Though it was a much quieter day for the world of indie and alternative music, the latest day of RBC Ottawa Bluesfest brought us some great sun and one contagious bundle of talent. As Noname wowed a crowd of mostly Blue Rodeo fans, she quickly found that her music and attitude was enough to win over just about anyone.
With her glowing backdrop and carefree energy, Noname walked onto the stage and kept the crowd at ease. Though her early slot on such a major stage for the night meant many of the crowd were there for Blue Rodeo, her and her band’s wicked talent and personalities won them over rapidly, which is a genre jump worth noting. As Noname launched into songs like “Diddy Bop” early on in her set, she would swap between her subdued rapping and chatting up the crowd like as if both were as natural as breathing. Her banter with the crowd was so natural, it would honestly feel at times like a stand-up set with a jazz band playing in the background. Even little songs like “Reality Check” had a natural back and forth cadence with the crowd that made it easy for Noname to have the crowd swaying along.
Though you could certainly hear and see the die-hard fans across the early crowd, Noname put her work in to get the crowd clapping and singing back and forth with her. One moment she even stopped, saying “Let’s start over, I think a fly just flew down my throat.” Not letting this slow down her set, she quickly taught the crowd a fun call-and-response for her song, and laughed along with them as they caught onto the grooves. As her ridiculously smooth jazz crew played her off, she ran back on realizing she had misread the time. Launching into “Yesterday” to the cheers of the once dismayed crowd she rounded out her set with the crowd singing along. Though with the crowd now won over no matter who they were initially there to see, it was a little disheartening to see her leave with 15 minutes of set time left over.
Words by Owen Maxwell