Ottawa Explosion Day One: School Damage, Finderskeepers, Camp Radio and more


Ottawa Explosion Weekend, or as I call it Christmas in June and my five-day birthday extravaganza, kicked off Wednesday night on the front lawn of Club SAW.

I missed the openers Stay Classy, so for me Terrible Liars got the festivities started. The band is a sweet four-piece from Ottawa who were very tight for a band who has only played a handful of shows. I really enjoyed their set and can’t wait to see them again. It is always fun to watch Davey Quesnel shred and play like he is having a seizure. What is this Davey, band #10 on the go? Really digging their songs, “Before you call” and “No Big Surprise.” (Disclaimer: no idea if those are the actual song titles, but they are the choruses.)

Next up was Laureate from Montreal. They have male and female vocals that complement each other perfectly and goes great with their melodic punk stylings. They introduced a song mid set saying, “this song is four and a half minutes on the album, we are going to play out in two.” Oh how I love punk rock. The song was an excellent display of how tight the band is and how smoothly they can transition from mellow to rocking out.

Camp Radio closed out the outdoor portion of the evening; yeah that’s right Mother Nature, nice try! The veterans of the scene absolutely killed it as per usual. I have seen them play many times and always enjoy it. Chris Page rocks out like it is his last show every time (see the video above). Camp Radio don’t play live as often as I wish they would, so don’t miss out next time.

Now inside, it was time for Ottawa’s NECK. Decked out in tropical shirts, they blasted us with Ramones-esque punk rock. Drummer Kevin broke his hand at Pouzza Fest in Montréal a few weekends ago but powered through like a pro. The crowd was digging them, especially three girls whose enthusiasm and dancing were great. It’s always nice to see people moving around. I am a big fan of their tune “Skinny Jeans.”

The suds, I mean studs, from Audio were up next. The band is comprised of the co-founder of Beau’s beer and two of the brewers. They are as delicious to your ears as the beer they make is to your taste buds. The band wasted no time going from song to song to song. No chatter or filler, just rock.

It was now time for one of my favourite local acts, Finderskeepers. They played a high-energy set full with all the tracks I wanted to hear, from “Public Offender” to “Pack Your Bag” to the closing with the kick ass “It Can All End Tonight.” One of the most wonderful things about Finderskeepers is they are not afraid to play an instrumental track, “Red Riding.” Also worth noting the drummer wore a head lamp during the set which I had never seen before. I must admit it was pretty dark in Club SAW, good call Jon.

Finishing the amazing first day was School Damage. They tore it up real late on a Wednesday, a school night for some at the all-ages show. They played in your face, no breaks, punk rock. A perfect closer for the first night of the five Explosion!