Fiftymen Arts Court, Ottawa ON, August 23

Fiftymen Arts Court, Ottawa ON, August 23
Photo: Kamara Morozuk
Long regarded as revered hometown music heroes, Fiftymen delivered their brand of kicking alt-country to a relatively tough crowd, who were largely anticipating the reunion of Toronto rockers Constantines that was to close out the evening. Nevertheless, the country rockers delivered a most enjoyable set of their crunchy, catchy material. Playing without fiddler and banjo player Keith Snyder, the band soldiered on in delivering a mix of straightforward rockers, slower songs of hurt and heartbreak and fast-paced rural recklessness.

The strength and character of vocalist J.J. Hardill's deep baritone floated throughout the festival grounds, cutting clean through the twin guitar chemistry of Mark Michaud and Todd Gibbon. The addition of keyboard player Dave Draves, who has been appearing in the line-up at many of the band's gigs this summer, was excellent in providing touches of organ and keys, taking some of the set's material to new heights.

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