RBC Ottawa Bluesfest wrapped up the first weekend’s programming with sets by The Strumbellas, Larkin Poe, Amos the Transparent, Keys N Krates, and many more. Our photographer Els Durnford caught the action, have a look at her gallery below.
The Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival returned to Monney’s Bay June 21 to 24 for its 25th Anniversary with its annual great lineup of free concerts.
Photographer Aidan Thatcher took in the sights and sounds of the first three days which featured Wintersleep, Broken Social Scene, Sam Robert, Hollerado and many more. Check out photos of each performance below.
Day one featuring Sam Roberts Band Sam Roberts Band, Crown Lands, Amos the Transparent and M.T. Walker
Day two featuring Broken Social Scene, Dizzy, Ellevator and Gianna Lauren
Day three featuring Wintersleep, Hollerado, Fast Romantics, Rebelle and Old Man Grant
Ottawa indie-folk veterans Amos the Transparent celebrate their 10-year anniversary as a band this year with the release of a brand new album—fittingly titled Anniversaries. They also collaborated with Big Rig Brewery to release a special limited edition pilsener to mark the occasion. You can read more about the album and special edition beer here.
Our photographer Aidan Thatcher was on-hand at a packed 27 Club to catch the action. Amos the Transparent were supported by Rumfit Mosely and The Love Machine. Check out the gallery below.
Ottawa indie-folk rockers Amos the Transparent are celebrating 10 years as a band with the release of their new album Anniversaries Saturday night at The 27 Club. And why not celebrate the occasion with some delicious craft beer? Music and beer go together like wine and cheese. The band has collaborated with Big Rig Brewery to release a special limited run of Amos Anniversaries beer—a 5.2% pilsener that will please the palate for many.
A decade and four albums later, Amos the Transparent have cemented themselves as a quintessential folk-canadiana. They have performed at RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, CityFolk, SXSW, WayHome, The Strombo Show, CBC’s Q, and even the Big Sound Festival in Australia. They’ve also hosted an annual holiday show around Christmas time that always sells out. Needless to say, Ottawa loves Amos.
I caught up with lead vocalist and guitarist Jonathan Chandler to talk about the band’s longevity and the new album. Have a read below.
Amos the Transparent releases Anniversaries Saturday, May 12 at The 27 Club along with another veteran Ottawa group who have gotten back together for a few one-offs—The Love Machine—as well as Rumfit Mosey. Ticket and show information can be found here. Upcoming shows:
May 12 — The Ottawa 27 Club
June 21 — Ottawa Dragonboat Festival
July 8 — RBC Bluesfest
August 25 — Neat Café (Burnstown)
Interview with Jonathan Chandler of Amos the Transparent
This band has been together for 10 years now, which is much longer than most. What is the glue that has kept Amos around until now?
JC: Honestly, the fact that we are indeed friends has kept it fresh over the years. Because we genuinely like each other, I think that creates an open space for everyone to feel valued and feel free to discuss concerns or ideas. A band is indeed a relationship—a big complex family relationship—and just like a regular one, you need to work at it.
How have families, new business ventures (like Shoebox Recording Studio) and the passage of time affected how Amos approaches writing music?
JC: Scheduling has never really been an easy task with this band and it’s numbers but with growing families and big boy (and girl) careers, the windows become even smaller so that element of compromise and understanding has to be pretty strong. That said, we have our regular scheduled time that we meet weekly and everyone knows that that time is precious so we use it to the best of our abilities. Be that writing, rehearsing or just having everyone present to chat about concepts or ideas.
The band collaborated with Big Rig Brewery to make an Anniversaries beer. What is that about, and how did this partnership come together?
JC: Last summer Chris ended up running into Big Rig’s Brew Master Lon and Chris Phillips and they ended up, you know, sharing compliments about each others ventures. The idea of celebrating the 10-year milestone with a record came up and Lon expressed interest in helping out in any way he could, because, you know he’s a gem. Fast forward many months and we reached out to Big Rig and the plan of launching the Pilsner together was put in action. We’re really stoked about it—the beer is awesome and it’s just a cool piece of memorability to hang on to.
Is there anything you can think back and laugh about now when looking at yourself in your early 20’s being in a band?
JC: I laugh at the idea that I once thought we could take a 9 piece band on the road. Mind you when this band started, I wasn’t a newb to touring but my expertise was definitely not… seasoned. There are photos of us playing NXNE or festivals of the likely with trumpets and a line of singers… just absurd.
The new album explores many sounds and textures, keeping listeners engaged throughout. Can you talk about a common theme or meaning behind ‘Anniversaries?’
JC: From a writing perspective, these songs span a couple years. When I listen to the finalized album, I listen to the music and arrangements that we made as a collective, as opposed to the lyrics. I feel that musically speaking, the band is at its best and most comfortable right now and it shows with what we’ve made here, as a collective. I’ve always found myself struggling a bit with lyrics, trying to not sound redundant or foolish (which I know I’ve missed a couple times!). Regardless, there are many songs here about reflection and acceptance and I do feel that some of the words are among those I’m most proud of.
It seems like the band is still having fun. Does this mean we’ll get another anniversary in 10 years from now?
JC: I think we’ve explored the option of calling it quits enough times that we know where we end up at the end of that conversation—making another record! So, as long as folks might be interested in hearing new songs, I’m pretty sure we’ll supply some in one way or another.
The headliners that will grace the stage at Mooney’s Bay include Sam Roberts Band (21st), Broken Social Scene (22nd), Wintersleep and Hollerado (23rd), and Matt Mays (24th). If all those Juno award winners and Polaris Prize nominees aren’t enough to get you excited for these free concerts, note that they will also be joined by Crown Lands, Amos The Transparent, M. T. Walker, Dizzy, Ellevator, Gianna Lauren, Fast Romantics, Rebelle, Old Man Grant, Birds of Bellwoods, Midnight Vesta, Rory Taillon and Craig Cardiff.
So mark your calendar, stock up on sunscreen and get ready to head down to Mooney’s Bay in late June to cheer on some racers and take in some most excellent performances.
Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band, Beck, Jethro Tull, Courtney Barnett, and more to headline Ottawa Bluesfest 2018
RBC Ottawa Bluesfest has released its initial 2018 lineup, which will hit the stages July 5 – 15, 2018. Many whispers of Dave Grohl and his band of Foo Fighters being added were making their way around town, and the explosive rock band is one of many exciting inclusions in this year’s edition. The Dave Matthews Band, which was confirmed a few weeks back, will also headline the festival and give festival-goers a reason to get excited.
Other notable acts include Blue Rodeo, Jethro Tull, Beck, Zeds Dead, the War on Drugs, Courtney Barnett, BROCKHAMPTON, Chromeo, Colin James, Shaggy, Oh Wonder, Ghostface Killah, Passenger, Machine Gun Kelly, Shawn Mendes, Naughty by Nature, the Strumbellas, Keys N Krates, Grandtheft, Hanson, Benjamin Booker, Noname, Dear Rouge, Kimbra, and more.
Some stellar Ottawa acts were also announced, including Catriona Sturton, Alanna Sterling & The Silvers, Amos The Transparent, Cody Coyote, Graven, Her Harbour, Okies, TAPAS, and many more.
A one-day pre-sale will begin early on February 15 at 10 a.m., with an adult festival pass starting at $209 (+ HST). A full-festival pass will start at $139 (+HST). All tickets will go on public sale February 16 at 10 a.m.
Check out other options and more details on the Bluesfest website. Have a look at the line up (so far) below.
We’re getting excited to present Sight & Sound: An Audiovisual Experience on March 4 featuring the music of Ottawa veterans Amos The Transparent and the prodigy known as Trails. This will all be going down at The Record Centre in Hintonburg (1099 Wellington St.) and LES666 will be providing a visual art installation that is sure to create the a fully immersive experience for audience members. Needless to say, we’re pretty honoured to be working with the JUNO host committee and OMIC for this special night.
We’re giving away a couple passes for this event, so be sure to enter today!
It began as any stress-filled night of a student in finals week, in an exam room. As I anxiously scratched out my final exam of the semester, I anticipated what my night would bring. Deciding relatively last minute that my final night in Ottawa before heading home for the holidays should be spent bringing in the break with gusto, the annual Amos the Transparent Holiday Show seemed like my perfect solution. Although somewhat unfamiliar with the groups, I was excited to head out with friends and kick off the season with a bang!
Mere moments before arriving at Zaphod Beeblebrox, I ran into a friend who was quick to amp me up on Amos the Transparent. An Ottawa native, he was familiar with their sound and show’s energy and assured me I was in for a time.
When I did finally arrive, Mountain Eyes was ramping up. He was sporting a carefully selected mountain-themed sweater, which made it easy to confirm exactly which artist he was. Mountain Eyes brought his unique vibes through his original tracks. I snapped a couple pictures, grabbed a beer and got myself ready for what was now set to be a good night of music. After a quick turn around, The Stringers took to the stage. The crowd started to fill the floor and it was nice to see a mixed crowd all there for the same reason, good music and holiday cheer. The Stringers brought energy to the crowd with their own original tracks from their album, which features an alternative indie rock sound. They also treated us to what they explained to be their first song, which was an unexpected, yet well received, Amy Winehouse cover.
When it finally came time for Amos the Transparent, they took the stage with more energy than I could have expected. Bringing out a number of their original tracks, each musician plays to their own talent and strengths, putting power behind each song. Recently, the band has been covering influential songs of each of their personal music journeys, which has been dubbed the Undercover Sessions on YouTube. These songs included anything from Radiohead to the Beatles. They kicked off the evening with Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” and also brought to the stage Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” and Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.”
Needless to say, as a Haligonian, my new life in the Ottawa music scene is still very much in its “toddler years.” The world is new and exciting, and I have the chance to experience anything and everything Ottawa has to offer for the first time. This Holiday Show put on by Amos the Transparent was no different, as once again I went in, blind to their music, aside from the few YouTube videos and rave reviews from friends, and I left far from disappointed.
Usually we try to do a post for each new video when we can, but July has been crazy hectic with festivals, vacation, new music and new videos. So we decided to highlight five recently released videos by some great local bands. They are posted in alphabetical order for you viewing pleasure.
Amos the Transparent — “That’s the Life for Me “
The video begins with the orchestral folk-inspired indie six-piece on stage of a high school gym playing to what looks like a good ol-fashioned sock hop. The video is super cute and perfectly follows the lyrics, a story of growing up, falling in love, starting a family and growing tired of television. My favourite scene is when the singer and his love fall for each other in the back kitchen of a pub, very well shot. The song is from Amos the Transparent‘s latest album This Cold Escape. Like what you hear and see, check them out August 15th at the Blacksheep Inn with special guest Cody Allen.
BlakDenim — “One Hit”
BlakDenim‘s latest video is more on the simplistic side, but you can afford to do that when you have so much going on musically. The group delivers hip-hop infused with jazz and soul elements, and also features a really impressive brass section. The video is black and white and bounce between Precise Kenny Creole spitting the rhymes, the band singing as they chill by the water near Mooney’s Bay and the band on stage performing. You don’t always need an epic video, sometimes it is best to let the song speak for itself. “One Hit” appears on BlakDenim’s new EP Vanguard(en).
Buck N’ Nice — “What Was Wrong With Me”
“What Was Wrong With Me” is the third video single from the debut album, Us Versus Them, from Buck N’ Nice. The video is dimly lit and often in black and white for the powerful and introspective song about growing up the victim of ruthless bullying. Once again this is another example of deep lyrics not needing the flash of intense visuals, just the words and the look of pain in his eyes. Buck N’ Nice are among the many local hip-hop acts making a lot of noise in the nation’s capital and putting Ottawa on the hip-hop map.
The Souljazz Orchestra — “Shock And Awe”
Veterans of the Ottawa scene, Souljazz Orchestra are at it again with a video for the super infectious and dancey track “Shock and Awe”. The video is set on the very familiar pedestrian bridge that goes over the Queensway near Island Park Drive. I love how the video begins with a shot of traffic below and then pans to the band. The camera then focuses on one member at a time and their name scrolls across the stage. Nice touch. The video also features great moving shots of Ottawa landmarks including the graffiti wall near the Albert Street Education Centre and the decommissioned rail bridge near the water treatment plants. My favourite is when they pause to let a woman walk by on the bridge. Great work by Souljazz as always.
The Superlative — “High Anxiety”
The Superlative have a history of releasing some pretty funny videos (check out “Life is Good“) and their latest release is no exception. The video revolves around quite possibly the worst talent search in history. They frame it as a “video star search,” and they got everyone: a breakdancer, mad scientist and workout junky. The poor judges, played by singer Charles Lapointe, guitarist Kiel’s wife Heather and local musician Richard Barrie (Rich Chris, The Valveenus and Pistols at Dawn), provide the most entertaining with their hand drawn sings showing their rejection of the contestants. Special shout out to the sign that read “- ∞”(minus infinity) I laughed quite hard. “High Anxiety” will appear on the band’s third album, In Love & Debt, which is expected to drop later this year.
Owen Davies – “Mystic”
Owen Davies is at it again, collaborating with director Pascal Huot for his latest video “Mystic” off his new album of the same title coming out August 1. Although Davies isn’t technically Ottawa-based, he works closely with Huot (member of Pony Girl) and the new label So Sorry Records which is based in the nation’s capital. If there’s one thing you will learn about Davies and Huot in their creative endeavours it is that they are unrestrained and unflinching when it comes to the unordinary. Davies refuses to maintain a specific folk “sound” – he’d rather experiment with textures and electronic elements while keeping the folk essence at the core. Be warned – this video starts out nice and peaceful, but the ending is PG-13 due to blood and gore. Stream Owen Davies’ new album Mystic exclusively here.
Again, 2014 was quite the year for music in Ottawa. We realize that it’s next to impossible to say which album was better than the others, but we do have a list of the albums that seem to come up on our playlists more often. These are not the “winners” of the year but they are dear to our ears and we’d like to tip our hats to those that made them happen. Check out these sweet full-lengths and EPs, support these locals if you can, and enjoy the weather by putting these tunes in your pocket. Vive le six un trois!