It’s been just a little while since we had some fresh material from Ottawa’s own Shadowhand, and we’re excited to premiere their sultry new track “Split.” The song is the third single off Shadowhand’s debut LP Through The Fog, which will be released on March 10 at St. Alban’s Church.
“Split” is an exciting taste of things to come as we wait patiently for Through the Fog to come out. The band’s airy and restrained approach should not be mistaken for lethargy. Rather, they convey moodiness in a way that is not altogether gloomy, enthralling the listener with subtle flourishes and a wide open sound. It may be sombre, but there is a light that burns and shimmers as Shadowhand wades through the darkness.
Shadowhand’s lyrically rich songs are ever-evolving, and vocalist/guitarist Jamieson Mackay leads the charge for this groups ascension. Over the past few years, his growth as a musician comes both on stage and in the studio, and his songwriting and comfort level seem to have reached new levels. He is propped up by the brilliance of the band around him, which features the stage-hardened talents of Matt Corbiere, Brandon Walsh, and Sean Tansey.
The band will be releasing the full LP on March 10 at our Showbox Concert Series event at St. Alban’s Church. Joining them on stage will be The Heavy Medicine Band and Merganzer, which should make for an altogether dreamy night of local music (event here). They will also be playing Megaphono this Saturday, Feb 10 at Pressed.
The release will be followed by a tour of Southern Ontario and Montreal. The full tour dates are:
Jessica Ruano (above) is the Creator and Director of The Ghomeshi Effect, which was created to explore sexual violence, especially in the justice system. The title references former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi, who was acquitted of six charges relating to sexual assault after courts ruled there was insufficient evidence to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
From a cheese and jam sandwich to Shakespeare’s foils, unusual pairings can reveal new things. This was the case on January 22nd, when Ottawa-based PepTides played the Gladstone theatre in support of The Ghomeshi Effect. which is a “verbatim” dance-theatre piece exploring sexual violence. It’s “verbatim” because the script was created based on interviews with survivors of sexual violence, and the words are presented as they were spoken.
This collaborative fundraiser came about because Amelia Griffin, choreographer for The Ghomeshi Effect, had recently worked on the PepTides new music video: 202 Washington DC. When The PepTides were asked if they wanted to participate in a fundraiser, keyboardist and manager Scott Irving said it wasn’t even a question. “It’s an important piece of theatre and we wanted to support it”.
The Peptides began their set with a dramatic entrance for their song “Homme Love Whore”, followed by a half-hour of feet-tapping, head-nodding, body shaking beats. (Well, torso shaking beats – most people remained seated). Following this introduction, interplay between the two productions began, with actors from The Ghomeshi Effect performing excerpts from the show and contemporary dance to the retro-soul-pop of the PepTides.
While music is no strange pairing to theatre (perhaps you’ve heard of Broadway?), there was something novel about the dynamic that presented itself with this performance. The PepTides were their usual energetic selves – you can tell they have fun when they perform. However, songs that would usually be light-hearted took on new meaning when contrasted with scenes from The Ghomeshi Effect. The dances featured strong physical dynamics, especially in the scenes with several actors. It was about more than the words; the stories were equally told by the expression of movement. It’s appropriate, because these are stories that unfold through the interaction of bodies.
It’s a complicated discussion. How do you speak about power and violence without making people uncomfortable or defensive? How does this reality of intimacy express itself, when the conversation is meant to be inclusive to a broader demographic? Firsthand accounts might only be only revealed to close friends and confidants, and so the Ghomeshi Effect offers a rare viewpoint: a truthful and anonymous accounts of sexual violence, and the impact that these experiences have on individuals and on society as a whole. Bringing these stories together into a single narrative reveals larger patterns about power.
Uncomfortable as it might be, it’s a stark reality. The statistics speak for themselves: in Canada, approximately 1/3 of women and 1/5 of men have experienced sexual assault, and that increases significantly for women who are Aboriginal or transgender. Only about 6% of all cases are reported to police. Stranger danger? Yeah, that’s not a thing; approximately 80% of incidents are inflicted by someone known to the survivor. It’s heavy stuff, but that’s why we feminists need dance parties. Ultimately, you can’t speak about power and its expressions without feeling something. However, this fundraiser only piqued my curiosity to see the theatre piece in its entirety.
As one of the vocalists said, “This is serious subject matter, but we’re still going to have a good time!”. On this front, certainly, the performance was well put-together. The upbeat music of The PepTides broke the tension between sets, and the audience was able to focus on the conversations happening throughout the performance with minimal heartache. By acknowledging and analyzing both the devastating and the uplifting elements of sex, the performance came across as a tribute to, and a necessary critique of, intimacy and modern dating.
Check out The Ghomeshi Effect at the Gladstone Theatre every night until Saturday, January 28th, or catch the reprise at Shenkmen Theatre on Thursday, February 2nd. Ticket price and purchasing information can be found here.
This past weekend was a dream. A warm breeze blew across the city, carrying a promise of the sun-soaked summer to come. Not only that, but in the space of three days I was able to attend three distinct events featuring live music. Here are the results of my scouting, three artists you should know: Mineta, Alanna Sterling and the Silvers, and The Visit.
The thing that humbles me about these artists is their diversity. The variety of music that the people of Ottawa are able to appreciate on a regular basis is amazing, and I’m happy to be a part of this scene. As I was finalizing this list, I noticed that each group features a female vocalist… It was fully a coincidence, I promise!
Mineta, circus ska-punk from Toronto, were headlining the show and played second. Trust me, these clowns will take you on a journey you won’t soon forget! The group exhibits real chemistry and and each band member is essential to the overall sound. Their live show feels like a performance, and each musician has created their own character to play. But where does the clown stop, and the person begin? It was an interesting comparison to see them for a second time, following their appearance in February at le Chateau Cyr. They totally rocked the Chateau, and even with the smaller crowd at Targ, folks were keeping pace with the contagious and energetic beat.
Honourable mention: The Sick Sick Sicks closed the evening after a period of hiatus on the Ottawa scene. Their brand of ‘djangobilly’ is catchy and fun to dance to, and I hope to see play again in the near future. As for the opening band, the Owl Eyes Project, my primary impression was their impressive collection of beards. Facial hair aside, their music featured some interesting instrumentation and appeared to be well composed.
Pick Two: Alanna Sterling
April 16 brought me to a house show located near Lees. I wasn’t really familiar with the artists that were performing prior to seeing them that evening, and I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the sound and the caliber of the musicians. I’d like to highlight Alanna Sterling and the Silvers: their set was on-point, they played original material, and Alanna’s voice is absolutely incredible. Upon further investigation I’ve learned that she does a lot of acoustic/piano work, though it was her performance with the full band that really had the “wow” factor for me. Still, an artist like Alanna is worth listening to, and her talent can carry itself even without a sweet back-up band.
Honourable mention: Shout out to the Latch Key Kids for their incredible cover of the RATM classic “Killing in the Name Of”.
Many of you vinyl enthusiasts probably know that April 16 was Record Store Day, which was celebrated by some of Ottawa’s record stores.
I was in Hintonburg and decided to check out the bands that were playing at The Record Centre, one of which was The Visit. I had heard cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne play at an Artistic Showcase several years ago, and I vividly remembered the effect his music had on me. I decided to see him play again with this different project, and I’m glad that I did. The acoustics of the shop were perfect for the complex and ethereal melodies strung together by the combination of cello and vocals. It was both traditional and contemporary, meditative and complex. The Visit create music that presents an opportunity for listeners to be totally absorbed in it’s complexities, or, it also makes great background music for writing a blog post.
Many Ottawa musicians feel right at home when it comes to the DIY approach to making music. Artists can get their music from pen and paper to our ear drums quicker and easier than ever with basic equipment. Not having to worry about surrendering a down payment on a house to record an album in-studio (in some cities this is the case) allows for a little more freedom for independent artists to create, whereas they might not have been able to otherwise.
Jakub Raček, writing music under the pseudonym Pocket Writer, is one such artist. He recently released his debut album Dented Little Scars at the tail end of 2014 and is relatively new in the Ottawa scene. Raček blends folk sensibilities and stories in his lyrics with simple, subtly brilliant instrumental arrangements throughout the album.
Having moved to Ottawa from Bratislava, Slovakia at the age of 4, Raček was the youngest amongst 6 children in his family to be involved in the arts. This upbringing filled with creativity helped set the stage for him to discover his own songwriting abilities.
“My brother Jozef was the first to play guitar and I started playing when I was 9. He taught me the basics and I’ve been self-taught since,” explains Raček. “My brothers and I grew up playing music in our basement, recording lots of random stuff for years but never pursuing it too far.”
It’s no wonder Raček decided to take music more seriously, having been exposed to music, film, art, and creative writing at such a young age. His brother Jozef, with whom he collaborated on Dented Little Scars, started a band called Weather Weather in Montreal, and is currently part of a group called Harvest Soon in that city. The two have played shows together in the past from time to time, but never formally pursued music together in a band.
The idea and songwriting for Dented Little Scars came about around five years ago. It wasn’t until Raček moved to downtown Ottawa while completing a graduate degree in psychology at Carleton in 2010 that he began to take his own musical endeavours more seriously.
“Living in the city definitely brought out some creative energy and I found myself more immersed in music than school. Because of this, I remember feeling a sense of detachment from the formalities of academia and a lot of that is reflected in the songs.
“Other songs describing the uglier sides of the medical world drew from my time working at a pharmacy next to a walk-in clinic prior to starting grad school. I think these themes seem to overlap into a common idea on the album that not everything that should be good for you turns out to be.”
The album was recorded in various living quarters – Raček moved four times while completing the recording process himself. One of the many benefits of taking the DIY approach is that he was not restricted to one space, or having to record the album all at once. His experience becoming detached with academia helped to dictate some of his songwriting, as can be heard in songs such as “Empty Hands”, “Currents” and “Return to Normalcy”. Raček explains the thought behind the final track called “Return to Normalcy” on the album:
“The word ‘normal’ has always sort of bothered me in the way it is thrown around. In my mind nothing is necessarily ever normal, things are either more common or stable or follow a more accepted trajectory but that doesn’t make them right for each person. […] Life is always changing so the idea that you should strive for normalcy is sort of a lost cause. But the song is optimistic because it’s saying that accepting the chaos and embracing it can be more rewarding than striving for the norm.”
Dented Little Scars takes inspiration from such prolific songwriters as Elliott Smith, Conor Oberst, and The National. There is a darkness lying beneath the surface that can be heard if you listen carefully, however it’s not a dark album per se. There are moments where Raček’s disillusionment and disconnectedness with certain aspects of his life come through – however, the album is by and large an optimistic one with respect to its lyrical labyrinth and, quite simply, the feeling the music leaves one with after listening it through a few times.
What I really ended up enjoying about Dented Little Scars after several listens was the subtle layering of instrumental parts, arranged so that the songs are all relatively simple yet contain moments of brilliance that don’t overwhelm the listener. This is particularly evident in my favourite tracks, the title track, “Royal Blood,” and “Ghost Singer,” but are more or less present throughout the entire record.
Raček is not doing anything groundbreaking on this album, nor is he trying to. There are a few points (very, very few) on the album where there was an obvious mistake, or where something doesn’t sound quite right. I suppose this comes along with the territory when making an album completely on your own, and these small mistakes did not detract from its overall appeal and aesthetic. His vocal style and lyrical phrasing throughout Dented Little Scars is fairly consistent, and doesn’t vary much at all. At first one might find his vocals too gentle and lacking enthusiasm. This wasn’t an issue for me, but I can see how some listeners might lose interest if not engaged in the lyrical content or instrumentation.
I, on the other hand, really grew to love his relaxed vocal style and it really did conjure up nostalgic feelings of listening to Elliott Smith in my room alone years back. Music that is longing, and at times absorbing and consuming. So, if one takes Raček’s minimalist approach to songwriting as completely deliberate, we end up with a beautiful, honest album. Although many of the songs may sound similar, each has a slightly unique offering for the listener. There are no gimmicks, no tricks up his sleeve.
To me, Pocket Writer is poised to join the ranks of other incredibly talented local musicians such as Heavy Bedroom, Bosveld, and perhaps even follow in the footsteps of someone like Kalle Mattson by starting with something simple and building something larger with each album released. He’ll certainly be someone to keep an eye on in the future.
Eddie Quotez just dropped a four-song EP last week titled ユニコーンEDDIE/UnicornEDDIE. If anyone had to guess why this Ottawa rapper considers himself a unicorn I’d say it’s because he believes in himself.
The joints are personal trips into the life of Edgar Piol who’s from the 613, pop culture coursing through his veins, and who knows the value of hard work. He’s released his colourful EP all the while putting out videos for two of the four tracks. He spits fast with wit, touches on masturbation, video games and trying to be the cool kid with real and synthetic voices.
The video for “My Room” was released on Nov. 13, and a month later it’s upwards of 27,000 views. The first thing that comes to mind listening to this track is three grams of shrooms is too many! Especially if you’re just chilling in your room, reminiscing. Eddie Quotez doesn’t care though, all he needs is Internet access. The song is chill, somewhat nostalgic.
“Sleep” also had a video release back in July, filmed in Chinatown. Either you’re sleeping in or rolling up your sleeves while everyone else is still sleeping. A song that references “Ottawa born and bred” and the sound clip from Dragon Ball Z of Vegeta reading Goku’s power level… Pretty great in my mind. We should all try to get on the same level.
The songs “Unicorn” and “Down” are the first and last songs on the EP, each ends of the spectrum. Anything is possible, on the one hand, and there are things that you’re just not ready to do, on the other. Know your goals and know your limitations. And if you can rap about it over sweet beats? Do it.
A drunk and entertaining Jon Creeden, a moving and very real Jesse LeBourdais, and a “loud” Fresh Hell played the first ever show at Minou’s House Monday night.
Cory Levesque getting ICED.
Setting the stage was Jean-Sebastien getting revenge on Cory and one-litre icing him. For those that don’t know, icing is when you present someone with a Smirnoff Ice and say “iced” to them. They must then chug the bottle. This excited Jon Creeden who said, “You’re bringing icing back? Sweet! I’ve been waiting two years for this.” Cory chugged down that one litre and as much as it hurt me to watch, it was clearly a much worse experience for him.
On the crisp fall night Fresh Hell got things started in the backyard. What could possibly go wrong having a punk rock band amped up and play in a subdivision in Little Italy? We were about to find out. The band opened with their “bangers,” to quote drummer Vance McBride, playing “Surrounded” as they were surrounded by 20 or more of their friends and then “Home” which they were playing outside of guitarist Cory Levesque’s house. Well played gang. Fresh Hell then played “Not Alone” and seamlessly transitioned into “Things Go Away.” So smooth. Then came the shouting from some neighbour, “Sounds like crap,” and then depending on who you ask, either “turn it up,” or “turn it down.” The band played a few more songs and began to tear down as a police officer came up the driveway. He issued a warning informing them that four noise complaints had been placed, but said if the rest of the fundraiser was acoustic it could continue.
The show was in fact a fundraiser for Ottawa Rock Camp for Girls and Cory’s girlfriend Megan Snider made amazing vegan chili, curry and home-made pita bread.
Next up was the very talented Jesse LeBourdais. I have always been fascinated by these solo punk rock acoustic guitarist types. They always deliver such awesome lyrics that ring close to home no matter where they are from. Case in point, LeBourdais is from B.C. and the amazing opening lines to the first song he played “Welcome” were, “There is a pile of records sitting on my floor right now, they’ve been waiting for my dirty hands to get clean enough to hold, somewhere in that pile there is something that will hold me and won’t let go, when the needle finds a vein in the groove it goes right into my soul.” Now those are lyric after my heart. LeBourdais continued with another song off his latest album Long Winter, playing “Breathing In/Out.” He probably felt right at home as a slight drizzle started during some of his songs about B.C. He concluded by inviting Jon Creeden to join him on guitar and Cory Levesque on harmonica to play “About Right” (video above). So glad to have finally met and watched LeBourdais play – go see him when he plays a city near you.
Jon Creeden surrounded by his friends at Minou’s House in Ottawa.
As Jon Creeden began his set, LeBourdais stayed up with him and they opened with the song everyone always wants to hear, “The Captain.” Just as they finished, the rain began to come down much harder, so Creeden moved beneath the lip of the garage to protect his guitar and leave his adoring audience in the rain. Jon had had a few, including the Beau’s Hardcore 8.1 I brought him and was feeling good. “I thought I could get drunk, love my friends, play guitar and entertain,” he said. “Think I’m only doing 1 and 2.” He took requests from the crowd so we got to hear a lot of our non-Captain favourites like “Dominoes,” “Movie Song,” and “Take That Steve Perry.”And in his new Ottawa tradition, Creeden played the three songs he wrote about awesome Ottawa people and places. First the song about Jean-Sebastien, which he requested as he stood by Creeden’s side, then “558 Scum,” about Scum House, and finally the song about Robot House! We all sang along and had a blast, as Ottawa always does when Jon Creeden is in town.
Ottawa’s Gold & Marrow, formerly Shannon Rose and the Thorns, released a new video for their single “Striking Gold.”
The video puts Shannon Rose at the forefront, dancing and singing as the background changes from black to sunsets, from cityscapes to kaleidoscope-like images, to fireworks and more.
Rose looks almost ghostly due to overexposure. She appears haunting and powerful, someone has strongly affected her and she is not ready to let it go. “I have dreamed you would fail, but the shame pierces like a dirty nail,” she sings as explosions erupt behind her. Beautiful timing.
The dancy indie-pop track appears on the band’s new album, Forever, set to be officially released September 30. The video, as well as the album, was produced by the band’s guitar player Steve Matylewicz. Quite a luxury to have such a talent in-house. If the video isn’t enough and you would like to be mesmerized in person, catch Gold & Marrow with special guests The Visit at their album release party October 4th and the Blacksheep Inn.
Photo: Marc DesRosiers, Ottawa Folk Festival Press Images
Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo perfectly summed up day four of Ottawa Folk Fest, “This is about the dirtiest show we ever have had to play.”
Blue Rodeo greeted the crowd by complimenting us on being “hearty souls,” for having braved the torrential downpour, strong winds and frigid temperature of late summer. The Canadian veterans were spot on to close out the main stage at Hog’s Back Saturday night. It was nice to see Blue Rodeo again, as they use to play the Ottawa festival circuit every year, but have been away for a while only visiting us for their Valentine’s Day show.
They played a bunch of the hits like “Head Over Heels,” “Rise Up,” and “What Am I Doing Here.” The band dug deep in their catalogue, much to my glee, and played “Diamond Mine,” off their second album, released back in 1989. The amazing organ playing on that song paired with the grandiose setting was magic.
Seeing songs I grew up to was magical, but finally getting to see Neutral Milk Hotel was a religious experience. The band broke up 15 years ago after releasing one of the most influential albums recorded in the late 90s and most of us never thought the day would come where we could see them live. Imagine discovering a band, falling in love with them only to discover you will never ever get to see them… Then one day out of the blue you are told not only are they touring again, but they are playing your town. The band asked that people respectfully take in the concert and not take photos or video. I was clearly not the only one enamoured by Neutral Milk Hotel, as I did not see one person go against their request. Much respect to Ottawa’s concertgoers.
The sermon began with “I Will Bury You In Time,” and followed by “Holland, 1945.” As lead-singer and guitarist Jeff Mangum stood rather still and looked a little awkward on stage, multi-instrumentalist Julian Koster danced and pranced around reminding me of an elf (and it was certainly cold enough for him to fit in). Koster masterfully played several different saws, the accordion, keys and the bass during the set. Neutral Milk Hotel are often described as lo-fi garage rock, but on this night they had a very full sound that filled the park and our hearts. A perfect example of their range was when the entire band but Mangum left the stage and he played “Two-Headed Boy.” The powerful stripped down acoustic song had the crowd singing along to every word, but it really picked up as the band re-joined him for a rocking and epic conclusion to the tale.
The band did not interact much with the crowd, which is fine because it left more time for all the music we have waited so long to hear live. They did however speak up to say “We have never been to Ottawa before, thanks for such a nice welcome.” The ceremony concluded with “Two-Headed Boy Pt. Two” with the line “But don’t hate her when she gets up to leave.” Come back any time! We will never hate you! The kindness Ottawa showed you will never diminish!
Setting the stage for Neutral Milk Hotel was the unlikeliest of artists, Mustafa the Poet. The passionate spoken word poet from Toronto was very captivating and as he spoke you could not hear a single word from the crowd, he had us hook, line and sinker. And with uplifting quotes like, “change is feeling, change is emotion, from voice to voice this is the most powerful thing that can happen, music is about awareness,” Mustafa has it all figured out. His piece “Invisible Disability” (video above) about his friend with schizophrenia was so powerful and moving. Having no band backing him, he called on the crowd to hum along to set the beat and the thousands eagerly awaiting Neutral Milk Hotel obliged.
Adam Cohen at the Ottawa Folk Festival. Photo: Joseph Mathieu
Seeing the last name Cohen on the schedule had me quite curious and took me to the Valley Stage to check out the spawn of Leonard, Adam Cohen. Cohen started twenty minutes late and asked the crowd “is this band called free beer and 60 virgins? Because I can’t believe so many of you are here right now.” The band backing Cohen provided beautiful string arrangements throughout the set, especially during the song “We Go Home.”
Saturnfly exploring the depths of space and time at Ottawa Folk Festival. Photo: Joseph Mathieu
Starting my day was Ottawa’s sci-fi post-rock band Saturnfly. The band’s set focused on songs from their yet to be released debut LP Cyborg’s Lament. The album is based on an sci-fi story of a cyborg who travels through space in search of truth and meaning. Saturnfly are a very interesting band not only due to their sci-fi story telling, but considering their instrumental makeup. Marion Arthur Kiss plays cello and is the lead singer, husband Stephane Arthur Kiss plays guitar, Lou Le Blanc plays the Moog (an analog synthesizer designed by Dr. Robert Moog) and MinaMessiha on drums. The band was also giving out homemade cookies throughout the set. The last two songs the band played older pieces “Secret to Saturn” and a folky song “Dance Through My Dreams With We.” The band concluded by handing out more cookies and free copies of some of their music.
In the midst of aerosol fumes & evidence of the great deluge the night before, House of PainT‘s main event took place on Saturday, Sept. 6 without a hitch.
There was ample popping, spraying & crackwising, not to mention a euphoric ambiance. The first thing you noticed walking towards the ‘neath of the Dunbar Bridge was the colour of it all. From 11 a.m. that morning, a squad of graffiti artists worked the three massive walls of the bridge’s supports with a rainbow of colour scheme. Large puddles of rain water separated passersby from the fence of the art attack, and the ground was slick with mud. If you planted your feet firmly apart and craned your neck upwards you’d come to see paint sprayed with precision to resemble jagged metal & curvy letters.
But before getting there you passed the Seeds Tent. At 5 p.m. a DJ set welcomed patrons & rubberneckers to the area under the tent designated free, all-ages fun. It featured local rappers G.Grand, Just Poets, Poetic Elements & Wise Atangana backed by the boom-bap of Decho, Essoudry & Moxon a.k.a. 2React. The Seeds Tent was site all day to Kids Workshops: Luv2Groove‘s dance workshop, Rap Writing with Jugga, Rap Performance with Peter Joynt & Spoken Word workshops with presentations by El Jones & John Akpata.
Fresh Kilz & DJ RELIC performing at House of PainT’s Main Event, Saturday Sept. 6.
Under the bridge, the Bboy Crew Semi-Finals saw Floor Assassinz Malitia beat out Funk League & Sweet Technique remove Deadly Venomz to the tracks & rips of DJ Jervy Jerv. Following up, T.O.’s Fresh Kilz slammed a Music Product Centre (MPC) with all his might for the BBoy & BGirl crowd to liven up before the finals. His MPC was smoking from Led Zeppelin & Tenacious D riffs over dance beats, and a special fusion of Deltron 3030’s “Mastermind” & “Rolling the Deep” which he sweetly called “Adele the Funky Homosapien.” He then invited his fellow Torontonian, DJ RELIC a.k.a. REL McCoy, to spit over his machinery. Their jam continued the trend of the Bboy & Bgirl crews crowding around in circles to practice for the upcoming Battle Finals. Many couples were also dancing the hustla, a street-inspired tango with the basics to improvise on a three-step spin.
Missing LinX bringing us several levels of consciousness at House of PainT, Sept. 6.
Ottawa’s own group of Just Jamaal, Hyf Gypsysun & ProfRock as Missing LinX (missing Cannon2x) took to the stage and rapped their way through their set, calling out for Ottawans to raise their hands and make some noise. When the three decided they weren’t getting enough response out of the crowd, they jumped into the midst of introverted breakdancers and created a heart-pounding pit, jumping up and down to their heavily bassed poetry. After returning to the stage they asked for a moment of silence as tribute to Zaccheus Jackson, an East Van-based poet recently killed by a train in Toronto while on tour. His intelligent & beautiful poetry was evidence of a man who loved life, whose passing is mourned throughout the spoken word community.
The main event included the Bboy & BBoy Crew Battle Finals at 8 p.m. LB made his way through J Robin & Lord to claim the Bboy Finals title, all of which can be seen on House of PainT’s youtube popping playlist on HoP Reels. The Bboy Crew Finals had Sweet Technique face Floor Assassinz Malitia for an epic breakdance beatdown over the live tracks of Ikebe Shakedown. This kind of thing is best described by video, filmed and uploaded by HoP Reels:
Ikebe Shakedown continued to shake it all down for those still amped from the Finals. The septet from Brooklyn, NY brought a sultry lounge feel to the dance floor, with the classic percussionist in a drum kit matched by a conga-bongo player. The brass included a trumpet, a trombone & a tenor goddam saxophone. Solid! The circles of Bboys were reaching out and grabbing anyone who even slightly looked like they wanted to jive in the middle of the circle. For some, the choice was made once they were pulled into the middle and left there surrounded by clapping & whistling dancers. I made the premature move of dusting off my shoulders, as a true Caucasian would, which was greeted by skeptical jeers and laughter, but the intensity was still really fun.
After which, a duo listed as DJ Pho but actually the collaboration of Ian “Pho” Swain & Alanna Stuart as Bonjay took to the stage and blasted the area with dancey tracks of chopped pop & soul songs. Their dancehall jive kept the party going until 11 p.m., when the dancefloor was considerably less crowded but still as energetic. The art on all the walls still fresh, festooned with scaffolding, no less beautiful in the black & neon lights.