About the Beer: Ahhhhh pumpkins… The seasonal berry (yes, a berry) that everybody goes crazy about this time a year. You will find pumpkin spice in your lattes, desserts, whiskey, and of course beer. But the folks at Big Rig Brewery actually spiced and roasted local pumpkins to give Tales from the Patch its rich flavour. This beer will warm you up as you prepare for the hordes of trick or treaters anxiously awaiting at your door.
Tales From The Patch is a chocolate-hued pumpkin porter that uses real pumpkins the brew team picked from Miller’s Farm in Manotick, ON. “We came back to the brewery and spiced and baked them, then put the roasted pumpkin right into the brew,” Lon Ladell, Big Rig Brewery brewmaster, explains. Vanilla beans and creamy milk sugar were also added to create a rich, smooth porter that mimics the fresh, cozy nature of the fall season.
Ottawa’s Voicemail rocked the year’s final CHUO Live from Le Troquet last night.
The performance was live on the radio hosted by Emmanuel Sayer, Program Director of CHUO and Ming Wu, of photogmusic. The hosts got the ball rolling by playing music by Average Times and Teenage Head, which were perfect choices before Voicemail hit the stage.
Once ready Voicemail rocked the crowd, some unsuspecting people in the audience were not ready for the rock after the more subdued show that had just finished. They are a great garage rock band from Ottawa – kind of a super group of sorts. The band features members of some of my favourite local bands — Average Times, Mother’s Children and The White Wires. They started off the set with during their first set with an upbeat covers of “Get Over You” by The Undertones, and “Softly, Softly” by The Equals, and then broke out into some originals.
To help break the ice, lead singer and guitarist Ian Manhire said, “we came from Ottawa and feels like we are on tour right now! What an awesome night. Thanks for being here!” The boys finished off their first set playing “You’ll Have To Explain,” which has such a solid drum intro and driving drumming throughout, great track.
While the band took a break, the hosts put on some Roberta Bondar for us and then an interview they had taped earlier with Ian. It was kind of funny to have a conversation with Ian while also hearing his voice in the overhead speakers. During the interview Ian revealed that they would play some covers in the second set as they had learned a bunch to play a wedding this summer and wanted to play them again.
Rested and rehydrated (beer hydrates, right?), Voicemail retook the stage for their second set of the night. They opened with one of the aforementioned covers, playing a sped up version of The Rolling Stones’ “Heart of Stone.” Voicemail then performed my three favourite tracks of theirs in a row much to my amazement. Playing “My Kind” followed by “Riot,” and capped off by “Dangerous.” It was as if they were playing a show just for me at that point, my night was made. The boys completed their set with a cover of Electric Light Orchestra’s “Don’t Bring Me Down.” A perfect way to send off the final CHUO Live at Le Troquet for the year.
Again, 2014 was quite the year for music in Ottawa. We realize that it’s next to impossible to say which album was better than the others, but we do have a list of the albums that seem to come up on our playlists more often. These are not the “winners” of the year but they are dear to our ears and we’d like to tip our hats to those that made them happen. Check out these sweet full-lengths and EPs, support these locals if you can, and enjoy the weather by putting these tunes in your pocket. Vive le six un trois!
Ottawa is full of strikingly talented musicians, many of whom have made themselves very comfortable beneath the under layer that we call Ottawa’s music community. It should come as no surprise that many of these creative types take on more than one project, whether in the same artistic field or something completely different.
Heavy Bedroom is the side project and brainchild of Alex Maltby, who you may recognize as guitarist of local experimental noise rock band Roberta Bondar (soon to be name-changed due to their name’s resemblance to an astronaut, to whom the band is completely unrelated). A few years back we heard about a new act in town that was an offshoot of Bondar, and something different altogether… mind you, with the same experimental aesthetic and mysterious, fatal undertones. Thus, Heavy Bedroom was born.
The band also consists of Maltby’s Bondar counterpart, drummer Tyler Goodman, ex-New Teeth and still HAMILTON bassist/supporting vocalist Matthew Gilmour, and Cory Lefebvre on synth & guitar. Collaborations, I would argue, are an incredible way for artists to explore the depths of their creativity and unhinge themselves from any artistic confines they may find themselves in at times. Hearing I Saw An End for the first time really blew my mind, as you can hear their forces all coming together to create this short, yet masterful album.
Maltby released some demos and performed as Heavy Bedroom, but never fully released anything serious until now. That, of course, doesn’t go to say that the self-titled release a couple of years back wasn’t worthy of its own release and praise. I was a huge fan, and had it on repeat. To hear the mixed and mastered versions of I Saw An End is exciting, as it embodies a project that is no longer just a “side project,” but something that more people will hear in full and surely enjoy.
As mentioned, the album has a distinctly mysterious and affected feel to it, one that admirers of Chad VanGaalen will savour. Maltby’s vocals are delicate and subdued, which compliments the melodic, clean reverb guitar heard on songs such as “Hell Is Not” and “I Ate Apples,” as well as darker, heavier songs such as the title track and the consuming, haunting finale “I Left It.” However, there is also a dissonance that emanates from the album as well, with episodes of discord and tension that balance with the moments of peace and subtle beauty. This is where the greatness of not only the album, but Heavy Bedroom lies. There is no fear to pursue both the dark and the light, and to make the listener balance on a tightrope between the flight to heaven and the fall to hell. The band allows us to become attached, but not too comfortable. The next turn in any given song can never be anticipated. This can be heard no better than in the song “The Sun And Its Glare,” which begins with noisy havoc and ends in melancholy:
Goodbye, my friend. I’m leaving you here.
The album was recorded and mixed by another Bondar co-conspirator Gary Franks (Roberta Bondar, Silkken Laumann, CEREMONY, ex-As The Poets Affirm) and mastered by Sam Seguin. The incredible cover artwork was done by Penny Davenport, check out more of her work on her website.
I finally got off my lazy tukhus and took in Ottawa Fringe Festival‘s music series on Wednesday, June 25. Last night it was Adam Saikaley’s his quintet interpreting Miles Davis to celebrate the Ottawa Fringe’s 17th year of performing artists.”Get ready,” bassist Marc Decho told me. “We’re about to do some crazy stuff.” They played the five tracks from Filles du Kilimanjaro by replacing the trumpet with Alex Moxon’s guitar and the tenor saxophone with Linsey Wellman’s alto. The powerhouse five are Adam Saikaley on keys, Linsey Wellman on sax, Mike Essoudry drumming, Alex Moxon on guitar & Marc Decho on bass. From start to finish, I thought this is the reason we like live music — jazz music. The jazz method is the best way to enjoy a small group of people using the most beautiful tools humanity has ever created: musical instruments.
For a moment, Decho left this reality with a low-fret solo and almost put Essoudry to sleep as his lids slowly closed, continuing to drum. Saikaley worked his back into the keyboard and brought the arranged song back to a jam, that strayed from Miles Davis into a Sound Providers or J-88 kind of sound. Beautiful sessions, right up until “Mademoiselle Mabry (Miss Mabry)” at the end. I can’t wait to see them again or any other of Saikaley’s projects. Our Kid Whiz Sacha confided that he’d seen Gary Franks of Roberta Bondar & Saikaley jam for about 25 minutes once, and they sounded like a thunderstorm.
The Adam Saikaley Quintet playing sick jazz at the Ottawa Fringe Festival in the Fringe Courtyard on June 25, 2014. Photo: Joseph Mathieu
We jumped the fence and walked a jaunt over to City Hall, Marion Dewar Plaza to be exact, to watch another jazz group celebrate performance art.
Bill Frisell has always been known for his dope projects and this evening’s Go West was no different. He led his four-man jazz ensemble below a giant screen on which the 1925 silent film Go Westplayed as they added music to the story. Greg Leisz, Tony Scherr & Kenny Wollesen all played with Frisell on June 24th for his GUITAR IN THE SPACE AGE! at the NAC Studio. Having been on-and-off bandmates all through each of their impressive musical careers they’re synergy was palpable. They orchestrated Buster Keaton’s character into new a light for a packed tent of jazz lovers as the OLG After Dark Series promised they would.
The movie is classic and it made me want to cheer for the main character Friendless as he exploded out of a barrel that rolled off a moving train, and bemoan his bad luck in NYC where he couldn’t even deal with foot traffic. The story of this drifter making his way through the USA and inevitably befriending a cow named Brown Eyes on a ranch was beautifully complimented by the four jazzmen, from the dinner bell going on Wollesen’s cymbal, to the bulls chasing Friendless through a climactic crescendo, and finally to the uplifting denouement of an 89-year-old story brought back to life. It was an ultimate remix that earned them a standing ovation.
Bill Frisell, Greg Leisz, Tony Scherr & Kenny Wollesen playing Go West at TD Ottawa Jazz Festival for the OLG After Dark Series on June 25, 2014. Photo: Joseph Mathieu
Both festivals are still going to put on some amazing plays & performances by the time Canada Day Weekend rears its head, so here are some more great shows to consider:
Tomorrow marks Christmas in June for all the punk rockers in Ottawa. But unlike the Christmas (which is only one measly day), Ottawa Explosion starts Thursday, June 12, and goes until Sunday, June 15. You saw that correctly – four days of awesome rock, punk, garage, hardcore & metal music, great people, comedians, beers, and amazing times. It is almost unfair to Christmas to be compared to something this awesome.
With over 70 bands playing at seven different venues during the four-day whirlwind, Ottawa Explosion is the grassroots festival to beat in Ottawa. In its fourth year, it may not get the big bands like Bluesfest, but it draws in excellent must-see acts from around the world and strives to promote local acts (and by all the Ottawa bands listed below you can see it does exceptionally well). Oh, and did I mention the extremely reasonable price? There are free shows, some as low as $5, and the most expensive show is $15. You can also grab a five-day pass for $60 which grants you access to every show so you can venue hop.
One of the greatest weekends in Ottawa just got even better! Ottawa Explosion Weekend (June 12-15) just announced another round of bands coming to rock the capital, and many of them won’t have to travel to0 far.