stage to stage in the blistering heat was worth it to see some of the awesome acts that day. Despite sound issues on the River Stage and having to combat fanatic teen girls at the Claridge Stage, the performers were incredible and gave it their all and then some.

Photos and reviews after the jump.

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The chain-wearing, politically-driven, ATL-born hip hop artist, Killer Mike, kicked off our day with one of the most likeable performances of the entire festival. Coming out on stage to a not-so-large crowd enticed the rapper to amp up the energy and thank those loyal fans who were there (multiple times). Killer Mike tore up his set on the river stage with hits like Big Boi’s “Thom Pettie”, “Reagan”, and “Ric Flair”. Technical difficulties from Trackstar lead to an interesting turn of events as it show turned into an a capella set. Fans embraced the mistake and appreciated Killer Mike’s ability to keep the show hype. The show ended up with a thanks to God and a hop into the crowd for a truly up close and personal performance. Indicative to the southern hospitality “stereotype”, the rapper from Georgia was easily one of the most humble and appreciative artists we’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.

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As the heat rose, next up on the River Stage was Brooklyn rapper El-Producto (aka El-P). He was previously brought up on stage during Killer Mike’s set to perform a few tracks from their collaborative Run the Jewels. Despite valiant efforts to re-amp the crowd after his predecessor, the weather wasn’t cooperating; it was too hot to fully take in and enjoy the set. Regardless, El-P gave a good performance and we hope to see him back here when the hottest part of his set will not be the sun.

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As hip hop fans, our favourite performance of the day was, surprisingly, Vancouver-based pop/punk band, Mariana’s Trench. Lead singer, Josh Ramsay, is quite a connoisseur of theatrics as we saw from his elaborate entrance where he appeared from a human-sized jack-in-the-box. The band opened the show with a fantastical story that lead into a ballad called “Ever After”. From experience, most pop/punk singers are not the best during live performances; this was NOT the case with Josh Ramsay who delightfully serenaded us with some favourites like “Cross My Heart” and “Desperate Measures” plus so many more. Before their “Good To You” performance, we were told that this was their first summer festival of the year and “it’s gonna be hard to top this one”. Incredible performers, ample amounts of energy, with an amazing voice and a band to match, this one was a definite crowd-pleaser.

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The last performance Envy Magazine covered for the day was from the beautiful Solange; from Texas heat to Ottawa sun. We were treated with an more unplugged version of her set due to some technical difficulties, but we weren’t complaining. With her gorgeous long hair that a reached to the back of her knees and her cute summer outfit, Solange was a beautiful sight to see with an even more beautiful voice to match. She performed tracks like “Don’t Let Me Down”, “Some Things Never F*cking Work” and “Losing You”. As the sun set along the river and Solange’s charming melodies played in the air, it was a perfect way to end our night at RBC Bluesfest.

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