It is almost impossible to listen to popular radio these days without hearing a song new or old by USS. They brought that same type of energy and then some to the show Monday night. While The Elwins and Shotty Horroh might not be as well known, they are certainly worth checking out after their great performances.
Our photographer Aidan Thatcher was there to capture all the action. Have a look to the gallery below.
Ev has synesthesia, and they
incorporate their sensory experiences into music reviews. Synesthesia is
a condition in which the brain links a person’s senses together in a
rare manner, prompting unusual sensory responses to stimuli. People with
synesthesia, for example, might see a certain color in response to a
certain letter of the alphabet. Those who experience synesthesia “hear colors, feel sounds, and taste shapes” in a remarkably consistent fashion.
Hurry, a band from Philadelphia, kicked off the night with their alt-rock chord progressions, sweet banter, and self-deprecating humour. Nu-Metal effects applied to the guitar added a tunnelled sound. The drumming came out light and upbeat despite that songs may have taken a more sombre pop-punk vibe. Those vibes in combination with the bass, came out sounding like nostalgic summertime soundtracks.
The band’s movement coincided with the emotion that emanated from each song. Hurry held a solid energy and got into every single song they played. They played a fun style that got you moving your feet to the beat. Boyish vocals added to the effect of the carefree aura.
The guitar blended with the bass in a mash of bright oranges and magentas, swirling together. They intertwined into the blues produced by the cymbals, meanwhile, the light green-yellows radiated from the snare and toms.
All in all, Hurry held a repetitive feeling to their songs. Almost generic but also rather emotionally charged while maintaining a certain lightness to their music.
Next up were Joan of Arc, from Chicago, Illinois. They put on a set that I won’t be able to forget. The very stereotypical “dad” dancing, the off-key and off time singing, and overpowering synths, were just a few things that held their set together. Imagine dry tumblr humour and blend it together with noise and screaming, it’s what you get with this band.
The crowd unfortunately seemed to talk over the performance throughout the set. Credit where credit is due, however, the band put everything they’ve got into their set. The energy is exactly what you wanted to see—not unmatched by any means—however, they were driven by passion.
The drumming was warm, and nearly drowned out the ear-splitting blare of the synth. It solidified the songs and served to hold them in place. Midway through the set, the members of Joan of Arc all gathered around the drum kit and began playing different rhythms on snares and toms. It all synced up and came out as probably the best sounding part of their show. The same could not be said about the vocal stylings, which is unfortunate because Tim has been in bands where his vocals have blown others out of the water in comparison. The very off-key screams about pizza and “fuck” were unsettling. As quickly as they smoothed, they went back into the ragged and near unpleasant off-key notes that made the set hard to enjoy.
Joan of Arc goes places that bands don’t dare, tarnishing any form of reputation and keeping expectations low. They push buttons and certainly make sure you either love or hate them.
Headlining the night were mewithoutyou, a band from Philly. Not having played Ottawa since 2005, they drew in a crowd that belted the lyrics back at them with a vigorous passion.
The raw energy that projected into the performance was remarkable, and they kicked off the night with their song “Torches Together” off of Catch for Us theFoxes which set the crowd into cheers. They powered through older songs before kicking out the new ones which tainted the scenery all sorts of yellows, greens, oranges, and whites.
The poeticism behind the lyrics is prophetic and genius. The ruggedness of the vocals emphasized and strained the importance of the message. Compassion and extravagance found their way into the performance when Aaron Weiss picked up a little kid (I believe his own child) and sang to them onstage. The shouts were painted as greens and the exaggerated hand gestures only added to the artistic quality of the set.
The guitars came from all directions, combining the mellow and warm sound of acoustic and the hard and cold edge of electric overdriven guitars. Much of the sound came through as orange with drawn outlines of whites and light blues flecked the scene. The newer tracks came together throught the oranges, while their older songs were charged with deep blues and purples.
The band brought out an accordion near the end of the set, which added a haunting undertone to their music. It served to transform the soundscape by adding something unique to the electric sounds they played.
The energy was enticing and captivating, incredibly raw and sincere. mewithoutyou find a way to embrace oddities and religious themes whilst spewing them through their alternative sound. Breathtaking and riveting, they tore Ottawa apart after 13 years.
The House of Targ stage was rocked by three great local bands last week. Headlining the night was Ornaments, an Ottawa three-piece who hadn’t graced a stage in a while so it was very nice to see them playing live again. Saint Clare did what they always do and played their most excellent brass-driven rock that makes you want to dance and sing. Opening the night was the up and coming band Lost Acres who released a solid EP in December last year.
Check out the pictures below by our photographer Aidan Thatcher and keep your eye out for the next time these bands play live.
The third annual Hopped and Confused music and beer festival was capped-off by the Canadian rock group I Mother Earth providing everyone with a throwback to the 90’s, featuring their original lead singer Edwin. The day also featured performances that made you want to dance and sing along by Bleeker and The Damn Truth and was kicked-off by an absolutely rocking set by Julie and the Wrong Guys.
Our photographer Aidan Thatcher was there to capture all the action, check out the gallery below.
Copenhagen’s Iceage brought their post-punk styling to town for an awesome show at the 27 Club in Ottawa, Ontario. They were supported by opening act Mary Lattimore, a harpist from Los Angeles. A little odd as a pairing, but we love to see promoters taking chances and matching artists that don’t fit in the same “box.”
This past Saturday we hosted our second-ever Showbox Concert Series event at St. Alban’s Church, and it was a night to remember. The sold-out show was headlined by Shadowhand, who released their debut LP called Through the Fog. The incredible lineup was rounded out by stunning performances by The Heavy Medicine Band and Merganzer, all of whom have now released records through Record Centre Records. The bands took full advantage of the high ceilings and mesmerized the audience with their performances. Our photographer Aidan Thatcher was on-hand to capture some wonderful moments from the evening. We can’t wait until the next one!
I often go into shows with little to no knowledge of the bands that are playing that night. However, upon hearing Deathsticks was playing Pressed, I knew that that was a show not to be missed. Although the show started a bit late, it didn’t have an effect on the length of each set.
Dark Plains, a local band, ripped through the murmurs of the crowd as they began their set. A steady and prominent bass line with a heavy tone dominated the room and the guitar creating dissonant riffs. One of the first things that caught my attention other than the obviously booming sound slicing through the silence was the ability the guitar had for carrying the songs while the drums rattled in your chest. It was almost as if one would take the song apart while the other put it back together and it created a unique dynamic that was easy to get wrapped up in.
Some songs would start out with a drum solo instead of with the bass, and it really set the tone and mood for the rest of the song. The atmosphere was dark but the energy was high in these moments. The uniqueness of the drums struck me, they were loud but in a few places they’d go off beat only to jump back on beat and flow and meld together with what the rest of the band played.
During the guitar solos, the bassline would be the backbone, seeming as if everything would wrap around it and this is a factor that didn’t allow the solo’s to punch you in the face with high intensity. It rather pulled people into it and allowed them to immerse themselves in the soundscape that they were presented with. Sometimes you’d hear notes that were off key but that just pulled you into the intricately orchestrated songs more because it made everything that came after sound that much better.
The vocals are almost a contrast to the music being played. They take a more mellow approach and create an overlay to the aggressive drumming, bass, and guitars; but when unified in harmonies they can pack a punch and emphasise themselves above all else. The combination of vocals mirroring the aggression in the written music got me to move my feet and nod along but it also seemed to get people to lurch their bodies in choppy, staggering, and abrupt motions.
WLMRTburst through with a fiery passion, the aggressive sound making itself present and known despite the songs being relatively short. I noticed people thrashing to it, throwing their bodies into those of others without a care and that goes to describe what the music itself is. It’s an overpowering bassline, reverberated guitar riffs, odd electronic sounds via soundboard, and the drumming that packs punches in quick succession.
Vocals cut right through the medley of sound and it’s something you try to decipher through the reverb – and maybe you manage to, or you don’t, but it’s enough to grasp your attention and drag you in by the collar of your shirt. Shrill when the songs progress and unfold but they’re no strangers to a more melodic approach. Delivered with a twitchy but fun-loving carefree attitude, the vocals really help loosen you up and get you into the weighted sound of the bass, the fuzz of the guitar, and the manic drumming.
WLMRT is a band that smashes everything together in ways that you wouldn’t imagine. It’s like that one weird combination of food that you never thought would work but does. I find that this is because there’s so much going on and because everyone seemingly marches to the beat of their own drum but that’s very far from the case. It’s something that’s so close to old school punk—pure distorted noise that throws you dead centre into the scene that they’re creating, and that’s something that keeps drawing me in.
Don’t even bother trying to deconstruct any Deathstickssong because it’s not something you’ll ever be able to do. The Ottawa band is confusing, aggressive, and beautiful, and brings genuine meaning to the name Deathsticks. By the end of the night, I’m sure only one pair of drumsticks didn’t end up broken in half.
The band sounds like a fully formed band, and I suppose they are, but if you’ve never heard or seen them, you’ll be shocked to know that they’re a duo. Every component of their music is well timed that it shocks the listener, you can’t try to listen to them, just listen, observe, and let yourself be swept away by the aggression and anger.
There’s not a single aspect that seems traditionally composed. Every musical “rule” has been rejected—from the very first song they played, where Matt rubbed the guitar strings with his hand, a technique that is seldom used to the very end of the set. Deathsticks strayed from any rules that would have been imposed and transformed intros into messy white noise.
The drumming is chaotic and the guitar steady but completely unstable. Laura knows exactly what to do and how to keep it in control, almost as if the instrument is just an extension of an arm or a leg. It seems to come as second nature and watching it is mesmerising. The consistent use of the ride and crash cymbals adds a contrast to the deep boom off the bass drum and the rattling of the snare.
Spoken words or off-beat screaming, the duo have seemingly mastered the music. The feedback, crashing drums, roaring power chords and screaming solos, all contributed to something that I had once stated would happen if they were to play in a dingy bar—that’s right, a mosh pit. Not only does the music grow wild but the crowd with it.
The set may leave you wondering “what the fuck was that?” the first time you hear them, but truly the only way to answer that question is with the simple words “controlled chaos”.
So maybe next time that you find yourself in a rut and itching to do something with your night, find a show any one of these bands are playing and let the music drown you. You won’t regret it for a second – not even when you wake up the next morning with your ears ringing just as much as the previous night.
Deathsticks and WLMRT have recently released a split LP with Nushu and Nightbummerz which you can listen to here. Check out the show photos below.
As summer putters along with the end in sight, there are a few music events that we here in Ottawa still have to look forward to. One of those happened this past weekend, a weekend that was packed full of shows and festivals. Hopped and Confused was a two-night event that happened at the Mill Street Brew Pub, a spot many of us know for it’s refreshing beverages, but not generally for music events.
It doesn’t take a genius to know that craft beer and live music go together like PB & J, and Dine Alone Records curated a stellar lineup of artists over the two days. The lineup consisted of The Trews, Tokyo Police Club, Yukon Blonde, Said The Whale, Dilly Dally, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs and Ottawa’s own Hollerado and New Swears.
Our photographer Els captured some great shots of the event, check the gallery out below.
It’s likely that you may have heard about Bluesfest’s seventh day—it was mired by chaos, violence and overindulgence, around 200 people were seen by paramedics and some sent off to the hospital. While it was mayhem off the stage, on the stage it was bumping with hip-hop acts Migos and Lil Yachty, as well as R&B artist Maurice Moore. Our photographer Els Durnford focused on the music while dodging and sometimes catching concertgoers surfing over the security railing, check out the photos in the gallery below.
A lot of us are cracking our knuckles and getting ready for the busy summer concert season. We’re going to be starting a new series of photo galleries that give readers an intimate look into some of the shows we go to. Our photographers like getting up close and personal with the artists on stage, so we’d like you to join us front and centre.
Today’s gallery is from a show last month, one that internationally renowned singer-songwriter Leif Vollebekk enchanted a packed First Baptist Church with his mystifying lyrical prowess and graceful instrumentation along with support from Ludovic Alarie. Fresh off releasing his acclaimed new album Twin Solitude, Vollebekk appeased the audience with a number of remarkable new songs in his repertoire. Photographer Els Durnford captured the essence of the night in black and white, offering moody shots for a night that was full of smiles. Have a look below.
Leif Vollebekk and Ludovic Alarie at First Baptist Church – April 14, 2017