Logistically, as I headed into my Thursday I knew this was a marathon and not a sprint. Thursday and Friday, back-to-back shows topped with everything else life was throwing my way turned in to what I can only describe as a whirlwind couple of days. This is whirlwind, part one.
My musical journey with We Are the City began a couple of years ago when another artist I was listening to went on tour with them as their openers. Since then, I have done my best to keep up with their music and when I saw they were passing through Ottawa, I made sure I would be there. Based out of Vancouver, We Are the City brings high energy with an electronic rock fusion set. Having just released their new album Above Club in November, this show was a must-see.
A similar story for HIGHS, I don’t remember exactly what or who put me on to their music in the first place, but I enjoyed their album and decided that, after missing them once, the next time they were in town I’d find a way to make it out to see them. It came as a happy surprise when they were added to the line-up for a show that I had already placed so much anticipation around.
I had not heard Rebelle before, but arrived promptly as they were starting their set. They were more on the pop/rock side of the rock-electronic fusion theme the evening had going and fit very well with the visiting lineup. During the set, House of TARG filled with an eager crowd awaiting the next two sets and happy to take them in. Siblings David and Rylee Taggart and their band have really been making a name for themselves, and previously known as The Strain. After seeing their set, have officially entered my artists to watch category as they make their way further into the scene.
HIGHS at House of TARG (Photo by Elizabeth Durford)
When HIGHS took the stage, it was clear that the majority of the crowd was well aware of their music. Those who were clear fans pressed to the front of the crowd, but the nice thing about TARG is the ability to have a good view of the show from pretty much any vantage point in the place. Personally, I’m a side stage kind of gal. HIGHS bring a unique light sound with their mixing vocals and tempos. They matched their music’s energy with movement and mixing up instruments, the addition of a second drum in the front added an extra element to the set.
We Are the City set themselves up for a similar high dynamic stage. Big lights, similar to those you’d find in an office or school ceiling, crowded the small stage. They flooded bright changing colors onto the musicians and into the crowd. This group made it clear the talents within each individual as they changed up who took lead on different songs. Despite the crazy fusion between pop/rock/electronics their music is very easy to keep up with and sing along if you so desire.
Each group brought all their energy to the stage, and judging by the crowd, their energy paid off. As night one drew to a close, I left feeling satisfied with finally seeing two groups I had kept my eye on for a long while, and equally as happy to add another group to that list.
Amped to say the least, anticipation for whirlwind, part two, began to grow.
We Are The City at House of TARG. (Photo by Elizabeth Durnford)
*NOTE* – This contest is now closed. Congrats to winner Aaron C. for winning two tickets to this show Feb. 25.
Vancouver-based progressive/experimental band We Are The City are on tour and are making a pit stop here in Ottawa on Feb. 25 at House of Targ. Their two-month road trip included multiple dates across Europe, finishing things off in March here in Canada.
They released their third, and most recent album Above Club in November 2015, which is breaking new ground and a clear progression in the band’s overall sound and aesthetic. Produced in the back of a bike shop in Van City, WATC take disparate musical elements that range from pulsating, raw percussion, reverb-laden guitar spatterings, and synth layerings that make for an incredibly impressive mixture of pop, experimental, and art rock sensibilities. Above Club is a fun, yet complex composition with rich textures and elements that go deep. Fans of Tame Impala and Vampire Weekend will feel right at home, but WATC’s music has mass appeal. And what better band to pair with than HIGHS? HIGHS has exploded into the Canadian indie music consciousness since forming in 2012, bringing with them their brand of afrobeat rhythm mixed with irresistibly catchy guitar hooks.
So basically, don’t miss these band when they roll through town. We’re giving away two tickets, here’s how to enter to win:
Q: We Are The City placed first in heated competition in 2009 meant to assist emerging artists from British Columbia and Alberta through education, development, and promotion, which helped garner them international recognition. What was the name of this competition?
Contest closes on Saturday, February 19 at noon. Winner will be announced at the top of this post and on twitter (we will contact via the method you entered).
We Are the City HIGHS Rebelle
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Doors: 9:00 pm / Show: 9:30 pm
House of TARG
$10.00 @ Vertigo Records or online here.
2013 was quite an amazing year for shows in Ottawa and for Ottawa Showbox. Check out some of our favourite live experiences from the past 12 months. They are in no particular order, but they were all awesome. With this many amazing shows over the year, 2014 has its work cut out for it, and we will be there to cover it.
Fucked Up @ Ritual Nightclub (Jan. 12)
This was by far the most mental night of the year for me, and it is still burned in my brain from last January. Damian Abraham and co. played some of their greatest songs from Polaris-winning Chemistry of Common Life and widely-loved David Comes to Life, as well as a few oldies too. I also got to meet Damian Abraham and get one of his famously great sweaty man hugs. – Matias
He is one of the smoothest and smartest hip-hop acts going, and he did not disappoint. The sultan of Canadian hip-hop performed a great high intensity set that seemed to never end, in the good way. Shad and his band (gotta love live instruments in hip-hop) played plenty of tracks off his new album Flying Colours, but did not neglect his other albums either, digging deep into his repertoire. Some of my favourite tracks of the night were ”Stylin,” ”Progress (Part 1: American Pie , Part 2: The Future is Here)” and ”Rose Garden.” But nothing was cooler than when he stripped it down and did an a cappella rendition of ”Epilogue: Long Jawn.” You could truly see how he is head and shoulders above the competition.
We Are the City played before Shad providing a little dose of rock between the two hip-hop acts. This three-piece from Kelowna, now based in Vancouver, BC had a lot of depth in their sound. And I loved that they didn’t shy away from the fact that they weren’t hip-hop, they owned their sound. If I had to compare them I found like they sounded a little like a proggy Cage the Elephant. The band was very well received and they were feeling it, none more than their lead singer who dove off the stage and crowd surfed.
Ottawa’s Zoo Legacy getting crazy and wild at Ritual.
Getting the show on the road was some great hometown talent Zoo Legacy. As previously mentioned, I love it when it is a hip-hop band, aka live musicians rocking out supporting the MC. Zoo Legacy do it very well. I liked their song ”Light it on fire” which was dedicated to the women in the audience, as well as their closing track “L.K.U.T.”