Photos by Els Durnford/Ottawa Showbox
On a cold Ottawa winter night (despite it being 10 degrees last Saturday), I had the warmest welcome to the friendly Centretown cafe venue of Pressed. Greeted by Outside I’m a Giant’s front man, I knew it the night was going to be warm and inviting. Naturally once inside I decided this warm night would be paired with comfort food. So Mac&Cheese is my natural choice. As I sat, scarfing down the dish in record time, I was greeted by more friendly faces from the band and promoters. Seriously, I felt so welcomed.
Jonathan Becker started the night off. He brought to the stage a nice mix of acoustic folk punk. His voice carried the carefully written lyrics that narrate stories within his songs.
I love when I can learn something at a show, or after a show in this case. I like to think I have been to my share of drone shows, but something about Veldrones set seemed different. I couldn’t put my finger on it, and desperately reached out to many asking what it was and why I wasn’t able to put two and two together. Thankfully, people put up with my millions of questions, and gave me a list of other artists to listen to. He is different in his sound, mainly because he sways from the norm in terms of what ‘traditional’ drone typically is.
He brings together a combination of his new wave electronic sound, and upon looking further into it, he describes what is ‘Post-Sokkie,’ connecting with his South African roots. This fusion is what made up this combination sound I hadn’t prepared myself for. I found this set contrasting to the rest of the night in many ways. The warmth of the room took a turn to distance as Velodrones sat in silence, sending his waves of intricate sound through the room. Behind him, his projected his theatrics onto the small space of wall between the venues red curtains. A dash cam of videos, driving down different highways. Giving physicality to the distance portrayed by the music.
Outside I’m a Giant began their set by turning off the main stage lights, opting for a small house lamp. This quickly brought us back to the warm intimate environment. Humming through songs accompanied by a violin and steel guitar they elaborated on where songs originated. Connecting with the room, but also to their fellow musicians, sharing stories of inspiration of how songs came from seeing each other play live. I sat mesmerized on the floor in front of the stage. Finding myself forgetting that I was needing photos. I took in the music, leaving my camera in my lap. They carried us through the rest of the night. Closing off the set explaining that they didn’t have merch, but had chocolate bars for a school fundraiser.