Tangled up in blues

Friday was a night for big stages. And there shoulda been more. The day's Bluesfest schedule was so highly ambitious, there really was not room for it all.

Audrey, Ottawa's biggest pop fan, insisted that INXS, on the MBNA, was the act to see, and the IO, Conch, and Painted Stick were mere tails in the wake of her irresistable comet. INXS had crisp sound, crisp playing, crisp packaging -- consumate pros. Singer JD Fortune is still growing into his new role (Duuude! Stop asking the crowd if they're having a good time! They are. And the near-constant F-bomb? Adds little if anything to your street cred. You can sing, already.) but he and the band know what they're doing.

Earlier, on the Rogers, some of us enjoyed Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, music jazzily elastic, undefinable, wierd, lovely and utterly compelling. And better than her discs. Live, you can see the musical gestalt and feel Edie. She talked about finding the end of a double rainbow in Central Park, one day with her kids. Presumably her husband, Paul Simon (Yes, that Paul Simon) was there as well. They didn't find any gold, but what the hey. They've both got gold records.

The indy hipsters probably wished their preferred acts had gotten bigger stages -- the vast crowd for breathless Newmarket power-post-pop-punk band Tokyo Police Club gridlocked the Black Sheep venue completely, then kept coming. They didn't quite flatten a security guard that vainly tried to stop them during the mob scene at the gate. But the indy hipster crowd is very good at giving rent-a-cops the collective "Huh? You mean moi?" look, and keeping right on going. Great band, terrific fast tunes, fully worthy of the buzz. Then hipsters moved on to a similarly packed scene at the River Stage to watch local alt-conceptual darlings, Metric. And probably hold their breaths some more.

Dinosaur rockers were also out in full force, spilling in to the Black Sheep for a reconstituted Ten Years After as hipsters fled in droves. Coyote ventured there briefly, despite Audrey's strong persuasive powers, but soon evacuated, pointy ears near bleeding from the sound pressure. When last seen, he was holding his head in his paws and (very quietly) yowling, 'Now I know what killed all the dinosaurs to extinctedness...'

Photos, Top(ish) to bottom(ish): Edie Brickell channels Steve Tyler - in a good way; INXS and JD Fortune cop major rawk star attitude; Tokyo Police Club bassist and singer David Monks; Ten Years After bassist Leo Lyons and 'new' guitarist/vocalist Joe Gooch, amid lotsa smoke and lights and noise.

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