And the good times just kept on rolling. As the day that included unreal sets from New Swears, TV Freaks, The Abandos, Steve Adamyk Band, Voicemail, The Marked Men, and more left everyone at Ottawa Explosion ravaged and overcome with amazement, the night continued with OXW events all around the city… You can read about the earlier portion of day 4 here. With shows scattered around the city at places like House of Targ, Club SAW, Mugshots, and Cafe Deckuf, many of us made the decision to get the shit kicked out of us even further (in a good way) around the corner at Ritual Nightclub.
First up was Ottawa’s Boyhood, an interesting addition to the lineup but one that ended up working really well. I was unsure if Boyhood was going to capture the audience’s attention – although I knew I’d be loving their set as per usual, it wasn’t clear whether the METZ fans would dig the lo-fi and experimental dreaminess of their songs, and the laxness lead singer Caylie Runciman on stage. My fears were quelled immediately as they began. They played some songs – new and old – and seduced the anxious and excited crowd within minutes. I guess that’s one of the many appealing qualities Boyhood has – the ability to negate any line that may be drawn between genres and play music that they wrote on their own terms. Music that even gets older punks dancing, which is a feat on its own. Having listened to their new record bits n’ bobs a few times, I can say that Boyhood is an enigmatic, unyielding, and tremendously talented group that evolves with each release they put out. There was also a really neat overhead projector (grade 3 style) show during their set, which involved food dye, a few glass bowls, and water. A definite must-see band here in Ottawa for anyone who hasn’t heard or seen them yet.
One of my favourite new bands I discovered at OXW was a Toronto noise-rock band called Odonis Odonis. They’ve been together since 2010 and are signed to Canadian label Buzz Records along with HSY, Weaves, and a few other really wicked bands. They were heavy, technical, and completely unorthodox. The way they used effects to supplement their really well-written songs is captivating, and I couldn’t help but just move erratically to what I was experiencing. I won’t say too much more other than that they kind of scared me in a really weird and good way. Just watch the video for “Order in the Court.”
Last up was probably the biggest addition to the Explosion lineup this year, Toronto’s METZ. Originally from Ottawa, the band made the move to Toronto in 2009/2010 and garnered an army of supporters and took off. They have since been signed by Sub Pop Records and released a critically-acclaimed s/t record. Not bad. I saw these guys last year at Babylon, and it was one of the best shows I saw last year. I guarantee my neighbour fucking hates me for buying this vinyl and blaring it all the time, because, really – how else are you going to listen to METZ?
Their live set was the critical mass we had all been waiting for at Ottawa Explosion. It was the actual explosion part of the festival. Not that the other bands weren’t incredible and intense, but METZ is on another level. I chatted with bassist Chris Slorach before the show, and he was an incredibly nice guy… but the minute they hit the stage it was utter chaos. The moshpit was insanity, crowdsurfers were flying everywhere, and the poor security guard didn’t stand a chance. Especially when lead singer Alex Edkins yelled “If you’re going to stage dive, now is the time!” They played songs like “Wasted” and “Headache” and really got the crowd in a frenzy. Emmanuel Sayer, the organizer of OXW, even joined them on stage to cover The Damned (video below), which was really cool. Apart from set itself, a memorable point was seeing Sammy J. Scorpian of New Swears crowdsurf onto the stage and literally get dragged off to the sidestage by his collar by security, who were quickly told that he was not to be dragged any further. Of course, Sammy got right back in there and kept the party going. METZ ended with “Wet Blanket” and it was pandemonium in there.
A perfect way to end the busiest day of the festival yet. Even though we all knew we’d wake up with bruises and maybe even a few wounds, we could enjoy the rest of the festival knowing that it was worth it.