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Who to see at this year’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival

Bahamas
Listen To: “Lost in the Light”
Performance: Wednesday, Sept. 10, 9 p.m.

Following the release of his third album, Bahamas is Afie, Afie Jurvanen is embarking on an extensive tour that will carry him through North America and Europe. Under the alias “Bahamas,” Afie has made a name for himself as a musician that draws upon many genres and influences. Female vocals regularly accompany his voice on songs with guitars and drums that are usually restrained. Every once in a while, though, Jurvanen shows that his self-taught guitar skills hold up just fine.

Alvvays
Listen To: “Archie, Marry Me”
Performance: Thursday, Sept. 11, 8 p.m.

Toronto’s Alvvays are riding high since the release of their debut self-titled album, which came out this summer. Rolling Stone called it an “indie-pop wonder” and Pitchfork described it as giving a feeling of “raw-nerved unrest.” The album has the dream pop and mellow surf rock feel of the ‘60s but in a modern incarnation. “Like Bloc Party a few years back, we get the chance to present one of the hottest buzz bands in North American music…” said Harvest music director Brent Staeben. “It’s going to be a very memorable night for Harvest audiences.”

The Arkells
Listen To: “Come to Light”
Performance: Thursday, Sept. 11, 8 p.m.

Performing the same night and at the same venue as Alvvays will be the Arkells. The Hamilton band have been together since 2006 and will most likely be playing a lot of songs from their most recent album, High Noon, which came out on Aug. 6. The Arkells are primarily known as a rock band, and though High Noon is similar to their other albums, there is certainly a level of progression with new sounds and confidence the band now has.

Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun
Listen To: “Budget Shoes”
Performance: Friday, Sept. 12, 6 p.m.

The Tragically Hip’s front man Gord Downie and Toronto band The Sadies got together this year to put out an impressive 10-song LP. “The project’s namesake, ‘The Conquering Sun,’ fuses The Sadies’ rusted psychedelia with Downie’s humble, volatile wail,” states the band’s website. Downie’s storytelling ability and style will never change, but behind him the music is at times country, classic rock, blues or indie. The group has been getting rave reviews for their shows, and they are enjoying having to prove themselves as a new band. “This is entirely a challenge, which is what every band that comes out of the garage enjoys — that fear that they might hate our guts,” said Downie in a recent interview with The Star.

Joel Plaskett Emergency
Listen To: “Time Flies”
Performance: Saturday, Sept. 13, 8 p.m.

There is a reason that Joel Plaskett Emergency has become a fan favourite and regular guest at Harvest. The three-man band’s discography is filled with quirky, catchy songs that go along with their personalities, which come out during live performances. When The Guardian asked about performing at a similar jazz festival in P.E.I. this summer, Plaskett spoke about playing at a festival even if he doesn’t specifically fit the genre. “Music genres are constantly evolving. This is especially true in the field of jazz, which has, in recent decades, incorporated influences from musical styles around the world. Blues has been transformed by the rock movement that it did so much to create.”

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