House of PainT UrbanArtFest featuring Afrika Bambaataa, Big Daddy Kane, Zaki Ibrahim George Dunbar Bridge, Ottawa ON, September 13

House of PainT UrbanArtFest featuring Afrika Bambaataa, Big Daddy Kane, Zaki Ibrahim George Dunbar Bridge, Ottawa ON, September 13
Photo: James Park/House of PainT
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Pulling together graffiti arts, DJ culture, discussion panels and music over 5 days, House of PainT may stand as the hippest, smartest and most industrious festival in the Capital. Celebrating their 10th anniversary, House of PainT's popular SOUND CLASH: Concert Under the Bridge featured a solid line-up of old school and new faces. Dipping down to seven degrees, hundreds of bundled-up backpackers gathered under the tagged and spraypainted George Dunbar Bridge to watch hip hop sovereigns Big Daddy Kane and Afrika Bambaataa.

Following performances from Toronto conscious rap revivalists Babylon Warchild and Gatineau lyricist D-Track, Iraqi-Canadian hip hop artist the Narcicyst hit the stage with Montreal chanteuse Meryem Saci for a gorgeous set of stylish and soulful music. With her first appearance since being named to the Polaris Prize shortlist, Zaki Ibrahim followed up, showing the crowd just how confident and alluring a performer she's become while kinetically navigating through 30 minutes of world-weary R&B.

Returning to Ottawa after his triumphant 2008 club date, Big Daddy Kane took to the stage looking youthful and vibrant in an army-green blazer. Delivering a tight show, the Golden Age rapper relied on raw charisma and technique, commanding the fervent festival-goers to wave their hands and sing along before launching himself into the crowd to end his kingmaking performance.

Standing behind a table of DJ equipment, the rather stoic Afrika Bambaataa, joined onstage by his hype man and rapper, gave the audience a by-the-books DJ set that saw the hip hop pioneer bob his head and periodically grin while eschewing his original material (except for a 20 second mix of "Planet Rock") for pre-recorded tracks from the Notorious B.I.G., Michael Jackson and Kelis. Akin to seeing the Sex Pistols cover Green Day and Fall Out Boy songs, Bambaataa's vanilla show and staid stage presence capped off an otherwise captivating and energy-inducing night.