Ottawa’s very own Aviv took the stage Thursday night at House of TARG. They brought a mellow and funky energy with them and spun intricately coloured patterns with their sound. The riffs they played took the form of laid-back jazzy licks with a rock kick to them. The sound soothed and threw you into a whirl of serenity all while it whisked you into its own world.
Guitar, in combination with they keyboard, accentuated the warmth in the songs while the rest of the instruments cooled it down. The two instruments would intertwine and paint the atmosphere deep orange and reds, the high notes accentuating yellows. The band played rhythmically and each beat fell into step with another. They created a dreamy soundscape through melodic keyboard playing backed with soft drumming.
The vocals were smooth as honey and held a certain lightness to them that’s hard to replicate. Backed by bandmates’ deeper and more ragged sounding voices, it expanded the atmosphere and opened up House of TARG to more than just the basement it was. Captivating, entrancing, and moving, the vocals set the mood and made it hard to turn away.
The drumming came in warm or cool, giving an R&B soul to the alternative rock sound held through the set. Even the crashing of the cymbals came in pools, and the muted snare and toms really added an atmospheric and summery feeling to the soundscape and threw you into a hot summer day to relished in.
The bass was muddled together with the melody and added some stability to the pieces. It thrummed in the background and added stability along with weightedness. Due to its smooth incorporation into each song, you might not have heard the bass but you felt it in your heart and chest
O Neptune started their set next and blew the crowd out of the water. The incredible vocal range paired with the sombre minor scales and careful progressions really set the tone for their set. Soft vocals, ranging from alto to soprano in smooth transitions proved warm in sharp contrast to each piece. They’re the first thing to draw you in, and they do so by the collar of your shirt.
The guitar playing started out soft but transitioned into something more intense, drawing clear blues influence the deeper into the songs it went. Rough and distorted, it called to the soul and splashed a deep green through the blues. You can see and hear this in the song “Take Me Away”. In the beginning, it was shaped into a more mellow R&B chord progression but took the form of something more intense, mellowing out only when it neared the end.
The drums followed along with the intensity, seemingly setting it and not only building it. They provided the backbeat but were not a discarded element or component despite not being in your face overpowering. Each beat tied together created a consistency to the pieces that would have been lacking had the drums not added their own fills. The drumming added a punctuality to the otherwise forlorn and dissonant sound.
The bass melted into each song, slow and progressive. It opened their sound wider open and created a deeper and multidimensional feeling to their music. This effect was achieved especially due to the disparity between the basslines and the powerful soprano vocals. Subtle and harder to hear, it still makes all the difference. Omitting the bassline would have taken away the magnitude the songs held.
Sparse keyboard playing added air and lightness to each piece. It complimented the vocal range throughout despite keeping a seemingly monotonous feeling to it. It was a key factor in the ensemble and tied everything together through its grace and humbleness. Not a single note made a big deal of itself however, it was prominent and hit hard.
No Hits at House of Targ
No Hits, Ottawa locals, are that summer indie band that brings warmth to even the coldest months. Through the banter, inclusiveness, and their intricate sound, they manage to make taking the stage seem like something they’ve done many times. The five performers display their evident friendship through minor interactions that only solidify their performance.
Though mostly having played covers, the originals they peddled out were captivating and got the crowd singing along. The guitars paired with the airy drumming played on the idea of aimlessly driving as the summer breeze whips your hair around your face. It meddled with greens, blues, and the warmth of dandelion yellows crackling through it all. The noted played were higher and the licks were ones that filled your heart to the brim.
The gentle notes struck on the keyboard backed the idea that it was lighthearted and they lifted the songs off the ground, giving an extra dimension to the songs. It was light and carefree, but conveyed and carried out the message of the wistful lyrics wordlessly despite not syncing up with the lyrics.
The bass accentuated the high notes struck on the guitars and pulled the soundscape together in an orange glow. Though faintly heard, it protruded as soon as the pace slowed, allowing it to have its own moment. Rather than drowning it out completely, the take on it feels like that of “Not My Girl” by Tokyo Police Club—present, essential, glowing—but you need to listen for it. When the sound broke, the bass line served to pull it back together.
The vocals captured the essence of the band in all the right ways. Passionate, sorrowful, and emotive, they moved the crowd, they moved me. The lyrics sung are a contrast to the instrumental and prove to be much more melancholy than the band sounds. Christiana and Keean both alternate between who takes the lead but both voices are unique and fit the respective individual perfectly. The emotions poured from each in their own way and painted the room with deep purples. Their voices were light and easy to listen to, smooth with a bit of a monotonous edge. It encased the sorrowful meaning behind the lyrics well.
When it comes down to it, these bands are ones that you don’t want to miss. Whether you need to laugh or cry, they cover the entire range of emotions you could experience. They’re bands you listen to at one in the morning and weep, or you listen to them and dance around your house. If that’s not your thing either, maybe you tap your toes to the beat. Either way, these individuals are a talent you wouldn’t want to miss seeing live. And if you so happen to have synesthesia, enjoy the colourful experience—it’s an unbelievable one.