Ottawa;s very own Jonathan Becker & The North Fields recently played the album release show for their new album Sober Dawn at Babylon Nightclub in Ottawa. They were supported by other local favourites Claude Munson and John Aaron Cockburn. It was a wonderful night of music and an awesome way to celebrate such an excellent album. You can read our full write up of the album and have a listen here.
Our photographer Aidan Thatcher was there to catch the action, check out his photos below.
Ottawa folk troubadour Claude Munson is almost ready to release his new album, titled The Silence Came After.’ Although it has been six years since his full-length debut and the Storm Outside came out, we’re more than excited to share the first video and single off the upcoming LP, which is the song “Saluted by the Light Outside.”
The video suits Munson’s sound and aesthetic to perfection—it’s earthy, intimate, harmonious, and invokes emotive imagery and textures. The video was directed, filmed, and edited by Alexis Zeville and filmed in Québec’s mystical Laurentians. It captures shots of light and smoke breaking trough the trees, nature, and walks in the wood. There is a simplicity to it, and the contemplative story effectively underlines the song’s narrative.
We’re gearing up for the first-ever event of our Showbox Concert Series on Saturday, October 28th, and we’re giving away some free stuff! The show will take place at the incredible St. Alban’s Church, which offers stunning acoustics and an intimate atmosphere for concertgoers.
Headlining the evening will be Claude Munson, making a rare and intimate appearance with his full band. Acclaimed Montreal/Ottawa outfit Little Suns are also gracing the stage, and will be taking this opportunity to officially release their latest album ‘Zero’ digitally. An offshoot of Ottawa’s art-rock collective Pony Girl called mal/aimé will be performing their experimental chamber sounds to kick off the evening.
Advanced online tickets are $13, and can be found here. Physical tickets will be available at the venue on the night of the show for $15. We hope that you’ll join us to celebrate this new addition to the Ottawa music landscape!
We’re giving away two pairs of tickets and a CD/t-shirt from Little Suns leading up to the event on October 28th, so be sure to enter! The draw will happen on Wednesday, October 25 at noon.
Simply answer the question below:
Q: Little Suns’ frontman John Aaron Cockburn is the nephew and on-stage touring support for which famous Canadian musician?
The final day of Bluesfest saw a lot of local groups, including Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Claude Munson, Isaac Valentin, The Riot Police, and Soul Jazz Orchestra take the stage and impress audiences.
We are just so damn excited for our anniversary festivities this weekend (May 26/27) that we’re giving away a few pairs of tickets. We’ve been fortunate enough to become close with a lot of musicians in Ottawa since Showbox came on the scene in May of 2012, and we couldn’t be more stoked to have such talented friends play shows for us on Friday and Saturday at The Record Centre. We’ll be raffling off some free swag at the events from some cool businesses like Bar Robo, Beau’s All Natural Brewery, The Record Centre, and more. We’ll also be selling some limited edition Showbox merch as well, you won’t want to miss out!
Friday, May 26, will feature stellar performances by Jon Creeden, Expanda Fuzz, and one more act TBA.
The next night on Saturday, May 27, will feature intimate and mesmerizing performances by G.Grand & Hyf, Keturah Johnson, Claude Munson, and a rare comeback performance by our faves – STEAMERS. You can find more information about the artists here.
Tickets are available online now, but you also have a solid chance to win some free ones this week. Simply answer the question below and you’ll be entered to win a pair of tickets to our 5-year anniversary for you and a friend!
It’s hard to believe that it’s already been five years since the first Arboretum Festival went down at Arts Court. The first edition that took place back in the summer of 2012 amazed us all, and featured artists such as Cadence Weapon, Jokers of the Scene, Ohbijou, and local powerhouses Steve Adamyk Band, Crusades, Boyhood, Bondar, and more. Since then, Arboretum has grown and featured artists such as Sloan, Constantines, Austra, Mykki Blanco, U.S. Girls, Tim Hecker, just to name a few. However, the festival is scaling back the lineup this year and focusing on the experience as a whole.
Creative Director Rolf Klausener and Managing Director Stefanie Power have always envisioned Arboretum Festival actually keeping true to its name – having it take place in the wilderness. The original conception will become reality August 18-20, 2017, as this marks “year six in the sticks” and will be the first time the festival moves outside city limits and into the countryside. It will happen at Rideau Pines Farms in North Gower about 25 minutes from downtown Ottawa. While on-site accommodations won’t be an option for attendees this time around, the organizers have made it clear that shuttle transportation will be made available for attendees living in Ottawa.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled about Rideau Pines Farms” says Power. “Hosting the festival on a rural site, close to downtown, has always been our dream. We love the idea of escaping your own city, but being surrounded by familiar faces. This smaller, more intimate setting is likely be the closer to our original vision for the festival when we started in 2012.”
“Our first meeting with Rideau Pines was one of mutual admiration and excitement. We’ve known their head farmer Matt ‘Spicoli’ Vandenberg since he headed our corn roast at our 2013 edition behind Arts Court. He’s ebullient, charming, and deeply passionate about his work, as are all the Vandenbergs. The farm is a family run business as is ARB, really.”
The 2017 lineup includes Deerhoof, Le1f, TOPS, DIANA, Cadence Weapon, Un Blonde, L.A. Foster, as well as local powerhouses Claude Munson, Future States, Isaac Vallentin, Boyhood, Gianna Lauren, and FEELS DJs. More will be announced in the coming months, but this is a strong start.
“We made a conscious decision to create a really tight line-up of friends and dream shows,” says Klausener. “LE1F (NYC queer rap trailblazer) has been a dream booking for a while, and we’re expecting his headlining show to be a ridiculous party. We’ve been mega-fans of Deerhoof (Oakland art-punk legends) since their 2003 album ‘Apple O’, and are basically an incendiary case study on lifelong, uncompromising artistic expression. TO/Edmonton hip hop icon Cadence Weapon and electro-pop friends DIANA come back, and represent past artists we really admire as both creators and leaders in their own communities.”
Even more, the organizers have announced that there will be a hand-built stage, swimming pond, forest dance parties, intimate barn shows, all-night cinema, vast fields of pick-your-own fruit and vegetables, concerts in the fields, local cooks, farm-to-table food, communal meals, and plenty of room for the kids to run around.
“The main stage area is an intimate clearing, stockaded by tall evergreen, featuring a sweet hand-built wooden stage,” explains Power. “Beyond the main site are vast fields of fruit and vegetables, with 200+ varieties. Festival-goers will be able to buy pick-your-own baskets from the farm store, and pick their own fresh food all weekend long. It’ll also supply the hot meals prepared by our restaurant partners. Beyond the fields is a small red-clay pond, beside which smaller solo-ish acts and late-night DJ’s will play. And then there’s a gorgeous barn with a back slatted wall that let’s the light – perfect for late afternoon sets.”
Arboretum Festival has always been more than just a music festival. The organizers have made a point to incorporate many names in Ottawa’s food and cooking community, affording attendees the opportunity to try out food from spots in town they might not otherwise visit. Being on a farm, the festival is truly embracing a farm-to-table approach this time around.
“The fact that Rideau Pines supplies so many of the great cooks and restaurants we’ve worked with in the past isn’t lost on us,” Klausener explains. “I don’t think I know of any music festival where you can literally pull meals out of the ground. I remember when I was five, eating my first carrot pulled fresh from a neighbour’s farm in the Laurentiens, and my taste buds exploding. It’s a chance for us to really give the city a fun way to connect with the wild abundance that surrounds Ottawa.”
While Arboretum takes steps towards a new experience for festival-goers, it stays true to its core values – staying a strong supporter of Ottawa’s music scene and local businesses, as well as working hard to represent marginalized communities through diverse and boundary-less programming.
Full weekend passes are available online now for $75, and includes “Pizza Bus” transportation to-and-from the festival or a parking pass. Day passes are not yet on sale, but keep your ears open for more announcements soon.
Bosveld, a.k.a. Facetown Sonic, a.k.a. Velodrones and That Other Guy, a.k.a. Jeremy Mulder & Théan Slabbert are on the open road of adventure since yesterday! They left Ottawa in the afternoon on a three-week bicycle odyssey across southern Ontario to play shows in Oshawa, Toronto, Hamilton & Peterborough before the end of the month. Thanks to support from Kunstadt Sports & Moonsaddle, they’ll be able to clock in more than 1,000 km on this music tour. They’ll be back home in time to play Raw Sugar on Aug. 15 and Arboretum on Aug. 20. Observing the ups and downs of this map will help us track of their progress as we follow their tour page and their Instagram.
I first heard Velodrones play at the SPAO Guerilla Live fundraiser in December. I was struck by the sounds coming from his sampler, first thinking they were effects then finding out they were side-effects. Théan searches the soundscape for odd blips, rough edges around otherwise smooth harmonies, and incorporates these sounds into his music. Paired with Jeremy on the alto sax, they play songs that quiet rooms and encourage listeners to close their eyes, to delve deeper. Crackling static, ambient wind, Théan’s rich voice and his finger-picking… This is future folk and it is trippy, to say the least. What we heard as bits & bites on their Catalysts Mixtape is becoming a full course meal for their debut full-length. They’re going out to promote what they’ve done, what Théan classifies as the work of which he’s proudest.
The first night they spent at ours in Oxford Mills, and I was able to ask them 12 questions before they played us some of their new tracks. Thank you so much guys, Karine & I are very grateful! And we are stoked to hear the rest of the upcoming Veldbrand.
First of all, how was the first day?
Jeremy: It was tiring but exhilarating. It’s a bit of a daunting trip, but that’s just because it’s the first day.
Théan: Day one of the tour? Awesome. It was a beautiful day, the rain was not as bad as I thought it would be. It cools you. Saw a deer! Lots of farm country and that reminded me of my childhood. Side roads are the best!
How many kilometres do you hope to cover per day?
J: We’ll say an average of 80.
Other than seeing Canada, becoming physically fit, and not buying gasoline what benefits does a band’s bike tour offer you?
J: Well, we’ve already seen houses we’ve never seen, people we’ve never seen, signs, little towns you never knew existed, bridges you never knew were there. Hopefully that continues. I love connecting with the places we pass. I’ve lived in Ottawa all my life so I feel I’ve explored its entirety but this is an opportunity to “get in there.” Staying at people’s houses, in a way you wouldn’t otherwise! We’re staying with you guys, and people from Warm Showers. That gives us the opportunity to practice our set too.
J: It’s like Couchsurfing but tailored to cyclists. So far, we’ve found it be a tremendous resource — lots of friendly, positive responses, and it seems well moderated, with user reviews and such. Around southern Ontario it’s great, but in the east here, like Kingston to Ottawa, there’s not much activity.
Théan, was your moniker Velodrones inspired by cycling?
T: I’m gonna have to say, “uhh yes!“
Jeremy, are you a Master of Music?
J: Yeah, I am, if you can call it that. I have a Master’s Degree, I don’t know if that makes me anything. It means I spent a lot of money to have a piece a paper that says I’m a musician. And I can kind of play the saxophone.
Théan, you have a piece on your YouTube channel called “Improvisation with Jeremy Mulder on Saxophone //théan” published on Nov. 25, 2012. Is this the first track you two recorded?
T: Yeah, he just came to my house and we didn’t know each other. And I kinda just hit record.
J: No! We knew each other then. I’d recorded a couple tracks with you before it was called Bosveld. He’d stopped me in the hall at Ottawa U and said, “do you play bari sax? I need a saxophone!” I played on two pieces of his and we started to play more and more.
And now you’ve finished tracking your first LP together! How much of the album will you be playing on this tour?
T: All of it.
J: And Andre 3000 covers. Not even Outkast, just Andre 3000.
How long before we can get it on wax?
T: We can’t tell you that. Late fall, early winter? That’s what we said last year. Pop Drone is making it. It’s gonna be fun times!
J: Well I went to high school with Connor Bennett, one of the founding members, we were really good friends. And through him I met Kearon Roy Taylor.
T: Who’s doing the art for the new album!
J: Also Connor and another founder Aaron Hutchinson are in a band called Eschaton, and we played a couple shows with them as we toured with Claude Munson. They released our Mixtape! Eschaton has made a whole bunch of tapes so they knew what they were doing. HAVN is a cool place. They put on shows, I think monthly, and they’re right at James & Barton Streets in Hamilton.
T: Barton Street, the most dangerous street in Hamilton.
J: There’s a massage parlour next door.
T: Open 24 hours a day.
And how many days until you get to your first gig in Oshawa?
J: We’ll be there on the 23rd, the day of our show!
T: We’ll be there on the 22nd… to practice.
We wish you Godspeed! In closing, what are your favourite Ottawa bands?
J: I love Claude Munson, ever since we played with him it just kind of got in my head… And anything Pascal Delaquis touches is gold — Claude Munson, Hilotrons, Marabou, and many more. We’re really lucky to have him play with us.
I have noticed that Wednesday has quickly become one of the busiest nights in the Ottawa music scene, from weekly staples to touring shows. I thought it would be fun to try to hit up over the next few weeks, every regular event Wednesday has to offer this town.
This week I popped into the Lafayette for a few pints and to see John Carroll. A regular since 2004, he plays two FREE sets weekly, 8pm and 10pm, at the city’s oldest tavern. John is always a treat; he has a great voice and is an amazing slide guitarist. The folk and blues fuse so well as the quarts are handed out all evening by bartender Lenny. People can also enjoy a good game chess or even the Guinness Book of Records of years past.
On this particular Wednesday the crowd was treated to more than just John Carroll’s great tunes and funny banter, but to some wonderful harmonica playing thanks to Catriona Sturton joining him. They played originals as well as some great covers of old Mississippi blues classics. You would be hard-pressed to find a better backdrop to a pint in this city on hump day.
Afterwards, I headed over to Mugshots for some open mic night fun at the jail. The eery and poorly lit jail hostel bar is perfect for locals to try out or hone their craft. The event is hosted weekly by local musician Claude Munson of Claude Munson and the Storm Outside. Claude usually starts the night off by playing a few songs to break the ice and then has the patrons pass the sign-up list from the bar to the stage. On this night Claude and a portion of the band opened the night as a warm-up for their upcoming tour.
One of the wonderful things about this open mic is that you never know what you will hear instrument wise. From solo violin players to banjos, from no instrument spoken word to the ukulele, heck once a guy brought in a laptop to sing over his homemade beats.
Plenty of established Ottawa acts, such as Mehdi Hamdad, Brad Morden, Her Harbour for example, stop in for a few songs. People play a lot more original material than covers, doing a great job I may add, and you never know if someone will be possessed by ghost of the jails gloomy past. Another bonus of Mugshots is that it is located in an international hostel so you can share a drink and a story with travelers from across the world.
So where am I to go next Wednesdays? What are some of your favourite weekly music staples?