Finish What You Started Festival: Day 2 Matinee at Robot House

Jon Creeden belting it out at Robot House.
Jon Creeden belting it out at Robot House.

Saturday was a gorgeous afternoon and perfect for a BBQ with some acoustic punk rock at Robot House.

The show was the matinee portion of a full day of awesome.  This part saw six different musicians play solo acoustic sets in backyard on Flora Street. The BBQ was fired up, with burgs and portobello mushrooms (which were AMAZING) on the grill, people had a few drinks and shared a great sunny day of music.

Getting the show on the road was Richard Barrier of New Elders. With his guitar case down in front looking like a busker he played a good mix of originals and covers.  I really enjoyed his Flatliners cover and how excited he is to finally get to see them in September.  The lead singer of New Elders was sitting front and centre, but did not want to join Chris. He wanted him to have the stage to himself.

Second up was Cory Levesque. Cory opened with a love song.  He then followed up with, “Every good love song needs to be followed by a break up song, that’s science or something from a book I read that one time.” Cory got people singing along, I really liked his song ”Where I’d Rather Be.” Another of the many Ottawa gems on display over the weekend.

Corey Levesque at Robot House.
Cory Levesque at Robot House.

”Hi I’m from Londoom, Onterrible,” is how The Drunken Wobblies opened his set. He played some very politically and ethically-charged folk punk rock.  I found it to be very motivating music. There are not many songs more more punk rock than his song ”Patriarchy.” The song is about how there is way too much sexism in the punk scene, and has the great chorus ”If it’s about a dance floor free from insecurity it’s time to grow up stop the patriarchy.”

Jay from Dirty Kills, filled in for The Ghostwrite who could not make it out. He did a great job on such short notice. He started by saying ”This festival is awesome. I never heard of it, but I’m not in the loop of cool stuff.” Jay mellowed us out, but in the best way possible.  I really liked his sound, and am a little bummed out I missed his band play later that night. He apologized for playing so many slow and depressing songs, but added ”Depressing songs are pretty sweet sometimes.” He played the song ”You’re Stronger” from when he was in band called Slouch. A little known and useless fact: the first band I was ever in was called Slouch.

Nick Raz had everyone laughing, many of us so hard we had tears in our eyes. I have never laughed so hard at a concert in my life – hell, I have laughed much less at comedy shows in comedy clubs. With songs about how hard life must have been before Google Maps, songs chalked full of Star Wars and Star Trek references, and a hilarious song about pants, you can only imagine the humour. (Listen below.) The highlight for me was his song about one of my all-time favourite video games, NBA Jam. How can you not love a track with the lyric ”I love it when you call me big blocker” and one where he says ”boomshakalaka-boom-boom.” Nick, never change!

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Jon Creeden was tasked with closing out the afternoon. He was told earlier in the week by Phil of Robots!Everywhere!, to never play another cover set. And seeing as Jon is coming back to Ottawa in two weeks for the release of Beards on vinyl, he challenged himself to play older songs. One of those older songs he rocked, was ”Capital City,” which he dedicated to Ska Jeff. He then said screw it and defied Phil, playing some covers. He covered The Ghostwrite’s ”Simply Minor,” because he could not make it and played a Dead Weights cover to prepare everyone for what was to come later that night. If you missed out on this set, and/or really want a copy of Beards on vinyl, Jon will be playing Robot House on September 9th.

This was such a fun event and such a wicked way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I definitely need to spend more time with these people and at these kinds of events. I felt at home.