The Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival returned to Monney’s Bay June 21 to 24 for its 25th Anniversary with its annual great lineup of free concerts.
Photographer Aidan Thatcher took in the sights and sounds of the first three days which featured Wintersleep, Broken Social Scene, Sam Robert, Hollerado and many more. Check out photos of each performance below.
Day one featuring Sam Roberts Band Sam Roberts Band, Crown Lands, Amos the Transparent and M.T. Walker
Day two featuring Broken Social Scene, Dizzy, Ellevator and Gianna Lauren
Day three featuring Wintersleep, Hollerado, Fast Romantics, Rebelle and Old Man Grant
The headliners that will grace the stage at Mooney’s Bay include Sam Roberts Band (21st), Broken Social Scene (22nd), Wintersleep and Hollerado (23rd), and Matt Mays (24th). If all those Juno award winners and Polaris Prize nominees aren’t enough to get you excited for these free concerts, note that they will also be joined by Crown Lands, Amos The Transparent, M. T. Walker, Dizzy, Ellevator, Gianna Lauren, Fast Romantics, Rebelle, Old Man Grant, Birds of Bellwoods, Midnight Vesta, Rory Taillon and Craig Cardiff.
So mark your calendar, stock up on sunscreen and get ready to head down to Mooney’s Bay in late June to cheer on some racers and take in some most excellent performances.
The band casually took the stage, only to rock our faces off with their mind-bending riffs, which both contrast and compliment singer John Murphy’s soothing vocals. The most striking aspects of their performance were the intricate guitar, bass AND drum solos interwoven throughout the set, as well as the flawless and unexpected tempo changes during “Banger”. If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the experimental tunes of Walrus live and you’d like to know what The Beatles’ and The Sadies’ love child would sound like, catching a show during their ongoing Canadian tour is definitely worth your while. If you can’t make it to a show, be sure to grab a copy of their newest EP Glam Returns, available on Bandcamp.
By the time Wintersleep came on, Ritual was packed with fans awaiting a premiere of The Great Detachment, set to release the following day, and hoping to hear some old favourites. Wintersleep didn’t disappoint, opening with new track “Lifting Cure”, and proceeding with an array of songs from their early and recent albums. Not big on small talk or banter, they kept interludes short and sweet with humble nods and “thank you’s”, which could only make someone love them more. The band elicited enthusiastic sing-alongs during “Weighty Ghost” and “Oblivion”, catering to hardcore fans and less dedicated listeners alike. Even though The Great Detachment had yet to be officially released, the band had offered an online streaming preview via Clash Magazine, which gave listeners just enough time to get a feel for the new album and learn some of the words. New singles “Amerika” and “Santa Fe” were performed with such infectious energy that you couldn’t help but politely dance your heart out in true Ottawa fashion.
The crowd went nuts as Wintersleep closed their set with “Miasmal Smoke & Yellow Bellied Freaks”, only to be even more satisfied when they came back with a fantastic three-song encore. Finally, fans were blown away during the nearly 10-minute finale as the band jammed out to “Nerves Normal. Breathe Normal” from their 2006 album Untitled.
There was certainly no shortage of headbanging, hip-shaking or-crowd roaring Thursday night. Cramming a mass amount of music lovers into a small-scale venue, in which you can stand pressed against the stage and make awkward eye contact with your favourite musicians, is something Ottawa does best. A big thanks to Spectrasonic and Ritual for hosting such an amazing show, and to Walrus and Wintersleep for making us forget how hella self-conscious we are about dancing in public.
The Great Detachment dropped March 4th and it’s phenomenal. You can purchase the new album and get more info about Wintersleep’s tour here – get ready Canada, they’re heading west!
CityFolk has a new location, new setup, new programming, and new name. The only thing that stayed the same is delivering great acts to Ottawa music lovers.
A fair warning that much of this review will be in French or even bilingual as Lisa Leblanc and Les Soeur Boulay stole the show.
The highlight of the night for this music lover was fun-loving, banjo-slaying, Acadian songstress Lisa Leblanc on the Raven Law stage. She killed it as always and proved herself once again to be one of my favourite live acts. Mlle Leblanc était exceptionnelle et on point. Après quelques chansons elle a dit: “Ça vas être un show franglais… tu sais à Ottawa tout est traduit.” Elle a gardé sa promesse.
Tout le show, elle sautait du français en anglais, parfois elle arrêtait pour traduire ce qu’elle venait juste de dire en français pour “the English people.” Elle a joué plus de tunes en français, mais il y avait de la musique pour tous grâce aux chansons de son album le plus récent Highways, Heartaches and Time Well Wasted. Une de ces chanson est “Katie Cruel”. Avant de la jouer elle a dit, “this next one is an old folk song. All old folk songs either end in death or alcoholism. This one does both.” Lisa Leblanc joue le banjo comme personne d’autre, pis son sens de l’humour est captivant. Elle a toujours un gros sourire pendant le spectacle, c’est claire qu’elle s’amuse et la foule s’amusait en masse au même temps. On chantait à voix haute tout le spectacle. Avant de jouer “Kraft Dinner”, une chanson d’amour à des nouilles couvert de fromage, “I wrote a love song about Kraft Dinner, need I say more?”
Elle nous a aussi joué quelques nouvelles chansons, dont une instrumentale sur le banjo qu’elle a écrit lorsqu’elle était à Dead Man Flats en Alberta, et voulait faire une randonnée mais avait peur de se faire manger par un grizzly. Et une des chansons d’amour la plus canadienne possible intitulé “5,748 kilometres”. Les paroles: “Let’s get this straight you’re in Vancouver and I’m in New Brunswick… That’s a six-day drive if you don’t stop to pee too much, this is the dumbest idea I’ve ever had but I love you.” Avant de jouer “Aujourd’hui, ma vie c’est d’la marde” elle a dit, “Hey, you can learn to swear in French with this song. Tonight is a good day.”
Pour conclure son spectacle elle a demandé à la foule si nous voulions un cover de Shania Twain ou de Motörhead. Je n’ai jamais entendu une foule crier Motörhead aussi fort de ma vie. Lisa et son band ont d’abord joué “Ace of Spades.” Un banjo a jamais rocké autant!
Alex Silas and the Subterraneans keeping it fresh at CityFolk in Ottawa.
After Lisa, we watched Wintersleep. The Ravenlaw stage area was packed for their laid back alt rocking ways. I watched about half their set, enough to hear “Weighty Ghost.,” and then headed to see local act Alex Silas & The Subterraneans. I got there just in time to see a packed stage as other locals The Adding Machine and Eddie Quotez joined him for “Zombeez.” The high energy hip-hop act backed by live music was an excellent change of pace. Silas and his band were on point especially during “This Town,” “Mouton Noir” and his new song “Champagne.” He topped it off by popping a bottle of champagne and passing it around. The crowd wanted more than just champagne though, they wanted more music. So Silas and crew came back for an encore that flowed so smoothly, and even included a Pat Benetar reference and the great line “I don’t have the word to describe the curve of your lower back… but.” As always a real treat.
Walk Off The Earth playing at CityFolk in Ottawa.
Before Lisa Leblanc was Walk Of The Earth, a band that made it big off of Youtube videos of them performing covers going viral internationally. This band has come a long way from the time I saw them performing as a ska/punk three-piece at Warped Tour in Montreal, say six years ago or so. Now the stage has six people on it, plus sound techs that join in often to play along with them and there are nearly as many instruments as an orchestra on stage. The crowd of all ages absolutely loved them packing the main stage area and singing as loud as they could. They played all the hits, such as “Red Hands,” “Rule the World” and “Summer Vive.” They even gathered all around one guitar to play their great rendition of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.”
Les Soeurs Boulay au CityFolk à Ottawa.
Back to French as Les Soeurs Boulay kicked off my evening. Après avoir joué leur première chanson, elles ont demandé “combien d’entre vous parlez français?” et était pas mal surprise par le nombre de monde qui ont crié. Les sœurs, Mélanie et Stéphanie Boulay, jouent du folk super fun et cute. Elles m’ont vraiment impressionné parce qu’en les écoutant enligne avant leur spectacle je croyais qu’il aurait un band avec eux quand elle joue live, mais ce n’était pas le cas. Chacune joue la guitare ou le ukulélé et le tambour, des fois tout au même temps. En plus, Mélanie joue le kazoo pendant quelque chansons. Pas mal sharp. Elles étaient tellement choyés d’être sur la scène. “C’est la troisième folk fest de ma vie et entre un à l’autre j’oublie a quelle point ca me fait du bien. Quelle beaux moments,” elles ont dit. Les Soeurs Boulay ont joué plein de chansons de leurs premier album, Le Poids des confettis, tel que “Cul-de-sac”, “Des shooters de fort sur ton bras”, “Ton amour est passé de mode” et mon préféré “Mappemonde”. Elles ont aussi joué des nouvelles chansons et ont annoncé qu’elles lancent un nouveau disque, leur deuxième, dans un mois. Elles ont conclue en disant : “On vous remercie de sortir de chez vous et de vous rassembler pour voir de la musique. C’est tellement important!”
Once in a while, a bill pops up on the calendar and makes you do a double take. “$10 for all of this? That can’t be right!” It’s like finding one of your favourite records that you’ve been looking for for ages, and then finding one in perfect condition at Value Village. So it went, leading up to the night of Nov. 21. A few artists I had come to really love, Dusted and The Elwins, managed to somehow meet and decide that they want to play music together in the same night at Ritual in Ottawa. Needless to say, no twisting of my arm was required.