The Weeknd LeBreton Flats, Ottawa ON July 15
Published Jul 16, 2012Modestly stepping out before hundreds of screeching, mostly female fans, the Weeknd helped close off the Ottawa Bluesfest's 12th and final day with a watertight 50-minute set.
Just over a year since the release of his debut mixtape, House of Balloons, Abel Tesfaye hit the co-headliner stage already a veteran festival performer, having gained rave reviews from performances at Coachella, Wireless and Primavera Sound. Accompanied by a small three-piece band, Tesfaye delivered a live show that resembled an R&B adaptation of '90s grunge. Looking blissful but staid behind his mic stand, the Weeknd demonstrated his live vocal competency, coming off just as animate on bangers like "House of Balloon/Glass Table Girls" as he did on late-night groover "Next."
Focusing chiefly on his pitch-perfect melodies and heady phrasings, a simple "thank you" or wave to the crowd proved enough to send the pulsating mass into a deafening roar. There seems to be a meekness to the Weeknd's live show that only gives his already-hefty catalogue an added dimension. Drake's tweets may have helped bring the masses, but it is Tesfaye's magnetism that'll keep them coming back.