Masks. Clouds of smoke. Decked-out pickup trucks. Skulls. These are all reasons to love Ottawa surf-punk queens Bonnie Doon.
But there’s so much more to them than that. Their brand of fuzzed-out, bass-heavy sludge-rock is meant to captivate audiences and shock the senses. Their energy, weirdness, and overall “we do whatever the fuck we want” attitudes are what really define this group as something special.
Bonnie Doon’s latest album Dooner Nooner (released on Record Store Records) is an acid trip through and through, and will take you from heavier face-punching tracks like the opener “Haunted Life,” to wild lo-fi experiments like the closer “B-Hole.” Their latest video for “Now or Neverish,” which premiered on Clash Music this week, is probably unlike any you’ve ever seen—and it comes just in time for Halloween. Take a dash of classic surf rock, a pinch of doom, and a swig of spiked punch, and that’s what “Now or Neverish” feels like spinning on the turntable. But, you need to see it to believe it.
Watch the new video for “Now or Neverish” by Bonnie Doon below. Produced by MAVN.Stream and purchase Dooner Nooner here. Be sure to catch Bonnie Doon live at House of Targ on October 10, along with Weaves and Organ Eyes. Ticket info here.
Back in May, we celebrated our five-year anniversary with a couple of shows at The Record Centre. That was a whole lot of fun, but we’re not quite done yet. Because why stop there?
Over the past five years we’ve had the opportunity to meet countless musicians in Ottawa, go to hundreds of shows, and really dig deep into the music landscape here. These artists continue to impress us, inspire us, and keep us doing what we do. It’s been our mission and raison d’être to support these musicians through coverage of new album releases, interviews, live reviews, and much more.
We’ve put together a compilation called Five Years – Ottawa 2012-2017 which contains music that has impacted us since Showbox started in 2012. This span of five years, in our mind, was a crucial period in the Ottawa music scene. More DIY musicians than ever before came out of the woodwork and made albums, and many were released independently without labels. Some music was underground, some wasn’t.
Different types of music pervaded throughout this period, demonstrating Ottawa’s potential hub in the Canadian landscape. Our hope is that this compilation will act as a snapshot of a strong and robust local music scene in Ottawa between 2012-2017, and allow folks to have a view into the music that came out during this period. It goes between garage, punk, hip hop, folk, and
While we could have double or tripled the size of this compilation with all the incredible artists out there, we kept it modest and capped it at 51. So while this list is encompassing, it’s certainly not meant to be comprehensive by any stretch. Please enjoy a free stream and download of the Five Years – Ottawa 2012-2017 compilation below.
A huge thank you to all the artists who contribute their music to this compilation, and to Pascale Arpin for designing such a good album cover. Enjoy!
The compilation is PWYC, and any proceeds will be donated to Girls+ Rock Ottawa in memory of Jean Sebastien Belleau. A special fund in his name has been established for the maintenance, repair and preservation of their growing instrument library, made in the spirit of honouring JS’ much deserved legacy as a passionate supporter of the Ottawa music scene.
The Famines are a Montreal-based noise garage music duo made up of Raymond Biesinger (who also happens to be an incredible illustrator) and Drew Demers. But they are not just a band, the duo is also a “DIY-minded experimental record label thing” called Pentagon Black.
In early 2016 Pentagon Black released it’s first compilation containing 23 unreleased songs from bands from across the country as a 20×30″ double-sided newsprint art poster with download code. They had 17 compilation release shows including 30 bands at various locations across the country for it. In April 2017, they did it again with compilation number 2, once again on 20×30″ double-sided newsprint art poster with a download code.
Pentagon Black are back with another compilation, and while they stayed true to their other compilations, they changed it up a little. Pentagon Black Compilation No. 3 is a “phone comp.” It is named as such as 16 diverse bands between Edmonton and Saint John recorded original unreleased tracks live via phone (no multi tracking allowed). This time they went with a smaller format of a 6X6″ postcard with download code.
Eric took some time to discuss with drummer Drew Demers about being a band and being a record label, as well as the story behind the compilation and the inclusion of bands from Ottawa.
Interview with Drew Demers of The Famines/Pentagon Black
What inspired/motivated the two of you to not only be a band but be a label?
Drew Demers: After releasing music on vinyl for the better part of a decade, we realized that it was becoming increasingly difficult to manage/produce. Turn-around times don’t work in anyone’s favor. We were sitting on a recorded full length and didn’t want to have to wait an additional 4 or 5 months just to get a test pressing back. On top of that, the cost was just too great for us to be enthused about it anymore, so we decided that we would just produce things as cheaply and quickly as we could on our own.
[…] we weren’t really trying to establish anything specific. We are a punk band, and so we typically play with like-sounding artists.
Subsequently what pushed you to put out these trans-Canadian compilations?
Drew Demers: We had already released a single and a record on the newsprint poster format, the latter as Pentagon Black and the former in partnership with Psychic Handshake in Montreal. We were discussing what to do next, and the idea started as a split record with The Famines on one side, and then another band on the other. The problem was, we were at odds over whether it was going to be Century Palm or Kappa Chow. We played a show with a ton of pals at this crazy fest called Strangewaves outside of Hamilton.
The lineup included a ton of bands that ended up on the first compilation, and it was beautiful because there was hardly anybody at the show outside of band members. We all just got up and played for each other and there was this sense of communal spirit behind everything. It took us maybe one day to realize that we needed to make something bigger and connect more scenes together, and the first compilation was born out of that notion. BTW, the lineup for that show: Strange Attractor, The Famines, TV Freaks, Mick Futures, Century Palm, Kappa Chow, Lizzie Boredom, and Flesh Rag.
How did you select the bands and decide how you wanted the first two to sound?
Drew Demers: The first compilation was an amalgamation of friends we’d made on tour. There really weren’t that many artists we didn’t personally know on the thing. The second time around, we wanted to focus on hitting specific zones we hadn’t traveled to in a while, and so we enlisted some close friends to give us suggestions on who we should talk to that might be interested in a project such as ours. There are a small handful of people involved in the second compilation we’ve actually never met.
In terms of the sound that we were going for, we weren’t really trying to establish anything specific. We are a punk band, and so we typically play with like-sounding artists. There is an obvious tonal undercurrent that runs through all three of the compilations, but there are significant departures happening on each of them as well.
What makes this third compilation special?
Drew Demers: This third compilation is all about spirit. The songs are rough, in many cases unfinished, and in all cases under-produced. It’s exciting to think that sonically it’s an even playing-ground for each of the tracks. For the most part, it sounds like all the bands recorded in basically the same room with the same gear. It’s also special because it’s the first time we’ve outsourced the art side of things. Historically Raymond has taken care of the art side of Pentagon Black/The Famines, but this time we placed the project in the esteemed hands of Lisa Czech. We explained the project to her and she absolutely nailed the chaos with her cover art.
This has been our most inexpensive and rapid turnover for a compilation. The postcards cost basically nothing to print, and all of the bands recorded their tracks in a three week time frame. Also of note – this one was released not too long after our second compilation, and it came out as a surprise. We were originally planning on dropping it the day of our showcase at Ottawa Explosion, but instead we just decided to jump the gun because we felt like it this week, and a project like this allows us the freedom to do that.
I am excited to see Ottawa bands on all three comps, what drew you to the Ottawa bands you selected ?
Drew Demers: We have a ton of respect and admiration for The Yips, and knew that we couldn’t release our first comp without them involved. Bonnie Doon are officially Pentagon Black royalty. They were on the first two comps, and played both the compilation releases with us in Montreal. Deathsticks are actually fairly new acquaintances of ours, but we feel connected by the sisterhood of two piece bands. They were suggested to us via our pal Karol aka garbageface in Peterborough. We can’t wait to play with them and hang out with them in Ottawa next weekend!
If you track Raymond or myself down in person, we can become pen pals and send you a postcard.
If you’re a little more adventurous, you can head to a show in your town featuring any of the 48 bands we’ve worked with and ask them very kindly to dig one out for you.
What do The Famines and Pentagon Black have planned next?
Drew Demers: Famines have a couple things up our sleeves, including but not limited to writing material for a full length album to come out under Pentagon Black sometime in the next decade. Ottawa Explosion is actually the only show we have booked right now, and it’s exciting facing a blank canvas. As for Pentagon Black, we intend to keep things fast and easy. After releasing the PRIORS record, we realized that we’re open to the idea of putting out music for other bands and want to move forward with that in the future, however that will work.
Night two of MEGAPHONO took me to Black Squirrel Books to see Bonnie Doon and Lonely Parade.
There is something very interesting about watching bands play surrounded by shelves stocked full with books. The intersection of serious songs and historical works with lighter and sillier tracks and the graphic novels is quite fascinating to me.
Lonely Parade playing at Black Squirrel books – Photo: Els Durnford
Unfortunately I arrived too late to catch Scary Bear Soundtrack, but heard they did a wonderful job as usual. Fortunately I did make it in time for Lonely Parade, the great three-piece from Peterborough. A lot of the songs they played were new songs and didn’t have names yet, they introduced two songs as “That was just New 3 and this next one is New 5.” It has been a lot of fun watching the band grow up in front of my eyes over the years and these new songs certainly show them tightening up musically. They have come a long way from when I discovered them and their song “My Mom Got Hit on at a Punk Show,” four years ago.
Lonely Parade also found time to squeeze in some of their “older” songs much to the joy of many there, including the tracks “Johnny Utah” and “Night Cruise.” They also dedicated a song to Bonnie Doon and mentioned how excited they were as “We are totally going to pizza shark later.”
Lesley Demon rocking out at Black Squirrel Books – Photo: Els Durnford
Bonnie Doon took the stage with a couple of members in cheerleader regalia and pompoms cheering for the Ottawa U Gee Gees. Bonnie Doon also played a lot of new songs and let us know that a new album is coming out this spring on Record Centre Records. Some of these new songs saw the band being joined by saxophone player Mara. It was a very unexpected and cool addition to their noisy garage sound. A lot of their stage banter revolved around their love for Buchipop culminating with the band playing a song they called “Buchipop Hole,” cementing their love for refreshing local kambucha beverage brand. They capped off their great set with words of advise “This one goes out to Lonely Parade… do not get the pepperoni…” and then they played fan favourite “Pizza Shark”
Year three is in the bag for MEGAPHONO and once again it brought me to very cool venues to discover bands that I had never heard before and see bands that I love. Well done to the entire MEGAPHONO team!
We are happy to bring to you a brand new video from one of our fave wacky bands in town, Bonnie Doon. The song is called “Pants and a Face,” which we heard earlier this year on the Pentagon Black Compilation No.1. It has been about two and a half years since the Bonnie Doon EP came out, but it really feels like yesterday.
The video is by local artist Phil Osborne, and is a perfect fit with the uptempo sludgy, lo-fi track by the band. He describes it as “a hipster post-punk mutant that intermorphs and transmutes into different past incarnations of itself as it walks downtown looking for a good time.” The video itself is a colourful psychedelic trip that features fire and even a UFO. Check out more of his stuff on his YouTube channel here.
Winter has come to Ottawa, smothering us in her immense white wings and piling up snowy drifts that look you in the eye as you walk down the street. We all knew she would return, and so some of us made plans. Rock and roll seemed as good an idea as any to me.
Step inside Pressed and one is presented with a sandwich shop that refuses to be known as such. Recent renovations have removed half of the bar and made way for a cozy, couch-cornered nook at the far end of the stage. The eight o’clock door time was strictly adhered to and it wasn’t long before the narrow room was thick with bodies. Coats were thrust beneath church pews, acquaintances were met or avoided, and the bar was rushed.
Shoe Blog were the first band slated, a new act in town playing their third show. With brief snippets they displayed during their soundcheck, an attraction was built and the crowd approached the stage. Shoe Blog are a quartet consisting of bass, drums, guitar, cello, and vocals, and with these elements they create a landscape of psychedelic rock and roll. It is impossible not to speak in the geographical when describing Shoe Blog. They explore a musical topography of progressive and psychedelic styles, borrowing textures and feelings from a vast array of influences; the steady highways of German motorik, the foggy drones of West Coast psych, the craggy mountains of Beefheart, and delicately draw us a map to follow through their world.
Their set was a tightly constructed series of dynamic moments; songs created quiet, entrancing grooves that were stretched in every direction, spiking and rising as guitar chords collided with the crash of the cymbal and sent sparks through the air. Vocalist Rachel Weldon (who also promotes shows through Debaser) chooses small phrases to repeat in mantric obsession, often rising in intensity and subtly inverting and re-arranging her lyric to create a cyclical sense of hypnosis.Her voice bounces off of drummer Ben Deinstadt’s impeccable rhythmic control – he is a fulcrum of energy for the band, the roots that ground Shoe Blog and prevent them from spiraling into the sky. Like the lyrics, the rhythms are always constant, always changing.
They ended the set opposite how they started, with a blistering crescendo of free rock, while Weldon quoted and distorted Patti Smith’s ‘Horses’ ending immediately and wounding their audience with the silence. The word ‘encore’ was on the tip of my lips.
Long Branch playing at Pressed. (photo: Long Branch’s Facebook Page)
Next to take the stage were Toronto’s Long Branch, currently on tour and supporting a 7” single. The quartet play a haunting and often heavy form of Canadian roots rock. There is a distinct whiff of pine smoke to their sound, but they separate themselves from too much familiarity with a triple guitar wall of notes and a beautifully elastic and driving rhythm section. Four voices provide plaintive close harmonies and drift through the thick, often grungy sound – think CSNY transplanted to 90’s Seattle. On paper it seemed a strange choice, sandwiched between the two other, more confrontational acts, but it immediately became apparent how good a fit Long Branch really were in the evening overall.
After Shoe Blog’s tickle and piquing of the imagination, and before Bonnie Doon’s eardrum annihilation, we took a brief sojourn through the somber haze of a dewy Ontario morning, finding time to stop and rock out beneath the waving pines.
Swiftly, before allowing the Ottawans to respond to their biological clocks and head home, the evening’s headliner Bonnie Doon unfurled a massive curtain of doom rock around the perimeter of the room and sealed us all inside the sightless dark of a punishing bass riff. Bonnie Doon is a Scottish phrase denoting the picturesque hills and green fields of the old countryside though there is absolutely nothing pastoral about the Ottawa quartet’s sound. The huge attack of the twin bass and the steely stabs of guitar speak of noisy traffic and concrete walls livid with art and the shouted, yelping vocals are of one desperate to be heard above the din of the crowd.
Their style is a self-described ‘sludge punk’, which is too accurate an appellation to avoid quoting. Their sound pits the high-pitched frequencies of vox and guitar against the rumbling murk of their bowel-loosening low end. Vocalist Lesley Demon shrieks like a corpse re-animated – an uncanny, paranoid howl that is confrontational, at times frightening and totally unfettered by the limits of the human throat. It is the exact voice ones does not want to hear from the shadows of a darkened crypt. Place this voice upon the primal splatter of ripped up fuzz bass and wild, driving rhythms and one has the perfect antidote to February’s placid poison. Listen to two brand new tracks that the band just released below.
The thermal energy generated that night by the three acts was conducted through the venue and rose into the sky, causing the temperatures to climb and the rain to fall, reducing the banks and ridges of snow to a cold, grey soup. The city may now be slowly flooding, but it was all worth it.
The final day of OXW is always kind of bittersweet. On the one hand, there are usually some great bands scheduled to play in the afternoon and, in this case, it was a gorgeous day out with no clouds in the sky. On the other hand, a lot of us were pretty burnt out from all the drinking, excessive punk rock consumption, and sweltering heat that comes along with no clouds in the sky. But let’s be honest, those of us who remained were excited for what Sunday had in store, putting any complaints aside.
The day started off strangely. A few of us were hanging outside at the SAW courtyard when all of a sudden we heard a massive crashing sound. The sound of metal hitting metal at a considerable speed is unmistakable, and it sounded bad. We ran out to check what had happened, and as it turns out a brand new cherry red Ford Mustang had been sideswiped by an SUV. Everyone was OK, but we all felt bad for the Mustang’s driver as he had to wait hours before being towed (his wheel well was damaged and he couldn’t drive).
Things started a bit late since Chloroform canceled their OXW appearance, and Ottawa’s own Baberaham Lincoln kicked off the final day’s festivities. The cleverly-named three-piece group played some dissonant noise rock that threw me back a few decades. Armed with Jenna Spencer’s Fender Strat, Cory Lefebvre’s hollowbody, and Hillary Lawson’s drums, the band eased us into the day with atmospheric, over-driven songs that served as a welcome balance to the high number of punk bands we had all heard for the last four days. The tone on Cory’s guitar was hypnotic, and the simple layering of the band’s instrumentals drew the crowd in and put us all back into the zone. Jenna’s soft, and at times eerie vocals contrasted well with the fuzzy tones coming out of the PA. Baberaham Lincoln didn’t throw any curve balls at us, but their mesmerizing sound and powerful builds kept the crowd wrapped around their fingers throughout the set.
Baberaham Lincoln at Ottawa Explosion 2015. Photo by Stephen McGill.
Next up was Gaycation, a band from Ottawa that I hadn’t seen yet but that I was really excited about. They just released a split demo tape with Weed Mom through Bruised Tongue a week or two ago which I highly recommend, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on that hardware right before they played. Gaycation is a queercore power-pop outfit, and all of us who witnessed their set got see how high energy this group really is. Faelan Sadboy took centre stage on vocals, looking more than comfortable on stage with a big smile on his face and producing powerful and emotive vocals. Above him also hung a Hello Kitty piñata, the destiny of which we could only guess was moments away. In the meantime the band played some fun tunes including “NBD” and “No Bros”, songs which correlated with the huge hand-made sign behind the drummer LP that said “KILL THE BRO IN YR HEAD” — a motto that many of us surely support. One of the band members thanked her mom for coming out to see the band play, after which Alanna jokingly proclaimed, “My mom didn’t come to see me play. She said that she’s already seen me before.” There were a few points throughout the set that Gaycation had some trouble keeping time with one another, and I’m sure with a little more practice they will make their live set really tight. The band closed their set with the fun, dancy song “Gaycation”, and yes, Faelan kicked the shit out of that piñata and candy rained down upon us.
Gaycation at Ottawa Explosion 2015. Photo by Stephen McGill.
Blue Angel is a group that I always look forward to seeing live. This three-piece grungy noise rock band consists of Caylie of Boyhood on drums, Sam Pippa of Organ Eyes/Pipahauntas on bass, and Lidija Rositis of Bondar on guitar — and all of them sing. Their lyrics are intentionally repetitive yet poignant, as clearly demonstrated in songs like “You/Me”. The three of them normally wear outrageous outfits or masks, this time opting for a simple face mask due to the heat during the day. Their heavily distorted guitar and bass take me back to the days of Sonic Youth, music that isn’t meant to be consumed comfortably but meant to evoke raw emotion or visceral sentiments. After a few intense songs, drummer Caylie Runciman stopped and joked that she accidentally swallowed one of her long hairs during the last song. Blue Angel ended with the song “Sweaty Belly” that is featured on their three-track EP released in 2014, and made it a memorable one as usual.
In between sets was Drone Zone, a series including drone artists presented by Debaser. It was definitely an interesting addition to the festival, one that had not been included in previous years. Drone Zone was an informal extension of Weird Canada‘s National Drone Day, celebrating experimental, ambient, and drone music. I caught some of Everett’s set, a group that included Willow, Elsa, Tyrin (of Weed Mom) and Fraser. I had never experienced a drone set before, and I made sure to go in with an open mind ready for anything. What I really enjoy about many artists featured on Weird Canada, and in turn drone music, is the off-the-cuff experimentation that can lead to beautiful abstract pieces of music. I was very impressed with Everett as they played their first performance ever, a relatively quick 15-minute drone set that included ambient noise coming from countless knobs and buttons controlled by Fraser and Tyrin. Willow and Elsa stood closer to the audience, and although it was hard to discern their lyrics at times over the drone, their short performance was authoritative and resounding. I look forward to hearing more from Everett as they produce more pieces in the future.
Everett at Ottawa Explosion 2015. Photo by Stephen McGill.
Bonnie Doon came on shortly after, having just come off an Eastern Canada tour a few weeks ago. A few fans were wearing the DIY tie dye band shirts they had made for the tour, while lead singer and co-bassist Lesley Demon wore a particularly ’80s looking business suit. Bonnie Doon dove into their wacky and wild set of noisy surf rock, enchanting us with two layered basses played by Lesley and Gina Vinelli, crunchy guitar parts by Madison Watson, and kept the beat going with Keltie Duncan on drums. Watching old people walk by and looking completely and utterly confused by what was happening was a highlight for me. At one point I heard two people walk to the front gate and ask what was going on in the courtyard. They asked, “Is this part of Fringe Festival? Because that’s where we’re headed.” To their content, Ottawa Explosion was not part of Fringe Festival around the corner, and the sense of relief was obvious. Bonnie Doon played some great songs such as “B Hole”, “Pizza Shark”, “Moon Tan”, and even treated us to a trip down memory lane by covering “Lump” by The Presidents of the United States of America. I was secretly hoping they’d break out into Weird Al’s version of “Gump”, but that was just me.
Bonnie Doon at Ottawa Explosion 2015. Photo by Stephen McGill.
My final Explosion set of the festival was Montreal’s The Famines, only because I probably would have passed out by the time Catholic Girls came on stage. The two-piece garage punk band played an intense set, with singer/guitarist Raymond Biesinger playing heavy and distorted basslines, and Drew Demers on drums shredding on the kit even though he appeared to be on the brink of heat stroke. I’d seen them open up for Big Dick at their album release party back in February, and I really enjoy their aggressive and raw brand of garage rock. Several times Biesinger went out into the crowd and played right beside us, and at one point turned to Demers and asked, “How are you doing buddy?” Demers replied very frankly by saying, “I’m fucking dying.” Everyone laughed, but the band was clearly uncomfortably hot, particularly Demers on drums since he was playing so fast and intensely. He powered through most of the set with no issues that we could hear, and Famines kept the party going almost all the way until the end when they had to stop for their own personal well-being. It was at that point that I fantasized about jumping into a nice fresh pool and decided to call it a day. What a festival.
A huge thanks to Luke, Emmanuel, and all the helpers and volunteers for everything they do. Explosion is getting better every year and it’s always what we look forward to most. Until next year folks!
It was a hot, sweaty, and steamy night at House of TARG as Steamers released their new album Years on May 29.
Steamers playing their album release party at House of TARG in Ottawa, ON.
Drummer Phil Castiglione stood alone on stage with a guitar in hand and played the hilarious “Breaking the Law,” a Robots!Everywhere!! song about stringent tobogganing by-laws. As he struck the final chords the band joined him, Phil jumped behind the drums and they broke into the title track. The power folk six-piece ensemble were on point as they played the album from start to finish. Yearshas a lot of the songs we have all grown to love and sing along with, such as “This is a Song,” “Stay Here to Bleed,” and “Head North.” In the middle of the album rests “Strings and Skins,” a song guitarist Garret Barr introduced as “a song about my grandfather who played music right until the day he died.” It was a powerful track which, like many of the others, translated incredibly well live.
As the room got hotter and hotter, the band finished up Years and it was time to dive into the rest of their catalogue and songs they love to play live. They went back to where they started the show and played the Robots!Everywhere!! song “All My Friends Are Here,” a song that the band has made their own. It was abundantly clear that his friends were there in great numbers as there were times you could hear them screaming the lyrics better than you could hear the band. The band capped off their set with the always fun and super interactive “Wolfpack Presley”. I mean how often are you encouraged to howl like a wolf at the top of your lungs? The crowd was having so much fun they wouldn’t let Steamers leave without one more song. So they picked up their instruments and summoned Ottawa Showbox’s own Matías Muñoz on stage to help them cover “Jasper” by Aiden Knight (video above).
Bonnie Doon getting weird at House of TARG in Ottawa, ON.
Before Steamers, Bonnie Doon and Cory Levesque played great sets. Bonnie Doon were the punk band sandwhiched between two folky acts, and they did not seem phased at all. They played a bunch of songs from their 2014 self-titled debut album, including “Hot Dinosaur,” “Messy/Clean,” and the ever so popular “Pizza Shark.” They also played some really rocking unreleased tunes. One can only hope this means that a new album is on the way. I have said it before and will say it again – no one can deliver pterodactyl-like screams quite like Lesley Marshall can. That may sound off-putting, but it is quite the opposite and it adds a very cool dimension to their sound.
Cory Levesque accompanied by Laura Sinclair playing House of TARG in Ottawa, ON.
Kicking off the sweaty evening was folk singer and cat lover Cory Levesque. Cory plays in a few local bands (Fresh Hell, Jonathan Becker and the North Fields) so it is always a treat to see him play solo. He opened with a stripped-down version of “Broken Chords and Melodies,” a song he just recorded with a full band for a split with Jon Creeden. Showing his true stripes, Cory introduced a love song as “I wrote this song about my cat because I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time.” The song in question is “Let’s See The World” from his 2012 album Little Piece of Me. Another treat during Cory’s set was the beautiful addition of Laura Sinclair on piano for a good portion of the songs he played.
Bonnie Doon kicked things off as the darkness of night had fully descended upon the front courtyard of SAW. They took the stage and warned that they had not sound checked. They opened with the heavily distorted and noisy “Pizza Shark” as neon balloons were thrown into the crowd. Once finished they said “that was a good soundcheck,” and continued with their set. The thing you notice right away at a Bonnie Doon show is that no one can deliver pterodactyl-like screams like Lesley Marshall can. The local four-piece played an excellent set overall, but what really stuck out for me was the song “Ghost Story” which I had never heard before. The song features Marshall talking more than singing as she tells story. Calmly telling a story over chaotic music while the smoke machine filled the tents with smoke, it right away made me think of Lou Reed and Velvet Underground. I loved it!
Bonnie Doon kicking things off at the SAW Courtyard (Photo: David Forcier)
The Yips were in the middle of the Doon and Bondar sandwich and they put on one hell of a show as always. Opening with “Sadie” and transitioning into “Orbit” as the smoke machine began to spew. The smoke machine was complimented by cigarette and created quite the dancy haze, it was a total Yips party. Was it the lighting through the haze and $3 beers that created ghostly looking shadows dancing on the inside of the tent, or were the ouija rockers channelling spirits before their set? We will never know. One thing we do know is The Yips were in top form after their mini East-Coast tour. They closed out with unrecorded track “GoGoGoya” and the crowd favourite “Pointe Dume.”
The Yips at the SAW Courtyard (Photo: David Forcier)
Bondar, formerly Roberta Bondar, closed out the night. I have seen Bondar play many times, but this was the first time seeing them with a guitarist, not called Alex Maltby, and the addition of keys. They rocked some of their great older stuff like “STD” early on their set, but the songs almost sounded like new tracks with the new members. Very cool to see songs you like getting a rebirth. Through out the set there was mostly black and white visuals behind the band with the occasional explosion of colours. They were really cool and provided by Brandon Ng. The clips ranged from ferocious wolves to scenes from the terminator. Bass player Gary Franks, being the showman that he is, moved off the stage into the crowd at one point to allow the fans up front to strum his bass, Lesley Marshall and Alana Why couldn’t resist the offering. Bondar clearly had no care for the 11 p.m. curfew, starting their last song, “Palm Bay” at 11:10. As their guitars dangled in front of their amps for added distortion at the end of their set, Bondar started the count down to Ottawa Explosion. See you all there in six weeks!
Bondar finishing off the night at the SAW Courtyard (Photo: David Forcier)
Next Wave was presented as part of the opening of the exhibition Michael DeForge: All Dogs Are Dogs, on view at SAW Gallery from April 30 to June 21. Find the whole photo gallery by David Forcier here.
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+