Thirsty Thursdays: Ginger Mead by Trafalgar Ales and Meads
By Daniel Bordage
Beer: Ginger Mead by Trafalgar Ales and Meads
Pairing: A Random Playlist
About the Beer: This week, I wanted to randomize my experience. Nothing like putting random on and getting a good stretch of music while working out, hosting guests, or just chilling at home. Sometimes you will get a dud and, full disclosure, I skipped “Ions” by Tool. I posted a video of my process on how I chose the beer with a die HERE… The beer isn’t really a beer, it’s mead. Meads are said to be the oldest known alcoholic drink recorded. Opening the bottle, its odor was very sour. The first sip was like drinking a sour beer. Ginger was present but overshadowed by acridity. I was a bit disappointed as I wanted more ginger for this Ginger (I have red hair, I’m allowed to say it). This playlist of randomness was also curated by our very own Eric Scharf
One of the world’s oldest alcoholic beverages, our Ginger Mead is a dry, slightly sparkling drink with prevalent natural flavours and aromas of wildflower honey and fresh ginger root. Enjoy this offering with fish, sushi, or spicy Thai cuisine.
Bonobo “Pick Up”
Happy this one came up first.
Atherton “Good Gone”
#OttBand Hip Hop artist. Old School meets New School
Japandroids “Evil’s Sway”
I find they sound the same in most songs but this one is worth it!
Alanis Morissette “Hand In My Pocket”
The beauty of random. #OttBand
The Morning Benders “Promises”
White Wires “All Night Long”
The White Wires can show up randomly all night long. #OttBand
Average Times “I Hate Tomato Juice and I Hate You”
There is nothing average about the smile on my face everytime this song comes on while on shuffle… oh, puns. #OttBand
Amadou & Mariam “Fête au Village”
Mau Chao produced them. Well worth a listen.
Handsome Boy Modeling School “A Day In The Life”
Featuring RZA and Mars Volta… yeah, I know!!
DangerDoom “Benzie Box”
Best Fuzz sound on the bass…
Mehdi Cayenne Club “L’art pour l’art”
A great #OttBand that is well deserving on finishing off the playlist
Contact me on twitter @danielbordage or at firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestions, comments or just to say hi.
The Gallop’s Tall Tale Tellers Release @ Rainbow Bistro
By Alec C. Mead of The Way Collective
Simple parameters, shining performers and an old blues bar filled with young souls. What else is needed? I got to speak with Dave Gervais of The Gallop about the EP, family and why music?
I love shows held at the Rainbow Bistro, The Gallop made a great choice to do their EP release there with Atherton, TheCareBearz and Stay Classy. The show started at 10 p.m. and went right through to 2 a.m. It felt like a quick experience, one that couldn’t be forgotten, or even slept off easily. That made the 10 bucks at the door feel like a bargain, even my uncle dug it — being from the 70s his standards are not easily met. Someone who saw the debut of Black Sabbath and Van Halen telling me “That was a night I needed,” was all I had to know. Good job everyone.
Throughout the night some people shined, one of the most obvious was the drummer of The Gallop, Paul Ross. Song after song he pumped out beats that had us all moving, within or without our minds. Thanks for bringing your energy to us brother! The pain you feel in your arms is the pleasure we felt in our hearts.
Another star of the show was Jordan David of TheCareBearz (formerly of The Love Machine). He and Atherton obviously go back because they have a serious bromanship, and that is what a group is all about. Jordan’s vibe was needed for Atherton to shine, Atherton was doing what he does for the right reasons, the love of it. After finishing he and DJ So Nice picked up and packed up faster than most, leaving the socializing till after. That’s what someone running a show wants with an act: professionalism.
Everyone involved did a killer job but it’s worth mentioning PJ Livadaris, who fronted Stay Classy and played guitar and sang harmonies for The Gallop. Most notable about this fair fellow is his voice. When a band has a full sound, your voice needs to cut through the vibrations like butter, a feat not often achieved, whether by mainstreamers or old folk who have been jamming for decades. Kudos on having a voice that is recognizable and sharp. I admire that greatly because the lyricism is what I feel the strongest about.
So when I got to the Rainbow, Dave Gervais was chilling so I quickly asked him about the EP Tall Tale Tellers. Dave discussed that he plays music to feel good, and to share with people, stating, “Live shows are a trip. That’s pretty much why [we do it].” He is a solid guy who sets goals in order to achieve them, he understands that’s how you get satisfaction, fulfilling your goals, which are a step to your dreams.
He clearly stated he is ready to do more shows and make some videos for the music on Tell Tale Tellers. “Preparation is the key to success,” is something he clearly manifested during the show and the performance of the EP. This is their fourth EP and he said there are more coming! I asked him why he likes doing EPs and he told me he likes things fresh and bite-sized. We discussed the song “Jump Ship” and how he feels about staying in Ottawa when his girlfriend goes out west. “I love you, just not enough,” says it powerfully, but I wanted to understand what his feelings were. “ I didn’t want to be estranged,” is something he mentions while telling me his family is the most important thing in his life. He told me he celebrates with them any time he can and he often finds himself laughing with his nieces and nephews.
“If there’s something you want people to know before they listen, it’s ‘now is the time.’” I told Dave he’s got a chance to say anything, his reply was, “We don’t give up, we keep playing music”. No bullshit, I like that. He tells me that he’s known the other two acts for over 10 years, such is the nature of music in Ottawa.
RBC Bluesfest Day 9: Action Bronson + Bob Saget + Deltron 3030 + Little Freddie King + Childish Gambino + Snoop Dee Oh Double Gee
Any Ottawan at Lebreton Flats yesterday witnessed a line-up that spanned a large spectrum. Once again the RBC Bluesfest showcased local talent from the start of the day at 1:30PM at the River Stage with five openers from Ottawa. Sound of Lions gave us no chance to be off our game. The crystal clear vocals of Whitney Delion matched to Christian Awad’s rap while on the keys woke us up, and let us know we were in for an eclectic day. Ambient organ, emotive guitar and heavy bass with the contrast of vocals work especially well on their song “Storm Chasers.” Their bassist was quaffing white wine out of the screw top bottle, and that was okay.
Sounds of Lions opened the River Stage on July 12 at RBC Bluesfest. Photo: Joseph Mathieu
From the sound of lions to the Lion himself, we made our way to Claridge Homes Stage to see Atherton. The announcer asked us to give our very own MC “a big Ottawa welcome,” which struck me as odd until I realized she hadn’t mentioned he was from the 613. She probably didn’t know. But we know! Coming into his own as the alpha of a pride of young cats, this rapper songwriter has been emceeing our wildest nights at Mugshots & Erling’s Variety, and as the anchorperson for HHK he’s made his bones many times over. DJ So Nice warmed up the kids at the front of the stage for what would be, in my humble opinion, the Stage’s best line-up of the festival.
Since we’d get pummelled with hip hop for most of the day, we opted to discover what Wicked Grin was all about at the Black Sheep Stage. Ripe blues rock, copious harmonica and witty lyrics. They covered some good songs by Susan Tedeschi: “Homemade cooking really does the trick, your cotton ain’t rotten it just needs to be picked,” and Studebaker John’s “Two-time Boogie.” They have a new album out, with harmonica-player Rod Williams’ song about it being Friday (not quite as frivolous as Rebecca Black’s “Friday” but very close) and “Time & Space” which wanted to be ethereal and instead was about hockey.
Three o’clock and two longest names on the bill started simultaneously on River & Bell Stages: John Allaire & the Campistas and Jonathan Becker & the North Fields.
Jonathan Becker & The North Fields played the River Stage on July 12 at RBC Bluesfest. Photo: Joseph Mathieu
Our local flavour, in a nutshell, could be summed up in Cory Levesque playing bass in his umpteenth band wearing a t-shirt of the recently disbanded Carraway, double fisting red wine and a tall boy of Belgian ale. Then of course there’s JS in a Robots! Everywhere!! Tee with the zeal of a Gambino girl and his homemade placard: “JON BECKER YOU’RE SO DREAMY!” Jon Becker’s bubbly rasp was the focal point of his folky rock outfit, with songs about the chill of Ottawa winters and eerie subjects like “Bones.” The rock n roll had merit but would have benefited if the keyboard could have been heard even a little.
John Allaire & the Campistas play daddy rock, straight up. Bassist and born-to-be frontman Jeff Tanguay had a split-second song called “It’s Closing Time at the Beer Store but Can We Please Just Grab Some Beer?” that was the monosyllabic negative answer they received from the Beer Store employee. Allaire had his daughter Hillary come up to sing “Let It Be” and a song about angels. He haggled her to put on more clothes and take off her makeup as she left the stage in what I understand to be the proper parenting tactic. A small faction of generation Y lined the front fence in the long wait for the headliner in six hours. Doritos, sunflower seeds & cell phones would keep them occupied since they’d already put on their red, yellow & green face paint hours before.
The Iguanas played the Black Sheep Stage with the Texas Horns on July 12 at RBC Bluesfest. Photo: Joseph Mathieu
An Americana folk band called The Iguanas were the second on the Black Sheep Stage to invite a trio called the Texas Horns to join them. By chance, the bands had crossed paths the night before and reunited as old friends with an improvised set. This band from New Orleans was a breath of fresh air on a hot day that could have been any day of the year in the South.
It is possible to find a steady path through all the sets to see as much music as possible, but you can’t stop for long and you have to plan ahead. It’s not unlike a course in the rock-climbing gym, there are long, easy ways and short, harder ways to get around.
Action Bronson fulminated on the Claridge Homes Stage on July 12 at RBC Bluesfest. Photo: Joseph Mathieu
It was by watching the mighty Action Bronson act out his spits, as he administered himself CCs in his rump or ripped an octopus out of the ocean, that we started to think about poetry. Hip hop is the modern poetry: literary works in which special intensity is given to the expression of feeling & ideas. The special intensity of Bam Bam comes from his all-encompassing love of life and all its pleasures. Anyone who raps about three different kinds of cheeses, and the marinade he’ll soak that octopus in, and clams, raisins or corned beef hash is a blatant foodie. I should probably mention Fuck, That’s Delicious… One of the issues conservative listeners have with rap is perfectly exemplified by the tender voice of Tracy Chapman being split in half by Bronson yelling: “Bitch!” Myself, I found the timing unfortunate, but any misgivings we might have with that word should be taken with a grain of salt (and a dash of olive oil). Rough around the edges doesn’t mean he doesn’t show respect in his own way, whether it’s layered deep in his lyrics or just: “This is Peter Gabriel. Make some noise!”
Bob Saget bringing us back at the RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest 2014. Photo: Mark Horton, RBC Bluesfest Press Images
All that can be said about Bob Saget is that he’s an icon of 90s pop culture who is doomed to be himself until the curtain falls. Instead of fading he’s fully embraced the odd trip he’s taken through the halls of celebrity and Hollywood. In case anyone was wondering what Ottawa’s style is, it’s lo-fi. I couldn’t agree more, thanks for clearing that up Bob! He helped us understand all kinds of things like colonoscopy, dating the elderly, Leprechauns & sucking dick for coke. One audience member called him her “spirit animal.” At one point he took up a member of the audience called Charlie and sat him on a stool and explained to him that it was okay, he was going to get laid one day, all to the soundtrack of a heartfelt conversation from a family movie. “There goes my son, Charlie,” he said. “He’s so sweet.” Later: “Now if my dick could talk I would tell it to shut the fuck up,” and “I can’t talk about Mom that way because we lost her. She touched a lot of people, yeah, and now they’re pressing charges.”
Dan the Automator of Deltron 3030 effing killed it on Claridge Homes Stage at RBC Bluesfest July 12, 2014. Photo: Joseph Mathieu
What I’m calling as one of the best shows of the year in Ottawa was Deltron 3030‘s show on Claridge Homes Stage. They don’t call them a hip hop super group because it’s pretty, these are heavyweights who have each made their way through the world of music as their own person, who have sculpted something out of nothing in big ways. We were graced with a showcase of each of their individual skills, including the sci-fi rap of Del the Funky Homosapien. Long known to be one of the illest, Del delivered his rhymes about the year 3030, where the world has far deteriorated beyond what we know to be corporate America today. The psychic landscape has changed drastically and it’s up to heroes to remind us of what we can be, how we can be saved. Thank Christ for Deltron Zero and the cantankerous Captain Aptos, AKA Dan the Automator. We found out exactly why he’s called the Automator by watching him orchestrate with little finger wiggles and full arm movements while pounding on a synth with his free hand. There was a live band supporting these two supers making their way through the future, as 3030 slowly became 3040, as well as the third of the trinity: Skiznod the Boy Wonder AKA Kid Koala. Ever wonder why they call him the Boy Wonder?
That’s why. Vancouver-born, Montreal-based Eric San has been DJing since he could lick his fingers and his beats are nothing but extra butter on top of an already wicked sound. Anyone who’s a fan of story-telling and a wide range of talents focused on one point should check out their self-titled album from 2000 and their Event 2 which just magically appeared last year. Now I wonder how old I’ll be when Event 3 rears its head…
To avoid Awolnation, we traversed the museum and discovered along the way Paul Oscher on a massive mouth organ of a size I didn’t know exsited, wailing in the Barney Danson Theatre, and Little Freddie King, the King of New Orleans Blues. His infectious jiving and shuffling across the stage had us dancing too, it’s the kind of music that makes you lose yourself.
Childish Gambino tearing it up on the Claridge Homes Stage of RBC Bluesfest July 12, 2014. Photo: Mark Horton, RBC Bluesfest Press Images
Then of course was time for the kids to let loose with Childish Gambino. Holy crap. Energy personified, with a firebrand’s grip on people. “Don’t be mad that I’m doing me better than you doing you.” Message received. His wide-eyed display of what the human body can do was mind-blowing. He was nice enough to take a crowd member’s phone and turn it from vertical to horizontal as she filmed, “you gotta hold your shit like this!” I hope everyone takes notes on that. He had a song with three drops and he made sure we knew when they were coming. Why? Because the Internet.
Snoop Dogg closed out the Bell Stage at RBC Bluesfest on July 12, 2014. Photo: Mark Horton, RBC Bluesfest Press Images
Snoop Dogg shut it down, west coast style in Erik Karlsson’s Sens jersey. He’s the type of entertainer who reminds you how many of his songs you know, without being aware of it. He played the crowd and definitely sold out the show, and despite being almost half an hour late to hit the stage he made it absolutely certain that no one in the crowd didn’t know how to spell his name by the end of it.
Ottawa Bluesfest 2014: Local Preview
Ottawa’s RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest begins on July 3rd and will feature 30 great local groups. Here is a list in alphabetical order to help you support local at this year’s Bluesfest!
Métis singer-songwriter Amanda Rheaume is a powerful vocalist with just a touch of grit and an instantly-accessible roots-pop-Americana sound. She has been impressing concert goers for around a decade in Ottawa and throughout North-America with her music and her infectious personality. Her latest release Keep Fire has earned her a Juno Nomination in the category Aboriginal Album of the Year. You can be swoon by Amanda July 11th at 6 PM on the River Stage.
Amos the Transparent
A six-piece band that plays wonderful folk-inspired, indie-pop which Jian Ghomeshi, host of CBC’s radio show Q, referred to as them as “Canadian Wilco.” Amos the Transparent can really dazzle a crowd with their excellent musicianship. They will be playing July 3rd at 5 PM on the Black Sheep Stage.
Angelique Francis is a singer, songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist (piano, drums, key board, harmonica, upright bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and the electric Bass). In July of 2011, after a country wide search, Angelique was selected by Ottawa Blues Festival as one of three next emerging female Canadian Artists ( The She’s The One Competition), she was only 13 years old at the time. Angelique plays July 4th at 6 PM in the Barney Danson Theatre.
Atherton is one of Ottawa’s finest hip-hop talents and most entertaining MC’s. In 2012 he released his third album No Threat, which features a tonne of great tracks chalked full of references to Orleans where he grew up and other neighbourhoods around town. Atherton is also the host of one of the city’s best monthly events, Hip-Hop Karaoke. Atherton performs on the hip-hop heavy day July 12th at 2 PM on the Claridge Homes Stage.
For fans of high energy garage rock and punk rock. Average Times are coming off an awesome set at Ottawa Explosion Weekend, which you can read about here. Their self-titled debut, full of energetic quick hitters, made our list of the best local releases of 2013. Head bob and rock out with Average Times July 9th at 6:15 PM on the River Stage.
Bella Cat is a rarity at the Bluesfest, as she actually plays the blues. Playing blues, soul, and jazz with very catchy melodies which will bring you back to the 50s and 60s. Not only do they play beautiful music, but Bella Cat’s booming and powerful voice will amaze. You can catch Bella Cat on Thursday, July 10 at 6 PM at the Barney Danson Theatre.
BlakDenim will fill the stage with nine members on stage and fill your ears with very dancy funk music with hip-hop vocals overlaid. They infuse hip-hop, funk, rock, soul and jazz with lyrical content that ranges from the serious to the absurd, their tone from sweet to heavy, all connected by head-nodding and hip shaking melodies. So go shake your groove thang and get down with your bad self with BlakDenim Saturday July 5 at 2 PM on the Black Sheep Stage.
Boyhood is one of Ottawa’s most intriguing bands with there very outside the box psych-pop sound. If you are into strange and quite creative music, then don’t miss out on this project. Boyhood is really just Caylie Runciman, who does all of the composition, writing and recording herself. But has a few musicians join her when she plays live. Come get lost in Caylie’s musical vision July 6th at 2 PM on the Black Sheep Stage.
Taking their cue from classic blues and rock traditions, Cold Capital‘s guitar driven music mixes blues, roots, soul and country into a boiler pot of rock n’ roll. With influences spanning from Wilco to the Rolling Stones to Gary Clark Jr., the band is a perfect fit for the Bluesfest. Catch them July 4th at 6 PM on the Blacksheep Stage.
They are a four piece indie rock band draws influences from artists such as The Black Keys, Tokyo Police Club and Jack White. Farewell Davidson‘s music has great hooks and many sing-a-long opportunities which is always fun. Come sing with Farewell Davidson July 13th at 1 PM on the River Stage.
Formed from the ashes of Crash 13 in the latter stages of 1999, Fiftymen play country rock through and through, with dusty twang surging through its veins. Beyond the twang are strong lyrics about hard luck, heart ache, jealousy, revenge and redemption. Get your stomping shoes on and go check them out July 6th at 6 PM on the River Stage.
A modern combination of blues and roots, Firebelly add some sweet sweet harmonica play and strong vocals. In true blues fashion the four-piece does not shy away from other genres such as elements of funk, swing, jazz and country. They play July 10th at 6 PM on the Black Sheep Stage.
From fis- pumping, stomp your feet working-man anthems to soulful ballads of love, heartache and loss, James Leclaire’s songs are all about storytelling. He is backed by a band called the Cable 22’s and just released his third studio album Of What is Left and has been compared to Steve Earl. James and the Cable 22 will be playing July 3rd at 6 PM at Barney Danson Theatre.
John Allaire and the Campistas
John Allaire is an experienced, award-winning singer/songwriter , including American Songwriter Assoc. “Best Lyrics” Award in 2009 for “Magnets” (Nashville, TN). He has been making music for over 30 years and has a gift for weaving captivating musical stories. Drawing on his experiences and surroundings John’s musical repertoire includes songs with sincere, intelligent lyrics that are introspective and deeply personal, as well as tunes that are light-hearted and humourous. Check out this local talent on one of the main stage, July 12th at 3 PM on the Bell Stage.
Jonathan Becker and The North Fields
Jonathan Becker and The North Fields play rock and roll with roots in folk, country, and post punk. Jonathan’s voice was an instantly recognizable rasp that delivers very heartfelt lyrics. The five piece released a wonderful five-song EP early this year and are just coming back from a tour which took them through Ontario, Quebec and some stops on Canada’s East coast. Check them out with a cold brew on July 12th at 3 PM on the River Stage.
Probably one of the happiest and most excited people in Ottawa right now as he was named to the Polaris Prize Short-List for his latest album, the wonderful Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold. The amazing accomplishment is well deserved for the absolutly talented Kalle Mattson and his band. The folk rockers often remind me of Winnipeg based The Weakerthans, as they can play super uplifting tunes that get you up and dancing and then follow it up with a beautiful gut-wrenchingly powerful fingerpicking soft songs. Go see what all the buzz is about July 5th at 2 PM on the Claridge Homes Stage.
Keturah Johnson Band
Keturah Johnson has one of the most powerful and beautiful voices I have ever heard. She has spent most of her music making career as a solo artist, but late last year added a great group of talented musicians around her to take her sound to the next level. Their is so much soul and passion that flows through her lyrics and her incredible voice, that is now complimented by a full band sound. Don’t miss being blown away July 11 at 6 PM in the Barney Danson Theatre.
The Mackenzie Rhythm Section
One of the most fun get out of your seats and shake your hips band playing the entire festival. The Mackenzie Rhythm Section describe themselves as Soulstep, soul sang from the heart and rock solid funk. To be honest I could not say it any better myself. Shine up your dancing shoes, practice your best moves and come get jiggy with it July 5th at 6 PM in the Barney Danson Theatre.
Back with the blues, Old Stereo play very funky soulful blues music. The four-piece has been greatly influenced by Gary Clark Jr. so fans of his should not miss them July 5th at 1:30 PM on the River Stage.
Old Whiskey Road
Six-piece americana and country style band with a wonderful balance of male and female vocals. Old Whiskey Road draw influences from Wilco to Neil Young and to Ryan Adams, a great bunch of excellent singer songwriters. They hit the stage July 6th at 2pm on the Claridge Homes Stage.
Pith and the Parenchymas
Probably one of the youngest acts playing the festival, Pith and the Parenchymas play very interesting experimental folk that is mature beyond their years. It is quite exciting to see the younger generation add twists to a style that has been around for decades. Pith and the Parenchymas just released their debut full length album, Songs of the Neverending Ugly Lizard. Go experience something you have never heard before July 8th at 7:30 in the Barney Danson Theatre.
Scattered Clouds‘s psychedelic rock will channel the ghosts of Lebreton Flats past. Brooding rhythms and precise noise from this experimental 3-piece underline film noir imagery. Get taken away on a psychedelic journey July 3rd at 7:30 pm in the Barney Danson Theatre.
No it is not our beloved national Olympic rowing hero. It is a group of very talented artists from Ottawa who formed an 80’s style dance band. Silkken Laumann‘s lead singer Rolf Klausener’s voice is hypnotic and the music is very much a blast from the past. Their amazing debut album Not Forever Enough is available for free, here. Kick off your Friday night in style and in dance with Silkken Laumann July 4th at 6 PM on the River Stage.
The “Northern-fried” rock and soul band made their debut in 2006 at Bluesfest and have since made big waves around the country. Silver Creek has had such highs as playing the main stage at Bluesfest in 2009 and have back Blue Rodeo on tour. Silver Creek get the honour of once again rocking the main stage (the Bell Stage) July 5th at 3 PM.
Sound of Lions
Sound of Lions were the winners of “Best New Act” and “Album of the Year” in the Ottawa XPress’ readers’ poll back in 2011 and have carried that momentum with them. They have an amazing combination of a beautiful female vocals teamed up with a very strong emcee rapping over trip-hop beats. They will take their unique sound and high level of energy to the stage on July 12th at 1:30 PM on the River Stage.
Still Winter Hills
Five-piece country band that channels the days of old. Sill Winter Hills sounds like a band that could have opened for Neil Young during his heyday. They have perfected the sound of those who came before them, while carving out their own unique sound. Check out these country boys and go back in time with them on July 13th at 2pm on the Claridge Stage.
Speaking of going back in time, let The Split teleport you back to when funky-soul bands laden with brass ensembles were king. Fans of Lee Fields, Charles Bradley and James Brown cannot afford to miss out on this talented act. You can catch this soulful act July 5, at 3:30 on the Black Sheep Stage.
Female fronted alternative rock band who’s influences range from The Pixies, Arcade Fire and Nina Simone. Tindervox is a four-piece but you would never know from the great depth of their sound and their haunting songs. If you are brave enough, check them out July 6th at 3 PM in the Barney Danson Theatre.
They play traditionally-based Ukrainian style music merged with punk rock power chords. Ukrania is perfect for fans of Gogol Bordello and gypsy style rock. They are up-beat, fun, dancy and sing all their songs in Ukrainian. Come learn a new language, gain international travel and have a party with Ukrania July 10th at 6PM on the River Stage.
Last but not least, the 30th local act, Wicked Grin. Since 2003 Wicked Grin have been playing their full-tilt blues with a groove that just won’t quit much to the enjoyment of concert goers. Wicked Grin recently won the Ottawa Blues Society “Road To Memphis” Challenge and represented Ottawa at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, in January 2014. You can catch their blues with bite July 12th at 6 PM on the Black Sheep Stage.
Ottawa bands showcasing at NXNE 2014
It’s that time of year again. I’ll be packing up shop once again and heading down to NXNE in Toronto this week to cover the festival. There are plenty of Ottawa bands playing this year, including some of our local faves. Don’t forget to tune in later this week to see what’s going on in the big city! Check out the bands below:
Amos the Transparent
Rivoli – Wednesday, June 18 @ 11 PM
St. James Gazebo – Saturday, June 21 @ 2 PM
Smiling Buddha – Friday, June 20 @ 8 PM
Bovine Sex Club – Saturday, June 21 @ 12 AM
The Boat – Wednesday, June 18 @ 11 PM
Rivoli – Thursday, June 19 @ 8 PM
The Good Luck Assembly
Rancho Relaxo – Wednesday, June 18 @ 2 AM
Bovine Sex Club – Saturday, June 21 @ 10 PM
Dakota Tavern – Wednesday, June 18 @ 12 AM
Handlebar – Thursday, June 19 @ 10 PM
Berczy Park – Friday, June 20 @ 5 PM
St. James Gazebo – Saturday, June 21 @ 6 PM
Tranzac Club – Thursday, June 19 @ 9 PM
Studio Bar – Saturday, June 21 @ 1 AM
The Boat – Thursday, June 19 @ 10 PM
Silvergun and Spleen
Hideout – Saturday, June 21 @ 2 AM
Hideout – Thursday, June 19 @ 1 AM
Suns of Stones
Rancho Relaxo – Sunday, June 22 @ 9 PM
Smiling Buddha – Thursday, June 19 @ 2 AM
Poetic Elements’ The Diamond Life EP and why it’s release was important for Ottawa hip-hop
By Fly On The Waltz
May 22nd Ottawa rap trio Poetic Elements held the release party for their debut EP Diamond Life at The Daily Grind art café on Somerset. A group consisting of rapper/spoken word artist Apollo the Child, rapper/producer Masai The Nasa Kid, and producer Prophet One, the trio played alongside local artists Nakiem The God, Hyfidelik, and Atherton.
The show started off with Nakiem The God, who I had never seen live before. The thing about Nakiem, is that if you played him next to many of rap’s modern artists, you’d be hard pressed to point out which one came from Ottawa, Ontario, CA. I remember hearing the beat to his last song and thinking, “Well that’s the instrumental benchmark for the night”. I highly suggest checking out his The Most High album on Bandcamp available for free download. He’s also working on a new project due for release this summer.
Second on the bill was Hyfidelik of local rap/spoken word collective Missing LinX. It’s always a pleasure seeing Hyf perform and that night was no different. I always feel like I’m going on a trip through every era of rap when Hyfidelik is performing. The crowd paid very close attention to every word Hyf delivered, as did I. Highest points of his set included a chilled out, guitar-driven track featuring rapper G. Grand from London by way of Ottawa, and one of my favourite bars of the night, “Kill Goliath with a stone of kindness”. Be sure to check out Missing LinX’s album R.I.P. Charlie on Bandcamp if you haven’t already.
The penultimate performer of the night was Ottawa vet Atherton. Now the thing that is immediately apparent when seeing Atherton perform is how quickly he’s able to command a crowd. It’s always clear how well honed his performance skills are. Performing mostly songs off his album No Threat (available on Bandcamp), much of the crowd was familiar with his material. Whether you’ve seen Atherton a dozen times or never before, you should catch his set at Bluesfest July 12th alongside Action Bronson, Deltron 3030, and Childish Gambino.
And last but certainly not least, Poetic Elements. If you’ve never seen Poetic Elements live, let me explain what happens to you. Apollo the Child and Masai the Nasa Kid grace the mic, while producer Prophet-One plays the Maschine live. Something that’s becoming more and more of a rarity in live hip-hop, Prophet-One not only plays the Maschine with finesse, but the Poetic Elements instrumental crate is a fine one. Production of the Diamond Life EP was predominately handled by Masai, with Prophet co-producing the song 100 Miles with Masai and producing the track Crimes himself. The lyrics of the Diamond Life EP cover every aspect of life, with references to all kinds of art and pop culture (Recess for the win). Apollo and Masai do a great job of letting you know who they are and what is important to them. The EP also features guest vocals by poet Ali Alikhani and singer-songwriter Katie Bourque. Poetic Elements’ performance on the 22nd was easily their best performance I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. The peak of the night in terms of crowd participation happened during their anthem Valley Music. You can find their Diamond Life EP at http://poeticelements.bandcamp.com/releases. I’m looking very forward to whatever Poetic Elements decide to do next, together and individually.
The Diamond Life release party was important for the Ottawa hip-hop scene for a few reasons. The bill included a mix of generations that in a city like Ottawa is incredibly important for keeping a scene healthy. There’s a lot of new and young hip-hop acts in the city, and they need the support of the older generations to properly grow in the context of Cap City. And with so many new and young fans coming into the scene alongside these acts, they need to be aware of the acts that came before and are still very much a part of the Cap City rap ecosystem. It’s very important to have the new wave of artists and the old guard working together and on the same page if we want our hip-hop scene to continue thriving as it has in recent times.
The release party also marks the continuation of a new trend of hip-hop at smaller and less conventional venues. There was a point in the city’s history where rap was confined to only a handful of venues. It’s nice to see hip-hop not only accepted in all manner of venues and spaces, but to see the scene open to those locations as well.
At the end of the day, the Diamond Life EP release party was exactly what I thought it would be, a good time, with good people, playing good music. You can put 100 on that.
RBC Ottawa Bluesfest: Local Acts Announced
Somewhat overshadowed by the official line-up announcement was the posting of some great local acts that will dawn the stage at Bluesfest this summer.
DIANA, Silkken Laumann and Black Usher @ Mavericks
Diana rocking us at Mavericks on Saturday Oct. 12th, 2013
New Wave is coming back and these Canadian groups are doing one hell of a job it. Headlining the night was Toronto’s Diana
. But before they took the stage, the lead singer of Silkken Laumann, Rolf Klausener, never one to mince words had quite a doozy of an introduction for Diana. “Diana is up next, and they are about to rock our collective vagina!” How do you follow that up and break the ice as Diana? With a funny anecdote of course. “I just went to the washroom before the set and well I just sat in a stranger’s urine,” said Carmen Elle. “One of you women has a new bond with me.” Their record, Perpetual Surrender
, is absolutely great, but it really comes to life live. I was completely blown away by the drummer. I loved the transition seamless transitions from electric drums to his standard set, the man creates some sweet beats. And if that wasn’t enough, they have some very sexy sax on some songs. The title track, ”Perpetual Surrender,” brings me back to nights where I would stay up late after my parents fell asleep and to watch Blue Nuit
. If that isn’t Kenny-G-eat-your-heart-out, baby-making, softcore-porn music I don’t know what is. Lastly they covered “More Than This” and it was the best rendition since Bill Murray in Lost and Translation. “Need you to know baby, I know you’re terrified.”
Silkken Laumann and their light show bring the dance to Mavericks.
where in the middle of this concert sandwich. They were playing their first show with their new bass player Gary from Roberta Bondar
. The heavily bearded band from Ottawa had a pretty awesome light show going on as their New Order-esque inspired dance rock tickled our ears and swayed our hips. Gary’s contributions could be felt right away. He really set the tone and the beat for their second song, which I really liked. With the infectious beats flowing and everyone bobbing or dancing along in the dimly lit Maverick’s, Rolf took the time to share an observation: “This really feels like a basement party with just us. We are all in Diana’s basement.” This is the second time I see the band live and have loved it both times, my favourite song live has to be “House of Common Problems.” Missed out or want more Silkken? They announced that they will be hosting a new year’s eve album release party, should be quite the event.
Kicking off the dance party was the Ottawa super group Black Usher
. The band was formed at the Ottawa Rock Lottery earlier this year. The group is comprised of Sarah Bradley from Fevers
, Jordan David from The Love Machine
, both members of Still Native
, Patrick Steele and Max Savage, and two MC’s, Hyfidelik the Gypsy Sun of Missing LinX
. As you can see, there are so many vocals option and the band does a great job of letting everyone have a turn to shine. You have to love the sad ballad about condos. With lines like, “There used to be mom and pops now it’s Starbucks,” and “Condos ruin everything around me,” as a tribute to C.R.E.A.M. by Wu-Tang. They closed out their set with the very odd “Weird wild strange strange.”
Forget clubs spinning top 40 dance music–Diana, Silkken Laumann and Black Usher showed us all Saturday night that live dance music, by musicians, is alive and well.
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.
Banned: A Live Projection Experience delivers a punch at Babylon
By Matthew Stella
Last night BANNED: A Live Projection Experience went down at Babylon. It was a jam packed bill with locals Benoit Christie and Atherton, Montreal’s Dany Laj and the Looks and Calgary’s Miesha and the Spanks warming up for the projection experience featuring Brooklyn’s Old Monk. For any of you cultural protectionists who support the new application fees for international bands (does anyone actually support them?), having four canadian bands play along with an American band is but one of the ways that cross-border exchanges can actually enrich Canada’s cultural tapestry.
I unfortunately could not make it to the opening acts because I was flying into Ottawa, but after taking a cab to my house and then sprinting to Babylon (with a few walking breaks in between) I was able to see Dany Laj leading the crowd in a call and response chant “bullshit!”
The place was decorated with multiple projection screens side by side displaying anything from random photo slides to the final credits of Darjeeling Limited.
After Laj and his Looks departed the stage, a white screen was set up where a band should be and a projector was placed in front of the stage where the most diehard fans should be. Communication with the band via e-mail concert organizer Liam Mooney instructed them to begin warming up and to prepare for a sound check. When all was set up the three-piece band, playing in what looked like an old house, appeared on screen to applause from the rowdy crowd, but no sound was coming out. After a few minutes and a computer change the DJ cut the music and Old Monk was heard wailing on their instruments.
Singer/guitarist Josh Carrafa would approach the camera to read e-mails from Ottawa telling him when to begin. Why the group and the organizers never exchanged phone numbers remains a mystery to me, but e-mail seemed to work quite effectively. After the final directions from Ottawa the band took their places and pounded out the opening chords to their single “Attica” which caught the crowd’s attention.
From then on it was a one-way exchange between band and crowd as Old Monk tore through a frenetic set of mostly new songs that will some day comprise their second LP while the crowd’s cheers went unheard by the band. The sound in Babylon was quite good, both Carrafa’s vocals, which shifted from restrained, to falsetto, to some kind of Malkmus-like warble (often in the same bar) came through clearly as did his constant effortless riffing. Backed by a solid rhythm section of Ian Burns, who appeared on screen as a flailing ball of drumsticks and hair, and Tsugumi Takashi who swayed back and forth in front of the camera while anchoring the prog-punks on bass, Old Monk’s musicianship was the first thing that caught the crowd’s attention.
Carrafa, embracing the new unorthodox set up, bounced around the small space in which the band had confined themselves, and often approached the camera to show of some of his more impressive riffs. The crowd, ever vocal, shouted out requests in between songs, made jokes and even stuck a live microphone in front to the screen to line up with Carrafa’s face. The only thing that was affected sound-wise was the banter coming from New York, though Carrafa was head to say something along the lines of, “we like Canadians, except for the one’s who did the things that we are taking a stand against.” This was a very eloquent, though abstract, way of reiterating the bullshit chant that Laj had directed toward the Harper government earlier in the night.
As a spectacle, the night was a resounding success. Old Monk was successfully brought to Canada despite the regulations in place that prevent such events from taking place. Fans were treated to an amazing show, but of course this event was meant to highlight the negative effects of these new international artist regulations. So if the show went well, if Old Monk found new fans without having to leave the comfort and safety of their Brooklyn bubble, then what was lost in this event?
For starters this event was potentially the first of its kind in Ottawa. It was a novel idea and was popular because it was done as a creative form of protest. No band could effectively do a projection concert tour of Canada. This could never become the norm. The crowd was into it, the crowd was cheering and bantering with the band in jest. If they aren’t in on the joke then it doesn’t work.
After the show I went to Old Monk’s label eeniemeenie.com to buy a record. At $12 I thought it was a steal, but with shipping to Canada the entire thing comes to $26. Bands, especially up-and-comers make their money off selling records, and more importantly merchandise. There was no way to support this band in such a way that it would help their name spread. No t-shirts and no albums were sold by the band.
As soon as the show ended the band waved goodbye and the live stream was stopped. There was no way for Old Monk to talk to fans, to mingle with the opening acts, to get to know people in the Ottawa music scene that could help them out with shows or tours or collaborations.
This is what is lost when international acts face barriers when trying to come to Canada. They do not take jobs away from Canadian artists. This is an absurd notion that has no basis in reality whatsoever. Art requires collaboration and cooperation not competition and protectionism.
Events such as BANNED are fun, creative and interesting, but they cannot become the norm for live music in Canada. This also seems like it’s an issue that is just small enough that we as individuals could potentially push the government to reverse its position on the matter or at least bring it up for debate in the House of Commons again. A petition has been circulating online for some time now. It has reached 132,000 signatures, and apparently if it gets 150,000 this will re-open the debate on the issue. I don’t know if this is true, but I’d like to find out. So please sign the petition, support your local scene, buy Old Monk’s music and stay tuned for BANNED 2.