Hailing from Augusta, Georgia, Veara lit it up with their great energy, despite some technical issues. The band, who I would describe as pop-punk with an edge, rocked through a set full of up-tempo, sing-along tracks, that had some die hards in the crowd rushing the mic and crowding the singer. If they weren’t in the singer’s face, Bryan Kerr, one of the most intense bass players I have ever seen on stage was grabbing them by the shirt and screaming the words at them. Yeah, the energy was there, and did I mention this was a Wednesday? Way to go Ottawa, coming out on a school night. Some of the songs that really stuck out for me were ”We have a Body Count,” ”The Worst Part of You,” and the killer tune they closed with, that got the a circle pit going, “My B-Side Life.” The band continues its Canadian tour in Toronto on Friday. (Check out a brief interview I did with drummer Brittany Harrell after the show here.)
The other touring act on the bill was July from Toronto. They were pure clap-along pop-punk, with a very talkative lead singer. He said such beauties as ”Hey don’t you find the guitarist looks like Freddy Mercury?” to which the guitarist replied, ”Thank you, Freddy attracted women and men.” Vocalist, Devin Moody, also made me laugh when introducing the song ”Second Best” which he said was about the guitarist’s ”hot mom, but it is called ‘Second Best’ because her sister, his aunt, is even hotter.” That song came in first place for me, and was the highlight of their set. As they concluded their set and tried to play the final chorus of their last song, the power went out on the amps and left them laughing in disbelief. They thanked us and walked off smiling, glad they stayed positive and didn’t blow any fuses…
Before the out-of-towners took to the stage, Neighbours, from Nepean (they specify Nepean not Ottawa) rocked out. Delivering fresh tracks from their new EP, This Past Year. The six piece are very tight, and what would you expect from a bunch of guys who all live on the same street? Their set had a real local feel to it with a bunch of their buddies crowding the front and singing every word with them. It made for a very busy space, but I love seeing people jumping in on the mic. Nothing whipped the crowd into a frenzy on this night more than their anthem ”Late Nights” which had people belting out at the top of their lungs. How can you blame them when the pop-punk gem makes references to ”late nights spent on the 95” and a final verse which they repeat and commands singing along to: ”my friends never let me go, they never let me down, you’ll never understand what it takes to give your all, when your friends have your back you’ll never fall apart.” Pure gold.
Chris Benton, a solo acoustic act from Cornwall, brought a little bit of a different speed to the evening. The bleeding heart romantic with a guitar slowed it down and played some great sounding originals, such as ”Be All.” During the song he said, ”I think this is where people clap. It has never happened before but it could.” The crowd chuckled and gladly clapped along. Other than his own material, he played two covers which he did very well, Carly Rae Jepsen’s ”Call Me Maybe” and NOFX’s ”Linoleum.” Always have to respect a person playing a solo show, especially on a bill full of bands. He seems like a very cool dude and he even gave me a shout out for wearing a Belvedere tee shirt.
Opening the night was Ottawa’s Monsun. I only caught the last song, but they sounded pretty good. I hope to catch them again sometime soon to hear more of it live.