Published Jul 09, 2012Occupying one of the dozen or so afternoon slots dedicated to local acts, Ottawa's Philly Moves returned to the same Bluesfest side-stage they rocked in 2011. Backed by DJ So Nice on laptop and turntables, the duo of MC Tragic and hypeman Rockwell did a fine job of stirring the sun-comatose crowd, who mostly kept to the circumventing grassy hills and patio tables.
Integrating verses from Notorious B.I.G. and Dead Prez, Tragic proved to the onlookers just how baggy, amorphous and inviting his lyrical flow can be. But it wasn't until mid-performance, when Rockwell moved from drum machinist/hypeman to acoustic guitarist/backup singer, that Philly Moves really showed just what separates their herb from the underground hip-hop chaff. Sounding more Luciano than Sublime, Tragic and Rockwell focused extensively on the feel-good groove of each track, a refreshing departure from the insecurity-fuelled bravado so many Canadian rappers are coping at the moment.
By the end of their set, just as a few brave festivalgoers took to their feet, it became apparent that Philly Moves aren't interested in starting a hip-hop/roots reggae revolution as much as they're simply interested in the vibe of one.