Published Jul 16, 2012For the 18th edition of the Ottawa Bluesfest, organizers strived to move further away from the festival's namesake, bringing in a slew of electronic producers and DJs to grace the Main Stage (like Tiësto and Skrillex) and the newly christened Electro Stage (MSTRKRFT, Wolfgang Gartner). Ten days in, it's safe to say that this experiment has passed with dancing colours, as hundreds once again flocked to see the night's Electro Stage headliner, A-Trak.
Standing behind two turntables and a Mac, A-Trak, the Montreal DJ/designer/label boss, showed the crowd just how flawlessly he can execute a by-the-numbers DJ set. Rather than pandering with samples of well-known hip-hop verses and pop choruses, most of his set worked like a 90-minute mix, as faceless beats and rhythms collided gracefully with each other.
Ending with his most recognizable cuts -- his celebrated remix of Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Heads Will Roll" alongside two songs from Duck Sauce (a group he formed with Armand Van Helden), "Big Bad Wolf" and "Barbra Streisand" -- A-Trak proved it's the pure spontaneity of his set (whether real or manufactured) that allows fans and critics alike to remain enamoured by his persona.