The Mahones Bring Some Celtic Flare to the Ottawa Jazz Fest
The final night of the OLG After Dark series at the Ottawa Jazz Festival was another great one with the Celtic punk rock band The Mahones on June 30th.
On my way to the show I was not expecting a very large turn-out for a band that is a little outside the festival’s comfort zone, playing at 10:30 PM on a Monday and following Natalie MacMaster. I was happily surprised to see several hundred people under the big tent. The Mahones recognized the amazing talent of jazz musicians. “Jazz music is the hardest music to play in the world, and thanks for having us.” They then jokingly said “here is our song with the word Jazz in it.”
It was a really hot and humid night, and the band from Kingston, who had just played in Atlanta, Georgia were feeling it. “Ottawa is so much hotter than Atlanta,” said guitarist and lead singer Finny McConnell. To deal with the heat they had fans propped up on roles of duct tape. The Mahones have great on stage chemistry and always look like they are having a blast, this night was no exception. It was also awesome to see, much to my surprise, local guitarist Eryk Chamberland on acoustic guitar. I had no idea he had joined the band!
Their set was full of songs spanning their 24-year career, including the excellent tracks “Shakespeare Road” and “Down the Boozer.” They also performed some covers of Irish classics such as “The Wild Rover.” My favourite cover of the night was when they went away from their Celtic roots and tapped into their punk influences, playing “I want to be Sedated” by The Ramones. A member of The Scally Cap Brats joined them for the punk rock classic and it was awesome.
The band took the time to wish us all an early happy Canada Day and passed a long a little national history lesson. “I don’t know if you know but you’re the only country that got their independence by asking for it nicely.”
This was such a fun show and a great way to mark the end of our Jazz Fest coverage. I danced so much I have blisters on my big toes, but they were certainly worth it. Cheers to The Mahones and to the entire Jazz Fest team on another great year!
TD Ottawa Jazz Festival’s OLG After Dark Series Bites Its Thumb at the Curfew
Nestled right within Confederation Park, the longest days of the year aren’t privy to what goes on after dark. This year’s Jazz Festival, brought to us by Toronto Dominion, is having again this year its 10:30PM shows for the OLG After Dark Series at their Laurier Avenue Canadian Music Stage. To celebrate, Beau’s Brewery has released the limited edition After Dark Ale, which will be the key for contestants to win tickets to this year’s Beau’s Oktoberfest.
Sweet shows have already begun! Those of us who can’t manage our schedules properly have already missed DJ Rekha, Austra & Snarky Puppy on the first three nights of the festival. Tonight Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society will massage our senses with approximately a 17-person big band!
Tomorrow is the very exciting Socalled, a producer, composer, singer, songwriter from Montreal who grew up in Chelsea, QC will make some of his funk hiphop come to life for us (minus the digital effects, but probably with a few anyways).
Wednesday we’ll see Jazz Festival veteran Bill Frisell with his amazing project Go West. With the assistance of talented musicians Greg Leisz, Tony Scherr and Kenny Wooleson, he will be mapping out a 1925 Buster Keaton film titled Go West with their percussion, bass & guitars. Thursday the 26th we’ll have the classic big brass band from New Orleans, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, celebrating their 35th anniversary as a musical entity. Friday the 27th we’ll witness the pop ensemble Lake Street Drive after dark touring their third LP release, Bad Self Portraits. This American quartet has some sweet R&B and jazz background to their upbeat & wonderfully sung tracks.
On Saturday the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, which needs no introduction other than the video below, will play into the night of the week, follow by reggae rock & irish violin from singer/songwriter Michael Greilsammer on Sunday, and Irish punk (!) from The Mahones on Monday!
Thus ends the After Dark Series, but the final day of the festival will see it into Canada Day. Indeed, this series is but a taste of the entirety of the Jazz Festival’s programming. The beautifully simple full schedule is here. You stay jazzy Ottawa!