Doldrums Saturday Night Showcase: Keturah Johnson, Those Gulls, The Ticket, Cold Capital and Big Moan @ Cafe Dekcuf March 1

Keturah Johnson playing Cafe Dekcuf in Ottawa.
Keturah Johnson playing Cafe Dekcuf in Ottawa.

For the second night in a row I was spoiled with an all-local bill, this time thanks to Doldrums at Cafe Dekcuf. The Keturah Johnson, Those Gulls, The Ticket, Cold Capital and Big Moan delivered a great night.

Headlining the night was one of the acts I have been eagerly waiting all year to see, Keturah Johnson with her band. I believe Keturah has one of the nicest and most powerful voices in the capital as well as a knack for songwriting, so when I found out she was finally getting a band together I was so excited. They most certainly did not disappoint playing very good new tracks and adding amazing depth to her older songs. None more than the tremendously powerful and moving, “Wrecking Ball Daughter.” I sure am looking forward to getting my hands on some recordings of theirs, whenever that happens.

Those Gulls playing Cafe Dekcuf in Ottawa.
Those Gulls playing Cafe Dekcuf in Ottawa.

Bringing  a dancier tone to the evening was Those Gulls. The five-piece filled the stage with up-tempo and lively tracks.  In a very cool twist, the lead singer, Kate Schroder, sang some songs through a bright red phone which was plugged in and created some pretty cool voice effects. These effects were prevalent on songs like “On Our Own,” which they played early in their set to get the crowd moving. The band has released three two-song singles since January and is set to release a full album later this year.  They gave us a taste by material on that upcoming release. I most enjoyed their closing track, “Alternate Exit.”

The Ticket playing Cafe Dekcuf in Ottawa.
The Ticket playing Cafe Dekcuf in Ottawa.

Channeling late 1970’s Elvis Costello with moments sounding of Jack White’s riffs, The Ticket really impressed me. The duo, dressed in shirt and tie had some of the most interesting in-song transitions and song-to-song transitions I have heard outside of prog-rock. Sometimes flowing quite smoothly, other times making really abrupt transitions to off beats while always maintaining great energy. These transitions are not exactly what you expect from a rock duo and that’s what really had me hooked. They played a rocking version of The Beatles’s “I’ve Got a Feeling” and left me wanting more when they finished with the ever rocking “Evaporate.” They are set to release a new EP in March and I am very much excited to hear it.

Cold Capital playing Cafe Dekcuf in Ottawa.
Cold Capital playing Cafe Dekcuf in Ottawa.

Cold Capital were shorthanded on Saturday night due to the raging snowstorm outside. “We are down a member, he is out plowing snow,” said lead singer Erik Hertzberg. Even down a man they played great and had a very full sound. Their set started out pretty good, but where they really impressed me was when guitar and keys changed roles for the final two songs.  First I found the songs “Sign Me Up” and “The Truth” more rocking than the earlier songs and secondly the keyboard player did this sort of flicking down-strumming which I had never seen before.

Big Moan playing Cafe Dekcuf in Ottawa.
Big Moan playing Cafe Dekcuf in Ottawa.

Opening the night was psychedelic rockers Big Moan. They also announced that they were working on a new album, but is a little different than most, as it will be a concept album.  Big Moan played what will be the first song, and I am quite curious to see where the rest of that album will go. They did some pretty cool stuff, two members wearing ski masks with mustaches sewn in and the cool effects of the bass on their song “Marsh.” But none cooler than inviting Keturah to join them for their last song. They then did a duet of “In The Pines” an American folk song from the late 1800’s, which many of you know as “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” performed by Nirvana during their unplugged set. With the lead singer switching from electric guitar to slide and the help of Keturah wicked pipes, they finished strong.

Writer’s note: sorry for the sub-par photos, I forgot my camera and had to rely on my phone.

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