Sunday, July 8, 2007

Sarah Harmer at Bluesfest

Unfortunately, what I remember most vividly about Sarah Harmer's concert was the guy sitting beside me being a total jerk. He complained so often and belligerently about how this wasn’t the blues, that my crew had to get up in the middle of the lawn chairs section (the horror!) and move camp to another area between the sea of sitting folks. Trust me, you don’t do that at Ottawa Bluesfest without a very serious reason. I was glad to escape the drunken tyrant who seemed to be ruining things for everyone around him, but I can’t say that I enjoyed the concert much more afterwards.

I’m a pretty big Sarah Harmer fan, but I think she’d be much better to see in a smaller venue. There’s something about her slow-moving pseudo folk-country that has the potential to lull one slowly to sleep in the expanse of a cavernous field. Even her more rocking songs came out mellowed-out quite considerably, which was too bad, because I had high hopes. I think having Harmer on the same bill as Micheal Franti & Spearhead and Manu Chao was a mistake. I could’ve used someone to get me pumped for the big dance party to come, but Harmer was not that person.

Don’t get me wrong, Harmer’s a great songwriter and talented vocalist, this came out clearly last night. But she’s not an opener for the acts who were following. I’ll go see her again, but not at a big outdoor stage like this, unless of course it’s a folk fest where she fits the bill more solidly.

But can I say one more thing? Her background vocalist rocked. At times she stole the show, her sweet voice could be felt miles away. Will you come sing for me?