Saturday night was another home run at House of Targ, the new music venue/arcade/pierogi house that seems to know how to make their patrons happy. The occasion was another album release by another kickass local group, the Steve Adamyk Band. Having just finished recording the new album in February 2014 and coming off a Japanese tour a few months back, SAB have been busy surrounding the release of Dial Tone – their fourth full-length album in five years. With Ian Manhire (White Wires/Voicemail/ex-Sedatives) spinning vinyl before, between, and after the bands, the tone of the night was set.
The night kicked off with Blue Angel, a local mash-up of members from some pretty rad bands in town. Lidija Rozitis (Roberta Bondar), Sam Pippa (Organ Eyes), and Caylie Runciman (Boyhood) combined their powers to give all of us at Targ a hell of a show. They were an unexpected addition to the lineup, only because their style is pretty far off from both Tropical Dripps and SAB. There are a lot of other bands in town that could have easily been put on this bill by virtue of their genre or similarities in sound. But who gives a shit about genres? Blue Angel weirded up the place with their shiny masks and brooding stage presence, and quickly enchanted us all.
Starting their set with their most intense and visceral song “YOU ME”, Blue Angel charged their way through a brief but powerful set. A few new songs were played too, such as “Rat Tail,” which sounded great and also happens to be about rat tails (posterior rodent appendage/a very popular hair style in the early 1990s). This was the best set I have seen from Blue Angel so far, and the sound was right on. Lidija’s haunting and droney guitar, Sam’s fuzzy and groove-laden bass lines, and Caylie’s thunderous drums were all aspects of the performance that will garner them a lot more fans in the future. Don’t miss this band when they play Targ again with OUGHT, Fresh Snow, and Freelove Fenner during Arboretum Music Festival on August 21.
Tropical Dripps (Bruised Tongue) were up next, and these boys delivered us all a dose of their animalistic tendencies. Dripps have a distinctive surf/garage punk sound that is the kind of thing Ottawa is becoming more and more known for. More than anything, their primary objective seems to be having the most fun possible. I’ve seen them a few times at basement shows and Ottawa Explosion, but being right up close to them at Targ definitely made me appreciate how good this band really is. Lead singer and guitarist Mikey took advantage of his time on stage to show off his skills, guiding us through the set riff after scuzzy riff. With Dripps, metronomic accuracy is not a concern, nor should it be. They fuck up on stage from time to time – it’s endearing to see a band get so into their music that they get ahead of themselves and then have to bring themselves back down to earth. Kieran’s usual hawaiian shirt/sunglasses combo never gets old, and his drumming is relentless. Bassist Kurt Rafuse, who is also in another Bruised Tongue band, The Yips, was a maniac on stage – long hair flying everywhere, body lying on the ground, screaming his lungs out, all while playing his bass like it’s part of his body. Good music doesn’t have to be technically perfect. It has to evoke emotion from those who listen, and judging by the behaviour of people in the mosh pit during Dripps’s set, I’d say the jury is out: they are pretty damn good. Don’t miss Tropical Dripps when they play Mavericks with Frog Eyes and P.S. I Love You at Arboretum Music Festival on August 20.
Steve Adamyk Band (Dirtnap Recs) finished off the night with a flurry of quick but robust punk rock tunes. The great thing about having relatively short songs is that SAB was able to reach into their repertoire and play a few great songs from past records, many of which were off Third such as “Nightmare” and “Katacombs,” as well as several classics off their 2010 s/t release such as “Better Off,” “Not For Long,” and “I Fought for the U.S.A.” Each song from the past had us singing along because they are all really frigging good, that’s why we all fell in love with this band in the first place.
I was lucky enough to pre-order SAB’s gold vinyl of Dial Tone, their new record released in July. Not knowing what to expect, I carefully placed the needle on the wax and let it all sink in. For all of those who haven’t heard Dial Tone yet, don’t expect to hear the catchy hooks off Third re-hashed all over again. For how good Third is (and I REALLY love Third), SAB has delivered a fuller, more complete album with the same grit as the others. The verses are more defined, the songs are thematically varied, as if the band has taken a small step outside the box to create something totally new. Dial Tone is straight up garage rock, with a noticeable easing up on the drums from Dave Forcier and the guitar from Steve and Davey less overdriven. The guitar tones on the album are noticeably more clear, although Adamyk kept the crunchy sound that we all know and love. They played some of the best songs on the album such as “Force Fed,” “Careless,” “Suicide,” and “Empty Cause.” We got to hear some new and old, and all of it together made the set one to remember. Beer and spit were being sprayed everywhere while they was playing, and a few of Adamyk’s buddies were up front helping to sing each word into the mic. I love this band because their music always speaks for itself – no matter where you see them play or what SAB record you put on, you’ll always listen and never be disappointed. Catch SA B before Constantines and Chad VanGaalen on the main state at Arboretum Music Festival on August 23rd.