It was a great scene at Zaphod’s as The Superlative and Metronome Jones played a show to raise money for Fort McMurray.
It is important to remind ourselves of the power that music possesses. From lyrical content to sweet riffs to the raw energy of a live show, music can be such a great tool for bring people together to better a situation. In this case music was used to help with the more than 88,000 residents displaced by the wild fires in Alberta, some of whom have lost everything. They raised $2200 via ticket sales, a portion of band merch and bar sales, ad revenue from live streaming the show on Blast The Radio, as well as a raffle with a ton of great prizes that were donated to the cause.
Metronome Jones rocking for Fort McMurray at Zaphod’s in Ottawa.
I was unfortunately running a little late, so I missed Missioner. This meant that my night started with Metronome Jones. It The three piece rock ensemble from Ottawa were great and I really like the singer Matthew Yorke’s voice. They certainly have elements of blues and some tinges of grunge to go with their rock sounds. Their most infectious song is without a doubt “Manic Enough.” From the intro featuring Yorke’s vocals over nothing but claps to the catchy upstroke riffs as the song progresses towards a very dancy chorus. Great track that had people swaying their hips. The band also happened to cover “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” by the Arctic Monkeys which was quite the treat.
The Superlative headlining a fundraiser for Fort McMurray at Zaphod’s in Ottawa.
Headlining and organizing the festivities was The Superlative. Trying to label this band as alternative rock or pop-punk does them such a disservice. The boys in The Superlative push the boundaries of genres flowing from reggae and ska tracks, to more traditional alt rock to songs with elements of screamo or post-hardcore.
They opened the set with “The Truth Hurts” off their third record In Love & Debt and I don’t think lead singer Charles Lapointe stopped jumping or stepping up on the monitors from that point. The band certainly feeds off his energy and you can’t blame, the man never looked tired and was all smiles the whole time. I am a sucker for their more ska style tracks so I loved performances of tracks such as “Breaking the Bond” and “JAMaca,” that really make you want to dance. The Superlative are so tight when they are channeling their ska/reggae influences they could probably be an awesome ska band if they focused on just that, but I am glad they keep it wide open and offer such a range of tracks. It was also great to hear them play “Keep it Here” live, because it transported me back to a few years ago when they jammed the track for me when I went to interview them (video here). The band through in a cover of Christina Aguilera’s “Your Body” for good measure and eventually closed out the night “Something to Die For,” before returning for an encore.
I may not have won anything from the raffle, but it wasn’t about that. I had one hell of a night watching a community get together to help out their fellow citizens and if that doesn’t warm your heart and give you hope I don’t know what will.
Usually we try to do a post for each new video when we can, but July has been crazy hectic with festivals, vacation, new music and new videos. So we decided to highlight five recently released videos by some great local bands. They are posted in alphabetical order for you viewing pleasure.
Amos the Transparent — “That’s the Life for Me “
The video begins with the orchestral folk-inspired indie six-piece on stage of a high school gym playing to what looks like a good ol-fashioned sock hop. The video is super cute and perfectly follows the lyrics, a story of growing up, falling in love, starting a family and growing tired of television. My favourite scene is when the singer and his love fall for each other in the back kitchen of a pub, very well shot. The song is from Amos the Transparent‘s latest album This Cold Escape. Like what you hear and see, check them out August 15th at the Blacksheep Inn with special guest Cody Allen.
BlakDenim — “One Hit”
BlakDenim‘s latest video is more on the simplistic side, but you can afford to do that when you have so much going on musically. The group delivers hip-hop infused with jazz and soul elements, and also features a really impressive brass section. The video is black and white and bounce between Precise Kenny Creole spitting the rhymes, the band singing as they chill by the water near Mooney’s Bay and the band on stage performing. You don’t always need an epic video, sometimes it is best to let the song speak for itself. “One Hit” appears on BlakDenim’s new EP Vanguard(en).
Buck N’ Nice — “What Was Wrong With Me”
“What Was Wrong With Me” is the third video single from the debut album, Us Versus Them, from Buck N’ Nice. The video is dimly lit and often in black and white for the powerful and introspective song about growing up the victim of ruthless bullying. Once again this is another example of deep lyrics not needing the flash of intense visuals, just the words and the look of pain in his eyes. Buck N’ Nice are among the many local hip-hop acts making a lot of noise in the nation’s capital and putting Ottawa on the hip-hop map.
The Souljazz Orchestra — “Shock And Awe”
Veterans of the Ottawa scene, Souljazz Orchestra are at it again with a video for the super infectious and dancey track “Shock and Awe”. The video is set on the very familiar pedestrian bridge that goes over the Queensway near Island Park Drive. I love how the video begins with a shot of traffic below and then pans to the band. The camera then focuses on one member at a time and their name scrolls across the stage. Nice touch. The video also features great moving shots of Ottawa landmarks including the graffiti wall near the Albert Street Education Centre and the decommissioned rail bridge near the water treatment plants. My favourite is when they pause to let a woman walk by on the bridge. Great work by Souljazz as always.
The Superlative — “High Anxiety”
The Superlative have a history of releasing some pretty funny videos (check out “Life is Good“) and their latest release is no exception. The video revolves around quite possibly the worst talent search in history. They frame it as a “video star search,” and they got everyone: a breakdancer, mad scientist and workout junky. The poor judges, played by singer Charles Lapointe, guitarist Kiel’s wife Heather and local musician Richard Barrie (Rich Chris, The Valveenus and Pistols at Dawn), provide the most entertaining with their hand drawn sings showing their rejection of the contestants. Special shout out to the sign that read “- ∞”(minus infinity) I laughed quite hard. “High Anxiety” will appear on the band’s third album, In Love & Debt, which is expected to drop later this year.
Owen Davies – “Mystic”
Owen Davies is at it again, collaborating with director Pascal Huot for his latest video “Mystic” off his new album of the same title coming out August 1. Although Davies isn’t technically Ottawa-based, he works closely with Huot (member of Pony Girl) and the new label So Sorry Records which is based in the nation’s capital. If there’s one thing you will learn about Davies and Huot in their creative endeavours it is that they are unrestrained and unflinching when it comes to the unordinary. Davies refuses to maintain a specific folk “sound” – he’d rather experiment with textures and electronic elements while keeping the folk essence at the core. Be warned – this video starts out nice and peaceful, but the ending is PG-13 due to blood and gore. Stream Owen Davies’ new album Mystic exclusively here.
New video from Ottawa’s The Superlative for the first single of their new album Numéro Deux.
The song is called “Keep It Here” and the video depicts the factory like grooming that the pop music world inflicts on their future “stars.” Looks like it was a very fun video to be a part of and I presume thrift shops in the region are thankful for the band’s need of multiple attires. Check out the video below and if you like what you hear, the full album is set to drop May 13 and is streaming here.
One of Ottawa’s hardest working bands, The Superlative, has been in the studio since last year and finally have something to share with us. It may just be a teaser, combined some rad art work, but it does paint the picture for their upcoming sophomore release, appropriately titled, “Numero Deux.”
The teaser sounds like the band has moved to a little edgier sound while the final piece shows that they haven’t lost their ska/reggae groove. The full album drops in May, but we are told there should be a video out before then to keep you satisfied.
Ottawa’s The Superlative had a very busy 2013. They released their debut album Chester in March, played a lot of shows and got some big time international exposure. I had the opportunity in early December to sit in one of their practices (see the two-song video below) and interview the band. So here is my interview with the guys, Kiel Burwell (guitar/vocals), Charles Lapointe (vocals), Pat Lebrun (guitar/vocals), Alex Tait (bass) and Zach Lachance (drums).