The second last night of Bluesfest was actually dry…yes, you heard that correctly. Dry. The beautiful sunny day held in there through the night and concertgoers came out in the thousands to enjoy some vitamin D and live music. The night was packed full of electrifying sets by Mushy Gushy, Night Lovell, Dead Obies, Wide Mouth Mason, and MUSE. Check out some incredible shots by our photographer Els Durnford.
May is always a nice time of year. The tulips start popping out, the trees start getting greener, and it becomes normal to slab some poutine onto your pizza slice. That’s right, May is POUZZA FEST month. In 2015 we took over Montreal and followed some Ottawa bands in a very, very DIY film called Ottawa Invades POUZZA FEST: A Documentary. If you were to watch that, you’d get just a glimpse of how POUZZA usually goes down.
This year, we couldn’t all make it to Montreal, but our photographer-extraordinaire Els Durnford did. Here’s a look at some of the incredible photos she took while diving into all the madness. Enjoy!
Say what you will about the festival, Bluesfest is a huge supporter of local music. They extensively search for Ottawa talent every single year and bring in both established acts as well as newer artists that are looking for that next big opportunity. This year is no exception. Bluesfest organizers have booked in almost 60 local artists to play on the big stages this year. We’ve broken down a list of all the artists from the Ottawa-Gatineau region for you to have a better idea of what to check out while you’re at Bluesfest this year. So go on, explore!
Sat, July 9, 9:30 PM to 10:45 PM – Monster Energy Stage
Amanda Rheaume is an award-winning folk singer songwriter. In 2014 Amanda received a Canadian Folk Music Award for Aboriginal Songwriter and a Juno Nomination for Aboriginal Album. Amanda has graced several stages in the Ottawa area, across Canada and around the world. Her latest album Holding Patterns was produced by another very talented local musician Jim Bryson.
Amos the Transparent
Sun, July 17, 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM – City Stage
Amos the Transparent are a six piece indie folk band the just keep getting better. They started as a studio project 10 years ago and have grown musically and in following in the nation’s capital. Their performance are full of both soft melodies and beautiful vocal harmonies. They just recently released a new single, so fans may be in for a treat of a bunch of new music.
Barry and The Blasters
Sun, July 17, 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM – Monster Energy Stage
Barry and The Blasters is a group of eight musicians from the Old Ottawa South. They’ve have been playing sold-out shows in local clubs in the Ottawa area for more than 10 years. The Blasters include an awesome brass ensemble and a gentlemen that can really rock the harmonica. Make sure to bring your dancing shoes and get ready to boogie to some bluesy rock and some soul.
Sun, July 17, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM – Claridge Homes Stage
The post-punk foursome known as Bonnie Doon draws influences from many places, such beach parties, ghost stories and pizza joints. Armed with distorted vocals, ripping riffs and driving drums Bonnie Doon never fail to impress.
Sun, July 17, 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM – Monster Energy Stage
Brock Zeman is one of Canada’s most prolific singer songwriter having released 11 albums over the years. He may very well be the capitals best kept secrets considering his 2015 release Pulling Your Sword Out of the Devil’s Back was a semifinalist in the International Songwriting Competition and came in second in the The Unsigned Only Competition in 2015. He write very clever and profound songs which he delivers with just the right rasp.
Wed, July 13, 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM – Black Sheep Stage
Carlo are a instrumental surf band with members from both Ottawa and Toronto. Check them out to practice your best beach dance moves like swimming against the air, surfing and the mash potato.
Thu, July 14, 8:15 PM to 9:15 PM – Black Sheep Stage
Born in Pittsburgh now based in Ottawa Jay Williams, better known and Cashtro Crosby lays down some smooth hip-hop. Cashtro thrives on making music about his personal experiences, from the good to the bad, from popping in clubs to millionaire dreams.
Sat, July 9, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM – Claridge Homes Stage
Chris Page perfectly skirts the line of punk rock and folk while playing pop songs on his acoustic guitar. Page has been heavily involved in music in the region having played in Camp Radio, Stand GT and currently playing in Expanda Fuzz. Page’s latest solo release, his fourth, Volume Vs. Voice, was one of my favourite of 2015, not just in Ottawa but period. Chris Page is a must see for fans of The Weakerthans and for people who love it any time a punk rock soul finds himself behind an acoustic guitar.
Wed, July 13, 9:00 PM to 10:15 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
Craig Cardiff is a very talented songwriter and troubadour who builds landscapes of sound using live digital loops, bringing the room to a hush. Beyond his great musical talent, in between songs Craig is an entertainer telling great stories for the crowd, jokes and just loves engaging his audience. A Craig Cardiff set will make you want to cry due to a broken heart one minute and cry of laughter the next.
Wed, July 13, 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
Danielle Allard is an award winning singer songwriter with one of the nicest voices in the capital region. The local talent has been performing well before her teens and graduated of Canterbury High School’s school of music. Danielle is also extremely engaged and active in her community playing countless fundraisers and charity events. Most have seen Danielle solo or as a duo, but for Bluesfest they will be a five-piece and you are surely in for a treat.
Sat, July 16, 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
Danny Albert is a classically trained solo violinist who has been an active performer in the local music scene for many years. He plays a wide variety styles from contemporary to classic rock and the jazz standards all on the violin sometimes accompanied by a few friends on keys. He has opened for bands like The Strumbellas and Oh Susanna.
Thu, July 7, 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM – Casino du Lac-Leamy (Free Programming)
DJ ACRO a veteran of the scene well known for his scratching, mixing and versitility. He is also an in-house DJ for Babylon and Ritual Nightclub, backing artists such as Ghostface Killah, GZA, Cappadonna, Onyx, and opening for the likes of DJ CRAZE, The Underachievers, Mac Miller, M.O.P and DJ Premier just to name a few. In 2015 ACRO competed in the RedBull Thre3style World DJ Championships, battling his way through the East Canada regionals and earning a trip to the National Finals in Winnipeg among the top 6 DJs in Canada.
Thu, July 14, 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM – The Big Chill Stage
Fri, July 15, 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM – The Big Chill Stage
DJ Calkuta is one of many proficient Ottawa DJs making regular parties happen across the city. If he’s not busy getting down to business at SABBATH Sunday night dance parties at Babylon, you can also find him along side his squad in the hip hop group Flight Distance. Wear your deodorant, it’s going to get sweaty.
Wed, July 13, 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM – Casino du Lac-Leamy (Free Programming)
As the city’s best known country DJs, LTP has played alongside and opened up for the likes of Anthony Orio and the Goodfeller’s (number 1 band in Nashville four years running), Tim Hicks, Chad Brownlee, Jason Blaine and Dallas Smith. He has also opened for rapper Classified and rocker Sass Jordan.DJ LTP is currently the house DJ at The Crazyhorse, which has been his home for the last seven years.
Thu, July 14, 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM – Casino du Lac-Leamy (Free Programming)
Sat, July 16, 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM – The Big Chill Stage
Sun, July 17, 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM – The Big Chill Stage
DJ Magnificient is DJ and host of Ottawa’s only monthly night with a focus on soul-funk-motown and vintage reggae on all on 45s called DOUBLE BARREL. The man has been playing records for 23 years now and shows no signs of changing his ways. He is happiest when 7 inches of something funky or soulful at 45 rotations per minute.
Sat, July 16, 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM – Monster Energy Stage
Playing together since the ages of 6, 7 and 9, Dubé started out on the streets busking their way to over $200, 000 for charity. From a humble beginning of three brother busking together on the street outside of Bluesfest to playing some of the world’s largest music festivals and now gracing the stage at Bluesfest.
Fri, July 15, 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM – CF Rideau Centre (Free Programming)
Dylan Phillips is an incredibly talented classical guitar player who will wow you with his finger picking. As a student in the Bachelor of Music, Singer-Songwriter program at Carleton University, Dylan has developed into a mature polymathic musician and songwriter, who is on track to release his first album in 2016 through Physik Records.
Fri, July 8, 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
Fire Antlers is Travis Kinnear, supported by his archaic drum machine (975 Rhythm Ace FR 8L), crafting a unique blend of lo-fi pop and sci-folk that is danceable and layered with internal reflections.
Sat, July 9, 3:00 PM to 3:15 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
Sat, July 9, 7:15 PM to 7:30 PM – Monster Energy Stage
Grace Lachance took the stage for the “SHE’S THE ONE” talent contest at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa in 2015a as 15-year-old musician from Stittsville, Ontario. At the end of the day she walked away the winner. She continues to mature as an artist, even though she has more experience under her belt than most her age, and develop her alternative-pop sound with a touch of new country.
Wed, July 13, 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
Gabrielle Giguere, better known as Her Harbour, has a powerfully haunting voice that reminds you of the voice of a siren luring you into the sea with her music. The music is dark, eerie and very emotional as Giguere strums her auto-harp and her band members add in just the right complementary subtleties. Recently, Giguere has been composing music for television and film, including TV5’s series 2h14. Her Harbour is currently working on her second full-length album, set for release in the spring of 2016.
Sat, July 9, 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
Jill Zmud‘s latest album comes from the discovery of an old dusty reel-to-reel tape in her parents’ Saskatoon home, the very house Jill grew up in. On that tape in a cardboard box were the songs of her musician uncle, Ed Clynton. Ed was a member of the Canadian band Witness Inc. in the 1960’s and 1970’s. This album lead her to play some great country music where she explores themes of loss, hope and unbreakable bonds of family.
Sun, July 10, 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM – CF Rideau Centre (Free Programming)
Jillian Kerr is a singer-songwriter born and raised on the outskirts of Ottawa. Jillian writes lyrics that listeners can relate to, but weaves in hints of mystery in each song. Her songs speak to a depth beyond her years as a songwriter. Her most intriguing quality stems from her unique and soothing voice that leaves audiences wanting more. Jillian recently won the MusikOttawa Singer-Songwriter competition in 2015 performing songs from her debut EP Dreams.
Sun, July 10, 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM – City Stage
Jordan McIntosh is a rising star in the pop-country world. This was solidified when he most recently took home the Rising Star Award at the 2014 Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) Awards and earned a spot as a Top 6 finalist in the CCMA Discovery Program.
Sat, July 16, 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM – Claridge Homes Stage
Just Poets are an Ottawa-based Hip-Hop trio consisting of Ottawa’s most prolific producer Jeepz and emcees Just Peace and Street Scholar. Armed with some of the slickest beats thanks to Jeepz the two emcees don’t shy away from spitting rhymes at the speed of light, but also find comfort in smooth slow jamming.
Wed, July 13, 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM – Claridge Homes Stage
Kelly Prescott inherited some great musical genes thanks to two great Canadians bloodlines, spanning three generations, and she certainly has not squandered that head start. Her natural country voice over a steel guitar and a fiddle is something of beauty for any fan of traditional country music. She has released music under the name Prescott, Kelly Prescott and with a band The Claytones.
Sat, July 9, 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM – CF Rideau Centre (Free Programming)
Not sure if you are feeling roots or soul, well with Kelsey Hayes you don’t have to decide. She combines her powerful soul-jazz vocals over an acoustic guitars and gives you a taste of both on her journey of heartbreak, betrayal and love. Kesley also recently won the MusikOttawa Singer-Songwriter competition in 2015 performing songs off her self-titled debut EP.
Sun, July 17, 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM – Claridge Homes Stage
Want to actually see some blues at Bluesfest? A novel idea I know. Well if you do you can’t miss Lemeow. Sultry, smooth and all about the blues while still keeping it modern. If you love the sounds of Amy Winehouse and upbeat Adele you will love Lemeow.
Lost to the River
Thu, July 7, 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM – Monster Energy Stage
Lost to the River are a dynamic and catchy indie rock band from Ottawa, whose performance always feature a ton of energy. Their songs are intimate, textured, and contain the heart and soul that many of us have come to love about Canadiana folk music. Their critically acclaimed debut received extensive airplay and earned them the 2015 Stingray Rising Star Award.
Sun, July 17, 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM – CF Rideau Centre (Free Programming)
Mark Fossen is a perfect fit for anyone looking to sit down and be swept away by a man and his guitar. His soft voice with a little rasp is an incredible conduit for his emotions and stories.
Sat, July 9, 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM – Monster Energy Stage
Mehdi Hamdad has been playing music since he was a teenager and he’s been organizing and playing shows for over a decade now. The Mehdi Cayenne Club was formed in 2009, on the day Michael Jackson died — June 25. Mehdi is the songwriter in both French and English for all the songs, but completes his pieces with the help of his bandmates Olivier Fairfield and François Gravel. There are few more fitting stages for a performer as Mehdi playing in the Monster ENERGY stage as he is one of the most energetic and frenetic performers I have ever seen
Sun, July 17, 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
Merganzer is the new experimental pop project of Violinist Mika Posen (Timber Timbre, Agnes Obel, Forest City Lovers).In 2013 she moved to Berlin where she visited the graves of her favourite composers, experimented with sounds, and began writing and recording music of her own. After returning to Canada in 2015, she mixed her debut record, Mirror Maze. Merganzer’s songs were primarily built using the “mikatron,” a mellotron-style string machine that she created from 90 different samples of her own violin. A Merganzer performance is really quite an experience, and we strongly recommend it.
Monday I Retire
Sun, July 17, 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
Monday I Retire are led by the powerful vocals of lead singer Mackenzie Di Millo. The five-piece that gracefully and skillfully blends jazz, soul, blues rock with a hint of pop. A standout and highlight of Monday I Retire sets are your urge to dance and to lose yourself in the trumpet solos.
Thu, July 14, 9:30 PM to 10:45 PM – Barney Danson Theatre with featured guests: Paul DesLauriers, Colin Linden, Sue Foley and Jack Broadbent
Fri, July 15, 9:00 PM to 10:15 PM – Barney Danson Theatre with featured guests: Jack de Keyzer, Jeff Lang, Sue Foley and Paul Reddick
Sat, July 16, 9:30 PM to 10:45 PM – Barney Danson Theatre with featured guests: Paul James, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne and Michael Schatt
Sun, July 17, 9:30 PM to 10:45 PM – Black Sheep Stage with featured guests: Paul Reddick, Lance Anderson and some special surprises
Monkey Junk have quite the interest task and honour at this year’s Bluesfest. The juno award-winners and Ottawa swamp-rock, roots and blues icons will be hosting a not-to-be-missed Blues Revue during the final four days of the ‘fest. Every night they will be joined by different special guests and supported The Texas Horns, a unit that has the ability to adapt on the fly, often minutes before the performance, and have become a permanent fixture at the RBC Bluesfest.
Sat, July 16, 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
Pipahauntas is local artist Sam Pippa’s (Organ Eyes, Blue Angel) solo project. This project sounds very different from the bands she plays in. No guitar or bass here – she is armed with a laptop, pedals and a microphone, delivering trip hop and lo-fi rumblings. Pipahauntaus’ music is great for late night cruise with your windows down with the wind slowly gracing your cheeks and flowing in your hair.
Pith and the Parenchymas
Sat, July 16, 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM – Black Sheep Stage
Pith and the Parenchymas are a duo employing an extremely modern and spacey blend of folk timbres with the techniques and tools of electronic music. They are breaking down barriers and creating sounds that you won’t find anywhere else. Beware of musical geniuses at work.
Scary Bear Soundtrack
Sun, July 17, 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
Scary Bear Soundtrack have a lot kilometers on their treads. The band originally based in Ottawa, packed up and moved to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut and has now returned to be based in the nation’s capital. The indie synth-pop project is very politically-conscious and actively promotes inclusion in the Ottawa music scene. Their song “Fault Lines,” about violence against women, made it to the national final Top 4 in CBC Music’s Searchlight competition for Canada’s Best New Artist.
Thu, July 7, 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
Scattered Clouds is a dark, experimental, post-apocalyptic three-piece rock group, from Hull, QC, led by bassist, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Philippe Charbonneau (Hilotrons, Evening Hymns, Jim Bryson). The band also features the wild Mike Dubue (HILOTRONS) and multi-talented drummer Jamie Kronick. A Scattered Clouds show is so powerful as Philippe’s singing will haunt your dreams in the best way possible, while Mike creates sounds most people can’t even think of and as Jamie Kronick puts on a display behind the drums.
Sat, July 9, 6:00 PM to 7:15 PM – Monster Energy Stage
Silver Creek are sometimes soulful, twangy, driving and loud, but never stray far from what they truly are; just a good old rock and roll band. They have been compared to The Band, Allman Brothers, Blue Rodeo and Neil Young, but make sure to carve out their own space to be their own band.
Sun, July 10, 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM – Claridge Homes Stage
Hailing from both sides of the Ottawa River, with family ties and strong friendship the six-piece known as the Steamers play folk music you just have to stomp, clap and sing a long to. They call it power folk and one sing in you will understand as they vary from slow darker sounds to upbeat speedy blasts. Every member of the band sings and they perform both in English and French. There really is something for everyone at a Steamers show.
Steve Adamyk Band
Fri, July 15, 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM – City Stage
Steve Adamyk is the most prolific punk rocker in Ottawa if not Canada. The man has been pumping out punk and power-pop for years now. With his band, Steve Adamyk Band, they have sold almost 10,000 physical vinyl records alone and have toured Europe, Japan, U.S. and Canada many times over. If you love quick, catchy, high energy songs and watching a bunch of buddies have an amazing time then you need to see the Steve Adamyk Band perform. They also happen to be playing in the opening slot for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I wonder how many songs they can fit into an hour long set… show up and find out.
Suits n toques
The Chocolate Hot Pockets
Fri, July 15, 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
If you’re looking for the real deal when it comes to instrumental musicianship, The Chocolate Hot Pockets are your band. This band takes jazz / fusion, funk and soul and smashes them together for an all-out flurry of sounds from across the musical spectrum. They embrace the weird, and the weird embrace them.
The Heavy Medicine Band
Fri, July 8, 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM Claridge Homes Stage
In the musical apothecary, take one part psychedelic onslaught of haunting instrumentals, and one part vocal prowess. Mix the two together and the concoction you end up with will induce tremors of the spine. The Heavy Medicine Band are a force to be reckoned with in Ottawa. Keturah Johnson is easily one of Ottawa’s most stunning and breathtaking vocalists, and her abilities are only accentuated on the live stage. Don’t miss this band.
The Jesse Greene Band
Thu, July 14, 6:00 PM to 6:45 PM – Black Sheep Stage
The Jesse Greene Band are the kind of act that you might expect to find in a Chicago dive bar. As you’re sipping on your whiskey amongst the motley bunch of shady figures, The Jesse Greene Band rocks away in the corner, filling the place with genuine blues rock that doesn’t quit. Greene’s raspy vocals and Luke Donovan’s irresistibly intricate guitar riffs are sure to put the “blues” in Bluesfest this year.
The Jimmy Tri-Tone Band
Sun, July 10, 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM – Black Sheep Stage
This husband-wife duo form Almonte, ON, are just another example of the quality of musicianship coming out of small towns in the Ottawa region. While the spark of romance exists off the stage for this group, there’s no shortage of chemistry on stage either. Take a break and check these guys out for some good ol’ folk rock.
Sat, July 16, 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM – City Stage
Let me just start by saying that few bands in town have as much energy on stage as The Lionyls. These guys are a tried and true rock n’ roll band that truly live up to the ferocity in their name. They’re one of those bands that you see jumping around on stage having fun and think to yourself, “how can they still sound so good?” They have perfected the art of groove and are ready to deliver to the crowd at Bluesfest this year.
The Lucas Haneman Express
Fri, July 8, 6:00 PM to 6:45 PM – Black Sheep Stage
This train’s leaving, and you’re going to want to get on board. From quiet and subdued bluesy jams to explosive crescendoes abounding with dynamic riffs and rhythms, The Lucas Haneman Express is a 4-piece blues rock ensemble that electrifies audiences. Whether its on the big stage at Bluesfest, or a smaller one at the Black Sheep Inn, this group will get any crowd in the palm of their hand.
Sun, July 17, 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM – City Stage
The Peptides have garnered acclaim and earned a reputation in town for putting on fun, choreographed shows to go along with their music. When you go to see this band, it feels like you’re at a Broadway musical with over-the-top theatrics, wild hair and makeup, and visually stunning stage effects. The Peptides blend all kinds of music, such as pop, funk and soul, to bring us a high-energy, high-octane live shows.
Sun, July 17, 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM – Monster Energy Stage
The Powergoats are a rock n’ roll outfit that music fans of all ages will appreciate. These guys toy with a lot of different sounds, utilizing more than just guitar and drums – they incorporate piano, daring harmonies, and some pretty rad effects too. You’ll even hear tinges of blues and reggae in their songs, too. Singer Jamie Douglas’ strong stage presence matches the power of the sounds coming out of the speakers, all proving that this isn’t just band with a sweet name.
The Red Rails
Fri, July 15, 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM Claridge Homes Stage
The Red Rails have turned heads in Ottawa since forming in 2012, having played countless shows and given audiences a dose of their brand of rock. Vocalist Kim Vincent’s dynamic vocals could be compared to that of Anthony Kedis or Josh Homme, but the truth is he’s got his own thing going on. The band’s 70’s stadium rock and 90’s grunge influences come through loud and clear, something which will be sure to get audiences moving at Bluesfest this year.
The Slow Century
Sun, July 17, 3:00 PM > 4:00 PM Monster Energy Stage
What if you were sitting at your cubicle, and your co-worker comes up to you and says “Hey, let’s start a band.” Would you do it? Well these guys certainly did. The Slow Century is comprised of a few journalists here in town, Ottawa Sun writers Aedan Helmer and Tony Spears. They began writing different kinds of stories through music once they officially got together in 2013, incorporating bluesy riffage and an alt rock sound that audiences love.
The Wicked Mercy
Sat, July 16, 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM – Monster Energy Stage
When you hear the sound of raw, crunchy, whiskey-soaked rock n’ roll electrifying the airwaves, it’s probably The Wicked Mercy coming to take your soul. OK, maybe not your soul, but their music is a perfect blend of high-energy rock mixed in with some pretty intricate blues-inspired guitar riffs that almost act like a second lead vocalist.
Fri, July 15, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Claridge Homes Stage
Readers of Ottawa Showbox know very well that The Yips are one of our favourite local bands. Why? They take everything we love about fuzzed-out garage rock and multiply it tenfold. Kerri Carisse’s wild, piercing vocals are infectious and compliment the Jon Schofield’s crunchy lead guitar and Kurt Rafuse’s maniacal bass lines. Catch The Yips for a transformative live experience.
Sun, July 10, 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM Barney Danson Theatre
When you first hear Thrust, immediately you know that there’s something special going on. Fusing jazz, funk and soul with elements of hip hop and electronic music, this band takes an improvisational approach to their music and create soundscapes for us to meander in. Using a myriad of instruments, they will leave you wondering how a trio can pack such a punch.
Fri, July 15, 6:00 PM to 6:45 PM – Black Sheep Stage
Training Season is a local hip hop collective is led by rapper/songwriter GPxTempest (aka GP), rapper/songwriter King Caexar (aka Caexar), and singer/songwriter Queen (aka Q). They take minimalist samples and layer some smooth beats and intelligent lyrics to create smooth, jazzy hip hop. Their collabs with producers are on-point, too, and this crew is certainly one to keep an eye out for on the Canadian hip hop scene.
Treasure Dub Quartet
Sat, July 9, 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM – Black Sheep Stage
You don’t see many dub bands these days, and the good stuff – the lo-fi Jamaican recordings – can only be found on our record shelves. But the Treasure Dub Quartet is bringing it back. The band consists of a few extremely prolific Ottawa musicians: Adam Saikaley on guitar; Alex Moxon on bass; Philippe Charbonneau on Dub Station; and Michel Delage on drums. They bring together everything we love about dub of old – groove heavy bass lines, fluttering drum patterns, and trippy sound effects. Light one up for these guys.
Fri, July 8, 9:00 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
The Split have garnered a reputation for inducing hip-moving, booty-shaking dance parties in front of the stage. This veteran neo-soul band takes elements of classic soul music and gives it modern spin. Matthew Chaffey’s distinct vocal style adds some grittiness to their live performance, and fits perfectly with the mean brass section and unrelenting rhythm behind him. Don’t believe me about the dance party thing? Watch the video below.
Thu, July 7, 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM – Barney Danson Theatre
Tyler Kealy is a veteran of the scene, and has been relentlessly active for over a decade. You don’t see many piano players making a name for themselves these days, but Kealy’s style is something music fans of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy. He’s shared the stage with names like Great Big Sea’s Alan Doyle, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Blues Brother Dan Ackroyd, and continues to play shows several times per week. He’s getting set to release a new album this summer, but until then catch him play a set at Bluesfest – fittingly at the Barney Danson Theatre.
Sat, July 9, 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM – City Stage
Don’t know Yusso? You should know Yusso. We love Yusso. This guy is a hidden gem of the Ottawa hip hop scene, bringing together unorthodox samples, intelligent lyricism, and a distinct flow. He’s a real-deal emcee and he displays that talent every show he plays. He’s the kind of artist that has something to say, and when he performs he makes sure to deliver that message to audiences.
CityFolk, formerly known as Ottawa Folk Festival, has announced its initial lineup for the Sept. 16-20, 2015, festivities. This new incarnation of the festival will take place at the new Lansdowne Park next to TD Place, in an area called “The Great Lawn.” The lineup includes some huge names, such as legendary acts like Van Morrison, Wilco, and Lucinda Williams, as well as more recent ones like Of Monsters and Men, Walk Off The Earth, Sun Kil Moon, and Will Butler of Arcade Fire.
Although no local acts have yet been named, we know that there are some major plans to include many Ottawa-area acts in the festival. There will be more acts named in the near future, so be sure to check Showbox for updates. See some videos below of some selected CityFolk artists.
A limited number of tickets will be sold on Thursday, June 4 from 10 a.m. until midnight. Regular sales will be starting Friday, June 5.
As the warm weather is finally upon us (I think?), it’s time to get into summer mode and have some fun. Ottawa Showbox is going to make May its busiest month ever as we present seven—that’s right—SEVEN events. Not to mention that the legendary Mugshots courtyard will be open for business starting tonight. So check out these events and enjoy some nice cold ones with us this month!
MAY 7 – SLOW DOWN MOLASSES | SAINT CLARE | HER HARBOUR @ MUGSHOTS. $10/8PM/19+
MAY 9 – CHRIS PAGE ALBUM RELEASE PARTY W/ JON PEARCE @ RAW SUGAR. $10/9PM/19+
Next week marks the inaugural Megaphono festival, taking place on Feb. 3-5. What is Megaphono, you may ask?
Megaphono is an is “an Ottawa-based music organization focused on building opportunities for Ottawa-area artists and music companies“. The organizers are seeking to accomplish this by putting on a range of events and panels during the week, and showcase what Ottawa’s music scene has to offer. Ottawa has such a strong music community and plenty of healthy sub-communities within its borders. The showcases feature over 40 artists from Ottawa and beyond, taking place at venues around the city will highlight some of the best musical talent in Ottawa, and gives attendees a unique opportunity to check out a broad spectrum of incredible artists.
In the past, Megaphono’s main focus was acting as a synch license company, pitching music for film, television, new media and advertising. The organization still continues to do this, but now has the festival as a main focus as well. The expansion of Megaphono into a festival that includes showcase concerts and music industry panels is a major step towards enhancing the visibility of Ottawa’s music scene on a national and international scale.
While Ottawa remains a relatively insular music community, steps are being taken to bridge other music industry centres with that community (e.g. Arboretum Festival, inclusion of local acts at Bluesfest/Cityfolk). A bonus is being able to see a concert on Wednesday, Feb. 4th, in the Diefenbunker, which could possibly be one of the coolest shows ever. We are also very happy to be co-presenting two shows throughout the festival at the House of Targ on Tuesday and Dominion Tavern on Thursday.
Be sure to come out and participate at Megaphono, there will be plenty of interesting panel discussions taking place during the day if you are able to skip work for a few hours.Festivities kick off at noon on Tuesday, Feb. 3rd, with the official tape cutting ceremony with Mayor Watson at Ottawa City Hall. Megaphono and local songwriter Andrew Vincent teamed up to conduct a groundbreaking and unprecedented in-depth profile of Ottawa’s music community, including responses from over 800 individuals and data collected from FACTOR and SOCAN. We will likely be hearing some of the findings of this research at the kick-off ceremony.
Below we have laid out the festival schedule day-by-day, which can help you figure out what events to attend. You can also find a Bandcamp playlist of MEGAPHONO Vol. 7 containing many of this year’s participating bands and musicians. Oh, did I mention there is a concert in the Diefenbunker?
Panelists: Andrew Vincent (author of Connecting Ottawa Music) / Kwende Kefentse (City of Ottawa) / Shain Shapiro (Sound Diplomacy)
Moderator: Alan Neal (CBC)
After the official festival launch (a 2″-tape cutting ceremony no less!), independent consultant Andrew Vincent and Kwende Kefentse (City of Ottawa) will present findings from the recently-completed Ontario Music Fund-supported paper Connecting Ottawa Music.
This profile of Ottawa’s music industries compiles responses from over 800 local musicians and 50 music businesses. It also identifies recommendations for ways to move forward as an industry and help to build Ottawa as a musical hub.
Location: City Hall – Council Chambers (110 Laurier Avenue W.)
PANEL: WEARING ALL THE HATS
Panelists: Lynn Miles / Mike Dubue (HILOTRONS) / Jim Bryson / Matt Ouimet
Local artist entrepreneurs discuss the ins and outs of grinding out a career as a musician. From studio engineering to composition to production to live sound, this group wears a lot of hats. These panelists will talk about how they balance all of their different musical roles and make it work.
Location: Galerie SAW Gallery (67 Nicholas St.)
PANEL: PLACING YOUR MUSIC IN TV
AH, the mysterious world of music supervision. How does music get chosen for TV shows? And what can artists do to best position themselves to get their music heard by these decision makers? Come and hear from the people who choose music for shows likeDegrassi and The Blacklist and get some tips on how to get your CD to the top of the pile.
Panelists: Malia Hall (Mothlight) / Mikaila Simmons (Instinct Entertainment) / Liana Tassone (Third Side Music)
Tickets: $8 adv / $10 door. Online tickets available now (link below). Paper tickets on sale Friday January 16 at Vertigo Records (193 Rideau) and Compact Music Inc. locations (206 Bank & 785 Bank).
Wednesday, Feb. 4
PANEL: A TRIBE CALLED RED
Panelists: Guillaume Decouflet (Valeoprod/Craft Services) / Deejay NDN (A Tribe Called Red) / Adam Countryman (Agency Group)
A look at the tremendous rise of Ottawa’s greatest musical export since Alanis. This Juno-award winning DJ collective and their core team discuss their successes and how they built a musical mammoth out of Ottawa.
Location: Galerie SAW Gallery (67 Nicholas St.)
NETWORKING: SPEED MEETINGS I
All FULL PASS and WEDNESDAY DAY PASS holders will have the option of signing up for an exclusive opportunity to meet one-on-one with our out-of-town invited guests in a round of 7-minute speed meetings (held on both Wednesday and Thursday). Come make some new friends with local artists and industry professionals from Canada and the US!
Location: Novotel Ottawa Hotel (33 Nicholas St.)
PANEL: JUST THE SIZE OF MONTREAL
Panelists: Dan Seligman (Pop Montreal) / Andre Guerette (Guerette Agency) / Michaël Bardier (Heavy Trip)
Too big or too small? For a lot of Ottawa-based artists, Montreal’s live music market has always been a tough nut to crack. Hear from some of that city’s key music players on the particular challenges of building an audience in Montreal, the differences between its Franco and Anglo scenes, and tips on what you can do to improve your chances of success in everyone’s favourite weekend party destination.
Location: Galerie SAW Gallery (67 Nicholas St.)
THE HINTONBURG HANG WITH HER HARBOUR + JIM BRYSON + FUTURE STATES + WINCHESTER WARM + SILVER CREEK + JACK PINE & THE FIRE
A Pay-What-You-Can afternoon of sounds in two of Hintonburg’s favourite music-friendly spaces!
Tickets: $20 adv with bus service* / $10 adv without bus / $15 door. Online tickets available now (link below). Paper tickets on sale Friday January 16 at Vertigo Records (193 Rideau) and Compact Music Inc. locations (206 Bank & 785 Bank).
* Includes return bus service (pickup/drop-off points at Nicholas/Daly and Hintonburg Hang)
One of the most important pain points for today’s up-and-coming artists is convincing an agent to sign you. Our panel of booking agents will help you decipher the mystery of how they find and sign new acts, and what it takes to put pen to paper.
Location: Galerie SAW Gallery (67 Nicholas St.)
NETWORKING: SPEED MEETINGS II
All FULL PASS and THURSDAY DAY PASS holders will have the option of signing up for an exclusive opportunity to meet one-on-one with our out-of-town invited guests in a round of 7-minute speed meetings (held on both Wednesday and Thursday). Come make some new friends with local artists and industry professionals from Canada and the US!
Location: Novotel Ottawa Hotel (33 Nicholas St.)
PANEL: THE SPIRIT OF RADIO
Panelists: Tom Power (CBC) / Erin Flynn (CHUO-FM) / Dave Aardvark (CKCU)
Tips from key local and national campus/community and public radio personalities and producers on how to get their attention and to get your music played. Do CD mailouts still make sense, or has everyone gone digital? How does the musical selection process work at campus and community radio and the CBC? Get your radio questions answered here.
Location: Galerie SAW Gallery (67 Nicholas St.)
SLIGHTLY LEFT OF CENTRETOWN WITH JEREMY FISHER + AMANDA RHEAUME + JILL ZMUD + CATRIONA STURTON + MEHDI CAYENNE CLUB + KRISTINE ST-PIERRE
A Pay-What-You-Can afternoon in two of West Centretown’s hippest spots with some of Ottawa’s best singer-songwriters!
Our first interview for 457 The Edge was supposed to be for Feed the Need back in December of last year!
Thankfully, we can do it this year!
What is Feed the Need about?
Trinity: Hey James – Thanks for having us – glad to be back on Ottawa Showbox! This is the 8th Annual FEED THE NEED ft. SKATE4HUNGER Event at 457 THE EDGE and we are stoked! FEED THE NEED is all about raising awareness & food/items for the homeless & the hungry this Christmas season. Bands, Djs, Skaters and people in general Unite for One Epic night, supporting the Cause of Justice.
James: Eight years strong, thousands have joined the movement and made a difference in the lives of many people and families in need; bringing hope to those who have little to nothing at all by meeting the practical need, and showing someone cares when they may feel like they’re alone. Especially at Christmas time.
When is the Feed the Need going down?
James: FTN2014 is goin’ down This Friday, December 5th, at 457 THE EDGE [105 Slack Road], beginning at 7PM. It’s Free Admission, but bringing canned goods/non-perishables and items for the homeless will help the cause as well as give you free entry into the night’s grand prize draws.
Are there any special events happening with Feed the Need being the last show of 2014?
Trinity: What better way to end off 2014 than rocking out to six amazing bands, huge skateboarding competitions, massive prizing, intense gaming, all while helping those less fortunate have a great Christmas?! Sounds epic to me!
What do you guys have planned for 2015?
Trinity: We have a number of shows and events lined up for the new year, people can keep posted to our website REVOLUTION457.com and our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram pages for all the latest news and updates. @457theedge @revolution457
Tell us what we can win through the contests or through giveaways?
James: This night is all about FEED.2.WIN*: when attendees bring out 5 or more canned goods/items for the homeless & hungry (see website for details on what to bring) they receive Free Entry into the Grand Prize Draws for a chance to Win a Pro Model Complete New Beginnings Skateboard, an Element Pro Model Skateboard signed by Pro Skater Nick Garcia, or a 32″ Flat Screen LED HD TV! As well there will be tons more draws & giveaways for gift cards, merch, skate shoes, cds, etc., plus epic SKATE4HUNGER competition packages from the night’s skate sponsors.
What bands / DJ’s do you have performing this years Feed The Need?
Trinity: Six amazing bands will be rocking the 457Stage for the Cause! 457SUBJECT2CHANGE will be opening the night; these guys are amazing. If you haven’t seen them yet, you don’t want to miss it. As well as Inside Out! from Gatineau, Ottawa Student Showcase winners Project Mayhem, Poppunkers Lees Avenue, and also, Walls of Troy and Standing on Oblivion bringing the Heavy-heavy. DJ Mattro and Jammin’ Julez are also coming back to 457 to spin the dj beats throughout the night and keep the place pumpin’! Sure to be an action packed event for a huge cause! Not a night to miss!
It’s not every weekday that you see a music venue fill up with patrons, but the last Thursday a good-sized crowd at House of Targ. It’s no wonder, as the lineup was stacked and local psych-garage trio Organ Eyes were also releasing their new tape Daze Pace. This release, for me, was the focal point of the night, but Blonde Elvis and Hooded Fang wowed reckless late-night showgoers, myself included.
The show was co-presented by Arboretum Festival, Exclaim!, and Debaser, who are all trusted music masters in their own right. The night was pushed back a bit as the first opener, Blonde Elvis, got stuck in some pretty brutal traffic on their way from Toronto. Anyone who has traveled that stretch of the 401 knows that it can be a hellish few hours of driving, especially if things get slowed down by commuter traffic or a crash. We’re just glad they made it safe, and no one complained as one or two beers were consumed before the music started.
Blonde Elvis at House of Targ, Nov. 27
It wasn’t long before the Blonde Elvis took the stage and performed a quick but strong set. Since they were a bit late, lead singer Jesse James Laderoute made it clear that they would try to keep it going as they were tight for time. But that didn’t stop him from making light of the situation and joking around, making the crowd chuckle. They launched into their song “slow fall on egypt,” which absolutely blew me away. Laderoute’s vocals were bang-on, and he didn’t miss a note. Along with his other past project Young Mothers, he used to be involved with Slim Twig a few years back, and I can hear some of that sonic remainder in Blonde Elvis’s music. These guys are amongst a really great group of bands in Toronto, and are sure to keep achieving more success as time goes on. I really enjoyed their high energy set, and hope to see them in Ottawa again soon. I just wish I had seem them open of Thee Oh Sees last week in T.O.!
Organ Eyes new tape ‘Daze Pace’ and the Targ Zine
Local psych rockers Organ Eyes were up next, and it was a big night for them. Although not the headliners, they shared the glory because Thursday night was the tape release for their new album Daze Pace. They are one of the main reasons I Targ’d it up – I find Organ Eyes to be such a mystical, strange band in Ottawa. I mean that in the best way possible. The talented trio, made up of guitarist/vocalist Sam Pippa, bassist/vocalist Cam Steacy, and drummer Jon Bennet, are not the kind of group to settle on one sound or style. Coming off the release of their atmospheric album Visual Meetings in January 2014, Daze Pace seems like an opportunity for the band to experiment a little more and inject some rawness into the mix. Organ Eyes explored their lo-fi garage rock side with songs such as “Boca Breeze,” Spooky Cough,” and “Dog Gone,” but also stir things up with more melodic songs such as “Skinny Girl” and “Hardly Know Her.”
The set opened with an unreleased track called “Papavangelou,” and was comprised of most of the heavier garage tunes on the new album. After Cam gave Showbox a very nice shoutout, the band played my favourite song on the album, “Cave Song” (how did you know, Cam?). The deep, muffled bass line and tame verses exploded into a catchy and distorted chorus, all while flowing with bizarre lyrics from Cam. The song makes the listener feel like they’re spiralling downward as it progresses – and I love every second of it.
Organ Eyes closed out the set with another great tune called “Cocoon,” leaving us all wanting more. They certainly riled up the crowd and gained a few new fans at Targ, and hopefully sold lots of their really sweet neon green cassettes!
The final band to come on were the indie rockers from Toronto, Hooded Fang. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I hadn’t really heard them before, but myself and many others were really getting into it once the band hit their stride. They had a bit of guitar trouble during their second song, but luckily Jesse James Laderoute swooped in and saved the day by supplying his axe. The band jammed on during the transition and everything went smoothly. Their music is slightly disjointed, but has a really funky groove that any listener could get into. As the set went on, everyone seemed to ease up even more and get into the rhythm. I really enjoyed the tones and reverb of the guitar, it reminded me of that surf sound that I love so much with a hint of punk influences in there. The arrangements were captivating and the aesthetic of their music translated really well live, which was aided by the new sound system at Targ – I really noticed a difference in the overall audio quality from past performances during Hooded Fang’s set. I couldn’t stay the whole time, which was a bummer because I was really into their performance. But hey, unfortunately buses don’t run all night long!
We here at Ottawa Showbox are officially putting out a call for submissions for Throwback Thursdays. We want to hear from you with your stories from days gone by. It’s our belief that these stories help to put together a cultural history of the music scene, and even more, build a collection of stories and perspectives from a diverse group of people. Maybe there’s some lost footage or photos out there that most of us have never seen before, or perhaps a favourite band or show from decades ago that may stand the test of time.
– Which Ottawa band was your favourite back in the day? Why?
– Is there a particularly memorable show that you went to? Tell us about it!
– Was there a popular (or underground) club that used to put on great shows regularly?
– Is there an album from the past by a local band that is close to you? Tell us why!
– If you were/are in a local band, got any ridiculous tour stories for us?
– Is there a person that is/was an integral part of the scene that deserves an honourable mention?