Shannon Rose & the Thorns Wins Music Video of the Year at OIFF
A big congratulations to RiverMist Productions for their excellent video of Shannon Rose & the Thorns’ song Little Bird.
The video, which can be viewed below, won the 4th Annual Ottawa International Film Festival’s ‘Music Video Challenge’. It is a beautifully peaceful and soothing video which reflects the song perfectly. I enjoy the simplicity of the shots, no clutter, just wonderful, natural scenery complementing Shannon’s beautiful voice. Well done to everyone involved!
The winner was announced Sunday night at the Mansion Nightclub in Ottawa. The judging panel for the award was comprised of industry experts from print, radio and film. These included The Bear 106.9FM radio hosts McCord & Kaz, Ottawa Citizen Arts Editor Peter Simpson, and celebrated digital filmmaker and illustrator Bradley Cayford.
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/73658517 w=500&h=280]
Dialoog’s New Stomping Grounds, October’s Wednesdays @ Café Nostalgica
Students and patrons of the arts should not miss what’s going down at Café Nostalgica every Wednesday this month. That’s tomorrow! Arguably the best music schools in North America, Juilliard & Berklee, have sent us a gift. With local label Pop Drone as benefactor, Dutch artists Michael Powell & Yuri Bakker are the new unofficial artists-in-residency of Ottawa U. They going to devote their time here to the diffusion & creation of an electronic sound, a mash-up of dozens of genres, and we are lucky enough to get to watch. Are they here to set up a dialoog? Oho, yes indeed.
The two-man team played their first double set last Wednesday, with Yuri on keyboard & Michael on drums. It was a traditional arrangement, the only sound I couldn’t place was coming from a spiral trash that kept hitting the floor. The sound silenced the patrons and shooed away the third-years who were wondering why the country music on the intercom ended. I think the café is still looking for its new identity because what felt like a school cafeteria suddenly became a lounge.
Its doors reopened after almost two years, the Nostalg we once knew is gone. The uneven floors and old radiators where you’d place your mitts in the winter have been replaced by the three-storied headquarters of the GSAÉD. This has always been the base for Ottawa U’s grad association but now the facelift will actually inspire nostalgia in grads. Where once stood a public house with grime & charm now stands a postmodern block building. Perhaps those who will venture back to their old stomping grounds for the fall open house next week will see it and gasp, but if they’re there on a Wednesday they’ll witness the place’s potential.
In the past, artists-in-residency were young internationals offered a chance to explore new artistic communities and hone their craft in any level of privacy. Dialoog have opted for becoming a part of this community and exploring music on stage. As Michael described it for me: “The idea of Dialoog has always been to incorporate all musical styles we enjoy into one show. I quite like the idea of taking the rhythms, sounds and the “force” of electronic music (be it hip hop, dub step, or anything else) and mixing it with the improvised tradition of jazz music.”
I was expecting to hear something similar to “That’s Confusing” (my favourite of their online tracks) but I’ve since learned that live shows with Dialoog are much jazzier in creative improvisation. I’ve been assured no two shows this October will be the same. Alex Millaire of local band Moonfruits will be tweaking the stage throughout the month, as he did between the sets. It will be worth it to see the evolution of the venue, just as it is to see the change from the first set to the second.
It was not in any way definable. A medley of musical styles thrown into a melting pot. My favourite live track was “Anything Else” from the end of Yuri’s Eusebius EP. There was enough drum & bass for soundman Alex to start dancing on the spot. His legs pumped with enthusiasm we all showed in nods. I heard the music described as yummy in English and lekker in Dutch. Both men stood for the second set and hunched over instruments that I won’t even see in dream. Odd and fanciful sounds came out of there, at one point I thought there was a swarm of cicadas in the room. It was a mad scene.
In recent months, Yuri released two EPs named Florestan (“Track 1b” is killer) & Eusebius with Michael’s help mixing and they plan to create an LP in 2014 with Pop Drone. There is still so much of their music to hear live! They’ll be playing all over Ontario throughout the month, as you can see on their schedule. From the 2nd to the 30th of October they will end their shows with an open jam that anyone can join. Many instruments will be made available to anyone who wants to leave some resonance in the new walls of Nostalg. There’s something to be said for independent music and those ready to unleash their creation on a ready city.
Weekend Music Roundup: Oct. 6 – 8
For full event listings, click here.
Friday, Oct. 3, 2013
Release the Album! Pony Girl’s Party @ La Petite Mort Gallery
There are musicians and there are musicians. It seems like the best kinds gravitate towards each other, like negative ions crowding around a gemstone. Take this six-person collective for example. They are Pascal Huot, Yolande Laroche, Julien Dussault, Greggory Clark, Isaac Vallentin & Jeff Kingsbury. This is Pony Girl. Their debut album Show Me Your Fears is collaborated on by no less than 13 other artists. Last night, the six shared the stage at La Petite Mort Gallery for the album release with three other musicians.
Melodies of guitar, synth & haunting voices were coupled with samples & electronic keys. I think Röyksopp & OSI had a baby that was raised by Sigur Rós & Little People. The filly grew up to be more than the sum of its parts and remained faithful to the places where it was nurtured. This is where you’ll find Pony Girl, in the galleries & studios of the world.
Last night was an intimate party for a group of friends playing together. All spectators quickly faded into the background. The slowly rising cymbals and sudden silence at the start of “Sun in the Morning” quieted the entire gallery. You could close your eyes and almost see the sounds. It’s not called art-rock for nothing. The brightest noises were the voice of lyricist Pascal, clarinet notes from a film noir, and at one point there were three sets of beating drums. Were there two guitars or 12? All tracks were matched with the guy-girl harmonies we were promised and the album’s iconic beam of vertical light was strapped to Yolande’s mic stand. Actually the light came on after a couple songs, I can’t remember when, but by then the clarinetist was already the focal point of the crowd’s eye.
The band’s DIY attitude is documented in their music videos, all done similarly but filmed in different studios around town, even at The Daily Grind. Here’s the writer’s favourite, an entirely instrumental track called “Guardian” recorded at the Gallery Recording Studio.
The symbiotic relationship between band and galleries doesn’t go unnoticed, dear local label Pop Drone. The Ottawa-based company has been around since 2010, promoting imagination & collaboration in one friendly swoop. In the last decade, every artist in their repertoire has collaborated at least once and last night was no different. Michael Powell, a.k.a. DJ Absoluut, one half of Dialoog, was handing out the pre-show tunes as well as beating auxiliary drums for Pony Girl. His counterpart Ryckholt, a.k.a. Yuri Bakker, added nostalgic keys to the mix, and with Cameron Hill on tenor sax these three made the group nine for the night.
Dialoog, originally from the Netherlands, just played their own album release event at La Petite Mort on Sept. 21st, as part of the Nuit Blanche festivities. They’ll be playing no less than seven gigs around town in October so if you like electro jazzhop & mad piano skills matched to hip hop beats, hang around Café Nostalgica a bit this coming month. Here’s a schedule of all Pop Drone concerts coming up.
Those who attended were promised a physical copy of the album but I’m not sure if the keycard-shaped USB drive counts. It certainly is slick but a vinyl (even one made from cardboard) was what I had my heart set on. The key had the full album & art with extra goodies for audiophiles and a “Thank You.pdf” that ends with, “a massIve and crIpplIng thank-you from pony gIrl (pascal, yolande, julIen, Isaac, gregg & jeff).”
I feel crippled and ionized all at once, probably a consequence of getting lost in soundscapes.
Weekend Music Roundup: Sept. 27 – 29
For full event listings, click here.
Friday, Sept. 27, 2013
E.L.E. Fest 2013
Still Native killing it at the inaugural E.L.E. Fest in Ottawa.
On Friday September 20th I ventured to the lawn in front of Tabaret Hall at Ottawa U to check out the latest festival addition to our dear city, E.L.E. Festival.
E.L.E. stands for “Everyone Love Everyone,” and let me tell you there was certainly positive energy in the air and people of all ages enjoying the vibe.
Setting the tone for the evening was AkoufèN, a French Alternative Pop Metal band. First of all, major props for having a French band play, more festivals around town should start doing the same. The band had great energy and a great message. For example, their song ”#nomorebullies ” is all about raising awareness of the bullying epidemic that is running rampant through high schools nowadays. Bon job gang!
Many other great local acts took the stage, and not your usual suspects. Tickling our ears were The Lionyls, Monday I Retire, Erich Mrak, 13eaudry Muzik, Neegus, Garden of Weeds, Arrows & Anchors and Still Native. This was a very diverse group of artists, and all the bands were great. I had to leave early due to other commitments and did not get to see every band. The highlight for me was Still Native though.
They began as a two-piece, guitar and drums, rocking with the energy of the Black Keys, whom they covered. Once the third member joined, the set was taken to the next level, with songs such as ”Private Eye.” But what really set them apart was inviting my favourite Ottawa MC, none other than Atherton, on stage with them for a killer piece. There is something so awesome about some slick rap over blues rock.
The festival’s goal is to create opportunities in the Ottawa music scene and support local. One of its major commitments is to engage youth and get them more involved in the blossoming arts community in Ottawa. If that wasn’t enough, they also teamed up with The Candelighters Childhood Cancer Support Programs of Ottawa, which helps children and families in the region cope with cancer in a variety of ways.
So it was for a good cause, it was free with donations encouraged, it was outside and had a lineup chock full of Ottawa talent… yup it was as good as it sounds.
A sweet bonus of the festival was free Vitamin Water which really hit the spot. All in all I thought Sean Callaghan and his crew put together a good time and I truly hope to see E.L.E. become a regular amongst the plethora of festival in the nation’s capital.
Read Ottawa Showbox’s interview with E.L.E. co-organizer Sean Callaghan here.
New Video from Kalle Mattson – Darkness
Ottawa’s folk extraordinaire Kalle Mattson have just released a video for their new song ”Darkness.” I really like the eerie video for this great track. It has a lo-fi DIY feel that is complimented by the fact that the video is in black and white. “Darkness” will appear on the band’s 7-inch coming out October 1st on Parliament of Trees record. Check out the video below.
WARNING: This video may be offensive to people with a fear of clowns.
Catch up with Kale Mattson on tour in October as they travel the country.
10/4/2013 – Sault Ste Marie @ Loplops
10/5/2013 – Thunder Bay On @ The Apollo
10/7/2013 – Moose Jaw @ 23 Main St
10/8/2013 – Lethbridge @ The Owl
10/9/2013 – Fernie Claw @ Hammer
10/10/2013 – Golden @ Rockwater Grill
10/11/2013 – Vancouver @ The Cobalt
10/12/2013 – Kelowna @ Streaming Cafe
10/14/2013 – Winlaw @ Cedar Creek Cafe
10/15/2013 – Red Deer @ Slum Land
10/17/2013 – Edmonton @ Wunderbar
10/18/2013 – Saskatoon @ Vangelis
10/19/2013 – Regina SK @ Artful Dodger
10/20/2013 – Winnipeg @ Park Theater
10/24/2013 – North Bay @ The Raven & The Republic
10/25/2013 – Ottawa @ NAC 4th Stage
11/6/2013 – Quebec City @ L’Agitée
11/7/2013 – Montreal @ Quai des Brumes
11/8/2013 – Sherbrooke @ La Petite Boite Noire
11/9/2013 – Repentigny @ Bar St. Maurice
11/13/2013 – Toronto @ The Dakota Tavern
House of painT: BBoys and BGirls Break It Down
(David Kawai / House of Paint)
I arrived at the Bronson Street bridge Saturday for House of PainT just in time to catch some of the quarterfinal of the BBoy and BGirl competition.
With a couple dozen graffiti writers covering the walls in art and DJs filling my ears with beats, I was blown away with the dance moves of the breakers. They move their bodies in ways my mind cannot even think of, let alone my body attempt. As I was standing there watching the amazing display, a passerby summed it all up, “Why can’t every day be like today?”
House of PainT is such cool and unique fusion of the entire hip hop underground with just the right amount of old-school meeting new school, that it attracts people from across North America.
Before I get to talking about the ridiculous 15 minute finals, I must mention how inspiring some of the speakers were at the event. Most notably was Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli. He is a world renown dancer from Montreal who suffers from Arthrogryposis (multiplex congenita), a rare disorder that is explained by limited joint movement and poor muscle growth. This means he has very little to no muscles in his legs and therefore dances with crutches. I cannot do his speech justice, it was an amazingly inspiring and uplifting speech. Below is Luca doing a handstand and the end of his speech.
No excuses, no limits! So inspiring.
The final showdown was Groundwork Sessions Crew (GWS) from the Yukon vs Floor Assassin Malitia (F.A.M.) from Montreal. Both crews had already danced twice early in the day but showed absolutely no signs of fatigue as they battled at an insane pace the whole fifteen minutes. And as if the limb flailing excitement of head spins, hand stands and back flips wasn’t enough, the entire thing was done to Souljazz Orchestra playing a live set. Yeah imagine that… it was better than you can imagine. After all was said and done, once the dust settled and the crowd rushed the floor with excitement, GWS Crew came out on top in the hard fought battle. The boys pocketed $1,000 in cash and the elusive title of champions of the 10th annual House of PainT festival. Congrats, GWS, you blew my mind. Watch the video below.
I’d also like to do a shout out to the Deadly Venoms Crew from Montreal, who were defeated by GWS in a very heated semis. You guys did some stuff I had never seen before. Much respect.
With the winner announced, it was time for Souljazz to retake the stage and tickle our ear drums with their tantalizing soul and funk fusion under the bridge. With the lights flashing on the eclectic colours of the graffiti and hundreds of people grooving outside to one of Ottawa’s finest, it was a magical way to cap off Saturday night. It was such a good vibe with people dancing up a frenzy, myself included.
With that in mind I did not want to stop partying, so some friends and I headed out to the Electric Pow Wow at Babylon to dance the night away with A Tribe Called Red.
House of PainT, you truly outdid yourself this time. All the organizers and volunteers should be very proud of this amazing event. I can’t say it enough. Taking a sort of hidden gem and turning it into a hip hop mecca for five straight days is incredible. Moments like this make me proud to be from Ottawa.
ELE Fest’s Sean Callaghan opens up about Ottawa’s newest addition
Once in a while, an event comes along that offers up something a little different. Here at Showbox, we fulfill our obsession with music by being shameless geeks who enjoy dabbling in all corners of Ottawa’s music scene. There’s hip hop festivals, indie boutique festivals, large-scale music festivals, and just about anything else you can think of. The newest addition in Ottawa as far as festivals go certainly caught our attention. The organizers of ELE Fest (short for ‘Everybody Love Everybody’) have big goals, all of which seem to be coming to fruition quite successfully. Not only is ELE aiming to create opportunities in the Ottawa music scene and support local, one of its commitments is to engage youth and get them more involved in the blossoming arts community in Ottawa. If that wasn’t enough, they’re also teaming up with The Candelighters Childhood Cancer Support Programs of Ottawa, which helps children and families in the region cope with cancer in a variety of ways. With such a large undertaking in its inaugural event coming up Friday, September 20, I spoke with ELE co-organizer Sean Callaghan to gain a better understanding of what ELE is all about. One thing is for sure – this festival will be a welcome addition to a growing arts community in Ottawa who are craving new ways to express and consume their work. For festival info, see below or visit the E.L.E. website.
With so many festivals in Ottawa, what is it that makes ELE Festival unique amongst the rest?
E.L.E Fest is unique because it focuses on youth and local musicians. It is created, and organized by Ottawa youths, under the age of 25 and will showcase talented individuals from the same age group. We are therefore not competing with larger music festivals in Ottawa because we have set our sights on a different demographic. Also, ‘E.L.E.’ is an acronym for ‘everybody love everybody’ and reflects the positive, communal atmosphere we are working to create at the festival. Through the festival we hope demonstrate the positive impact music can have on a community at large. In order to do so, we have partnered with the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Support programs of Ottawa. We are raising money at the event through food and t-shirt sales, as well as at the after party through ticket sales.
How did the festival come to be? Where did the idea come from?
E.L.E Fest began as a result of two things. The first being the necessity for a stepping stone event between local bar gigs and some of the city’s larger music festivals. And secondly the prominence of competitive live music events for young musicians, such as battle-of-the-bands. Unlike these events E.L.E. Festival will encourage artists of different styles to take the stage together in one-of-a-kind collaborative performances. Thanks to the University of Ottawa’s generous sponsorship, tickets to the festival are free. The performers aren’t required to push expensive tickets on their friends and family. Alternatively, they’re working together to help promote each other and the Ottawa music scene as a whole.
From your standpoint, how would you characterize the Ottawa music scene?
To me, the Ottawa music scene is a beautiful, budding flower. Our city is rich in talent – untapped potential. Like a flower needs water to grow, so too does our music scene need hard work and perseverance. As budding professionals here in Ottawa, we have to think outside the box, and pursue a career in music with relentless creativity, developing new avenues as we carry the music scene to the next level. We intend to do our part with The E.L.E. Festival. If we can all work together we have the potential to do something very special here in Ottawa. We hope that through our efforts, other young people will be inspired to make a change of their own.
Why is it so important to get youth involved in this kind of event?
Youth are the future. In order to inspire change we have to lead by example and be the change so that’s why it’s so important for the young people of the city to get involved with the festival. We are trying to spearhead a movement. We’re putting the love back in music. With our sights set on the future, what better way to inspire the younger generations than by setting an example for them.
Is ELE going to become a yearly festival? How do you envision the festival a few years down the road?
Yes, our plan is to become an annual event. We will also expand into a full weekend and, further down the road, into a full week event. Ideally we would like to bring in large acts from all over the world to mentor the young performers and show them what it takes to make it in the music industry. Also in future years, we would like to introduce a mandatory collaborative component between artists. Each performer will be paired with another performer from a totally different genre and they will be required to create a one-of-a-kind collaborative piece. In our first year we’re encouraging artists of various genres to collaborate and expand their musical horizons, as we hope to prove this concept to be effective.
E.L.E. Festival Information
WHEN: Friday, September 20th, 2013 from 5:00pm – 11:00pm.
WHERE: Tabaret Lawn, University of Ottawa Campus. Located at the corner of Laurier and Cumberland.
FREE ADMISSION: $5 donations are encouraged in support of the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Support Programs.
WHO: We are very pleased to present our lineup of talented young musicians.
The Lionyls | Rock & Soul
Monday I Retire | Rock Blues Alternative
Erich Mrak | New School Hip Hop
StillNative | Raw Beat Rock
13eaudry Muzik | Hip Hop, Beat Box
Go Long (!) | Acoustic Folk Trio
Neegus | Rap, Poetry
Garden of Weeds | Rock and Roll
AkoufèN | French Alternative Pop Metal
Presented by The University of Ottawa Community Life Services.