ORC4G takes over the YMCA
All photos by Sara Osmanovic/Ottawa Showbox.
The Ottawa Rock Camp for Girls hosted an incredibly empowering event at the YMCA-YWCA last weekend featuring three local bands. They all took the stage with raw energy and incredibly unique voices that blew away the crowd – myself included. Not only that, but each differed in genre and style of performance.
The first act was a young musician by the name of Kae Rose. She performed as a solo artist and stunned the crowd with her talent. Her sweet voice melded with the power of her electric guitar and sorrowful lyrics really brought emotion into the room and swept people away with the messages behind each of her songs. Most were heart-breaking, and seemed to feature struggle but there was always the element of hope hidden behind each one of them. The small moments where she broke the character she depicted on stage were incredibly endearing moments. She wasn’t afraid to admit that she had messed up and if she ever did mid-song, she got right back on her feet without a moment’s hesitation just like a pro. The smile that graced her face as the crowd cheered for her was one that melted hearts.
Each of the songs that she performed were composed by her, save for one. She skilfully performed Ticket to Ride by The Beatles, her voice adding unique dimension to the song that I never even knew I needed to hear. The last song performed was a song she wrote called Drown. It captured everyone’s attention due to the hopeful message the song delivered using melancholic tone. There wasn’t a person in the room who wasn’t cheering for Kae by the end of her set. She was humble and kind, thanking the audience for listening to her performance after it was over and despite how reserved she seemed her vocals were spilled out with elegance yet intensity.
The second act was a band by the name of Distilled Water, who while having technical difficulties revealed that the name of the band was a split second decision. They were waiting for their turn to play a show at their school and flipping water bottles (a trend among youth) when they found out that they needed a band name in order to play the show. The first thing they had seen was the “distilled water” label on the plastic bottle and the name stuck with them to this day. Not only did they cover a wider range of genres, including a cover of a song by Modest Mouse, they threw in a jazz piece as their last song adding a saxophone solo into it.
What impressed me most wasn’t the steampunk-looking saxophone, but rather the band’s ability to switch instruments. They were missing their drummer so they improvised, having each member switch their instrument for the three songs they performed. The drummer turned into the bassist, the bassist into the drummer. Even the singer changed for each song. The guys in the band had a vast amount of talent that needed showcasing. They managed to effortlessly hit every note and did it with such skill and precision.
Miss McLeod had a stunning performance at the YMCA. Photo by Sara Osmanovic/Ottawa Showbox.
The final act was the one that surprised me the most. She was an eleven-year-old girl by the stage name Miss McLeod. As soon as she started to belt out the words to the song “Ex’s and Oh’s” by Elle King, I stared in awe – first at her, and then turned to Els and nothing but the words “holy crap” left my mouth in that moment. She agreed with an “oh my god.” We were both gobsmacked. This is no exaggeration. The MC had mentioned that she had praised Miss McLeod for her voice, but I was not at all prepared for what was to come out of the young girl’s mouth. Her voice was strong and powerful, never missing a single note, and always keeping to the beat. She managed to match up to Elle King’s pretty nicely, and although that isn’t the genre I’m usually into, I was incredibly astounded at the performance itself.
From sweet and melodic to the gritty and rough vocals of the second chorus, she had mastered it all. Not only was she capable of a ragged voice, but her vocal range was incredibly large for someone her age. Her vocals covered a broad range of musical stylings including the rock ballad “Sweet Child of Mine” by Gun’s ‘N Roses. Her vocal stylings were impressive, going from alto notes to high sopranos and even some falsetto’s that she managed to blend into the song naturally. She brought the house down with her performance. She made the audience feel included by getting three girls from the crowd to compete in an air guitar contest during Slash’s guitar solo featured in that song. Besides that, the sweetheart had brought candy and glow sticks (or as she put it – “magic wands”) with her. Her performances filled everyone’s hearts with happiness and love for her, and the crowd even got up and danced as opposed to staying seated as they had the rest of the show. This encouragement was seen through all the performances, but especially for this eleven year old wonder.
After all the excitement, the rambunctious crowd was thanked by the MC’s, and were asked to sit tight and listen for just a minute before the jam session was to begin. When everyone calmed down, they went on to say that they had suddenly lost a dear friend who had been part of the Ottawa music community for many years. It was evident on the faces of those around that it really hit home. The crowd that night was asked to donate to keep the programs running and to keep the music community in Ottawa blooming because it was something that would have been wanted by him.
All in all, the night was filled with a mixed bag of emotions, all evoking positivity and hope in the youth that showed up. Some were inspired to start creating and spark a change, form their own fierce girl rock bands, or even start with the small baby steps of picking up their first instrument. If you ever find yourself itching for inspiration, be sure to check out the Ottawa Rock Camp for Girls and their rad events. Even if some of the stylings may not be to your taste, I promise that you will not regret showing up and viewing the vast amount of talent that these young people possess.