After a successful first weekend of the Rideau Canal skateway, many in Ottawa are gearing themselves for this year’s Winterlude. Organizers are attempting to build a bit of heat for this year’s festival with their Sub-Zero concert series, taking place over three weekends at Confederation Park. Beginning on Jan 30th there will be live music on Fridays and Saturdays with a variety of Canadian artists. In typical government fashion, several bases of diversity are represented – you’ve got your strong female singers with Terra Lightfoot and Whitehorse; racial diversity with A Tribe Called Red; and linguistic duality through Misteur Valaire.

DATE

ARTIST

Saturday, Jan 30 A Tribe Called Red
Friday, Feb 5 Terra Lightfoot
Saturday, Feb 6 Misteur Valaire
Friday, Feb 12 Hilotrons
Saturday, Feb 13 Whitehorse

*All shows begin around 7:30 PM at Confederation Park

The thing about outdoor winter concerts is that dancing is pretty key to avoid frostbite. So rather than a chronological preview, each musical act will instead be ranked through their anticipated warmth factor using the spicy Scoville Scale.


 

1. SCOTCH BONNET PEPPER: A TRIBE CALLED RED

Ottawa success-story A Tribe Called Red are a sure bet to keep the dance-floor moving, with infectious beats and a dedicated local following. In lieu of their usual month Electric Pow Wow, they’ve kept busy in recent months with a spotlight at the NAC’s #FOMO 5th Anniversary Party and other high-profile shows. While they haven’t had a studio album in a few years, they’ve released a few tracks and an EP in 2015, keeping their material fresh.

Scoville Scale heat ranking: 100,000–350,000 SHU

2. HABANERO CHILI: MISTEUR VALAIRE

The only band in this line-up that isn’t from Ontario is Montreal’s Misteur Valaire. Making waves on Quebec’s music scene, the band are instantly catchy and are sure to put on a great show. Boasting a repertoire of modern danceable beats held together by a little synth, they have several members who play instruments and will find a range of musical fans. Their songs vary from EDM inspired funk to rock-rap. Also, their mix of French and English lyrics will captivate audiences speaking both languages.

Scoville Scale heat ranking: 100,000–350,000 SHU

3. CAYANNE PEPPER: WHITEHORSE

The melodic folk-rock of Whitehorse might not inspire a dedicated dance-floor, but the well-composed tunes will certainly encourage the audience to bob their heads along.The moody folk-rock mixed with an occasional upbeat piece will reverberate beautifully onto the McKenzie King bridge and the Rideau Canal, providing a fitting end to the concert series.

Scoville Scale heat ranking: 30,000–50,000 SHU

4. SERRANO PEPPER: TERRA LIGHTFOOT

Terra Lightfoot and her band have a few different styles – they vary between catchy guitars riffs where I want to sing along, to slow melodic songs with poetic lyrics that pack an emotional punch but might have the audience dissipating on a cold night. That being said, the indie-rock-blues front woman is all sorts of badass and she sure can carry a tune.

Scoville Scale heat ranking: 10,000–25,000 SHU

5. JALAPEÑO PEPPER: HILOTRONS

Local veterans the Hilotrons will be rocking on the upbeat with heavy bass and solid instrumental synergy. They’re funky and will get some people moving, but their slightly off-center music would probably fare better in a dark concert hall than a cold outdoor venue.

Scoville Scale heat ranking: 1,000-20,000 SHU

Featured image: C. Robinson