Hidden Beats

We Are Story Tellers

Bluesfest Day 1 – 2021 brought both great music and lots of rain. 4 great acts took to the stage and brought everyone a little more fun!

Lauryn MacFarlane

Lauryn MacFarlane refused to comply with the small dreams of her small down. Four years ago she competed in the “She’s the one” competition in Ottawa. Although she did not win she gained the motivation she needed to be a headliner four years later. Lauryn’s set was filled with beautiful acoustics, revealing storytelling of her past, and fun banter bits. The audience could get a good sense of her character. She opened with her soft subtle single “You.” Then proceeded with her brand new single “Letting it out.” A fan favorite that she saved for last was “Friendly.” Her most sensual song by far which also featured her highest note. The whole set was just Lauryn and her guitar but she filled the space to make it feel like so much more.


Through emotional storytelling and strategic guitar picking, Aysanabee performed a heart and ear grasping set. He has set out on a mission to tell the legacy of the native people through his art. Opening with “Ego Death” was a thoughtful choice. The song really His upcoming album is based on the tales of his grandfather who was in the residential schools. He even played a sneak-peak single off the new album for fans to look forward to later. A fan favorite on the setlist “Near to Death” was accompanied by the true story of why Aysanabee started music in the first place. After a near-death experience far in the North, he swore if he had another chance he would follow his dreams. He booked a plane to Toronto 3 months later. Finally, Aysanabee originally did not plan to play “Ocean Breath,” but the next band Tokyo Police Club tagged him on Twitter with a special request which is how it made the set.

Tokyo Police Club

The crowd was overflowing as Tokyo Police Club hit the stage. They had a powerful opening in “Favourite Colour.” The entire set was high energy and fun with the members bouncing around the stage and interacting with fans. The next song came in even harder with “Hercules.” The guitars were blazing hot and heavy. You could tell that 18 months of no concerts gave TPC the jitters. They looked alive to be on stage again and gave the performance of a lifetime. Lastly, making the setlist, a song that had the entire crowd chanting along. “Wait Up” slowed down the pace by only a step. The group was lucky that the rain held off for most of their incredible performance. Many Ottawa residents remember seeing the band over the years grow slowly in popularity. Cannot help but to feel proud of what our own Canadian rock band has become.

Half Moon Run

Bluesfest Day 1 – 2021 – No rain or thunder or lightning could hinder this showstopping performance for a second. Half Moon Run is an adored Canadian group whose die-hard fans would walk through fire to see. Although the crowd was sitting soggy it was a fair trade for the band to be equally wet but having a blast anyways. The rain was put to good use adding an atmospheric element to the show. The way the lights bounced off the water droplets made the whole stage shimmer. One of the most notable things about Half Moon Run is their ability to make every song sound like the finale. I was scared they were done after two songs that’s how much heart they put into each performance. They opened with “Judgment” blending ceaselessly into “On & On.” Later, they brought in an entire orchestral string section to carry them into “I can’t figure it out” and “Unofferable.” They did 3 encore songs that the crowd would not permit them to leave until they played. “How come my body,” “Goodbye California,” and my personal favorite, “Full Circle.”
All the performances tonight at Bluesfest were unbelievable. Every artist left their heart and soul upon the stage. So amazing to finally have live music again. Hope to see them back real soon.

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