Young Empires & BANNERS @ Ritual


Photos and words by Elizabeth Durnford

When going to shows back-to-back, it is important to remember to keep yourself in check, otherwise you may end up starting the second night picking up the pieces from the night before. In my case, night two began with a meet up with an Uber driver to gather the things I had left behind in his car the previous night. Once I was in possession of all my belongings, we were able to kick things off and head down to Ritual.

I have always really enjoyed Ritual as a venue, the multi-level set-up makes it easy to catch the show from anywhere and you don’t feel pressured to be elbows on the stage, though who are we kidding? That’s exactly where I ended up.

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BANNERS at Ritual Nightclub (Photo by Elizabeth Durnford/Ottawa Showbox)

BANNERS kicked it off. Over from the UK, Mike Nelson (formerly known under the moniker RAINES) brought his familiar sound to the Ottawa crowd on this leg of the tour. I wouldn’t have called myself an avid listener of these groups, but as BANNERS worked through their set it became apparent to me that I knew the majority of their music, and actually could sing along to ones like Shine a Light.

After the set, there was a brief turn before Young Empires where we happened upon BANNERS in the basement. He took the time to pause for fans and of course photo-ops, having a laugh on how I took a photo of a friend with a phone, while carrying a full sized camera. It was nice to see him taking the time to stop and talk while performing in a smaller venue, while opportunities may not come around as often when performing at larger festivals in the coming months.

We headed back upstairs just in time for Young Empires. A group out of Toronto, they are becoming very well known on the world stage. They combine electronics with an element of rock creating what has been described as “a fine tapestry of future disco.” This distinct sound paired with the lights and energy on stage made for a very visually appealing set that was very difficult to take quality pictures, as lights went from non-existent to brighter than the sun.

Though this leg of the tour is done, never fear, there’s still chance to catch both of these bands within the next few month. Young Empires is set to play the Dragon Boat Festival here in Ottawa in July, and you can catch BANNERS at Montreal’s Osheaga Festival!

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Young Empires at Ritual Nightclub (Photo by Elizabeth Durnford/Ottawa Showbox)