It was a hot, sweaty, and steamy night at House of TARG as Steamers released their new album Years on May 29.
Drummer Phil Castiglione stood alone on stage with a guitar in hand and played the hilarious “Breaking the Law,” a Robots!Everywhere!! song about stringent tobogganing by-laws. As he struck the final chords the band joined him, Phil jumped behind the drums and they broke into the title track. The power folk six-piece ensemble were on point as they played the album from start to finish. Years has a lot of the songs we have all grown to love and sing along with, such as “This is a Song,” “Stay Here to Bleed,” and “Head North.” In the middle of the album rests “Strings and Skins,” a song guitarist Garret Barr introduced as “a song about my grandfather who played music right until the day he died.” It was a powerful track which, like many of the others, translated incredibly well live.
As the room got hotter and hotter, the band finished up Years and it was time to dive into the rest of their catalogue and songs they love to play live. They went back to where they started the show and played the Robots!Everywhere!! song “All My Friends Are Here,” a song that the band has made their own. It was abundantly clear that his friends were there in great numbers as there were times you could hear them screaming the lyrics better than you could hear the band. The band capped off their set with the always fun and super interactive “Wolfpack Presley”. I mean how often are you encouraged to howl like a wolf at the top of your lungs? The crowd was having so much fun they wouldn’t let Steamers leave without one more song. So they picked up their instruments and summoned Ottawa Showbox’s own Matías Muñoz on stage to help them cover “Jasper” by Aiden Knight (video above).
Before Steamers, Bonnie Doon and Cory Levesque played great sets. Bonnie Doon were the punk band sandwhiched between two folky acts, and they did not seem phased at all. They played a bunch of songs from their 2014 self-titled debut album, including “Hot Dinosaur,” “Messy/Clean,” and the ever so popular “Pizza Shark.” They also played some really rocking unreleased tunes. One can only hope this means that a new album is on the way. I have said it before and will say it again – no one can deliver pterodactyl-like screams quite like Lesley Marshall can. That may sound off-putting, but it is quite the opposite and it adds a very cool dimension to their sound.
Kicking off the sweaty evening was folk singer and cat lover Cory Levesque. Cory plays in a few local bands (Fresh Hell, Jonathan Becker and the North Fields) so it is always a treat to see him play solo. He opened with a stripped-down version of “Broken Chords and Melodies,” a song he just recorded with a full band for a split with Jon Creeden. Showing his true stripes, Cory introduced a love song as “I wrote this song about my cat because I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time.” The song in question is “Let’s See The World” from his 2012 album Little Piece of Me. Another treat during Cory’s set was the beautiful addition of Laura Sinclair on piano for a good portion of the songs he played.