Frustrations, ROBOTS!EVERYWHERE!! and Nightshades capped off another great you of Finish What You Started Fest Sunday night at Gabba Hey!
Kicking off the night was Ottawa three-piece garage rockers Nightshades. The band formed this year and has a very familiar face on bass, Sarah Grant of RawRawRiot who I have seen several times. Their set was fun and up-tempo featuring great originals such as “Beauty of Dreaming” and “Middle of the Night.” Anyone who reads Showbox knows I am such a sucker for female vocals in garage rock and punk rock, and well Nightshades has two female vocalists who really complement each other. Their tracks were great but it’s almost impossible to cover Minor Threat in your set and not have that become the highlight. The irony of the matter was they chose to cover the preachy straight-edge anthem “In My Eyes” while drinking Old Milwaukee. Look forward to seeing them again as they have me intrigued.
Up next was the one man punk rock party Phil, aka ROBOTS!EVERYWHERE!! His set started with people giving him space at the front, but that did not last long. The very nature of ROBOTS!EVERYWHERE!! shows is the crowd participation and the funny stories/explanations before every song. He played many of the favourites such as “Best Friends,” “I Miss The Old You!! (a.k.a. We’re Going to Mexico (a.k.a. 400 bucks!)),” “Red Hair, Blonde Hair” and “Ottawa Explosion.” In a twist, Phil reached back to last year when he wrote little songs about bands and people involved with Finish What You Started Fest. On this night, he played the one he wrote about organizer Ska Jeff, watch video from last year here. Phil also played a new tune, a hardcore song about helping “a big metal head with long hair find his hair elastic in a mosh pit in Quebec,” called “I Lost Something in the Pit.” This is by far the heaviest song Phil has ever written, and possibly a new direction…? During the last song of the set “Zombies” a cake was presented to Franky (Ottawa Pop Punk) and he got to blow out the candles for his birthday.
Closing out the night and the festival was Frustrations from Detroit, Michigan. This was the first time I ever watched punk rock while eating cake and may I say it was quite delightful. These guys were a high energy noisy-punk band who must commend as they did not appeared phased by the fact many people had left. They sounded really tight and really loud. Their drummer took over lead vocals for a track which is always pretty cool to watch. The song that really stuck with me from their performance was “Surgeon” off of their latest album Negative Reflections.
This was another great year for the DIY festival put on by Finish What You Started and an excellent way to celebrate five years. Congratulations Jeff and thanks for all you do for Ottawa.