February 20th has brought us such greats as Kurt Cobain, Rihanna, Angelina Grimké, and Ming Wu. How does one celebrate such an occasion? Well you get Flying Hórses, Big Dick, DJ Sweetcheeks, and Adam Saikaley to perform at Babylon… Oh, and you do so without telling the birthday boy until the afternoon of the show. Ming is an omnipresent individual in Ottawa, going to almost every single event. Ever. He always brings his camera and snaps some shots wherever he goes. His photo blog Photogmusic provides Ottawa with an unofficial photo essay of things that happen in town. Ming also has a twin brother Lenny who we also celebrated .
The night kicked off with the installation of the Ming Zone followed by Liam Mooney giving a speech. The highlight of the speech for me was, “Thank you so much Ming, you’re so fucking awesome… You single handily built a photography empire in this city.” It should be noted that the Ming Zone is a spot right in front of the stage where Ming normally holds his ground at shows. While he may not be popular with people for this tradition, it is the sweet spot for him to take some pretty cool photos of bands of all kinds. Thus, the Ming Zone was clearly delineated on this special occasion.
Now to get the live music rolling, Flying Hórses took the stage. The set began with Jade Bergeron winding up old sounding music maker and placing them in a box, it was rather creepy and awesome all at once. The rest of the performance was a beautiful whimsical journey through the birthday world, powered by synth, cello, and violin. Their talented cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne is also part of the new duo The Visit, which Matías recently wrote about in New Music. They mesmerized the crowd with their dark and powerful instrumentals that made me think of The Nightmare Before Christmas or a piece from Black Swan. Simply put, they were wonderful. One very cool element of their stage set-up was the old style children’s lullaby carousel that they put a mic to and incorporated into a song.
After a small break it was time for Big Dick to take over. This rocking power duo pack quite a punch and are definitely at a different pace then Flying Hórses, but on this night it worked. People seemed to get more excited after every song, and by the third song there were at least 15 people crowdsurfing Ming Wu and cheering. Once returned to the ground, Ming’s dancing inspired and encouraged some people to join him in his “zone”. A good crowd formed and heavy dancing and light moshing ensued. Big Dick played a fantastic set, as they always do, but my favourite part was their opening two sound blasts of “Medic” followed by “Let down.”
Before the bands, between sets and after Big Dick (the band, not the appendage), DJ Sweetcheecks (Kitchen Party) and Adam Saikaley (Silkken Laumann) kept our eardrums tickled with some grooving tunes. Thanks to everyone who was involved in this show, it was a grand success!