Northcote kills Ottawa’s mid-week blues at TARG


All photos by Elizabeth Durnford/Ottawa Showbox

Ah Ottawa, it’s nice to see you once again. Happy to be back in a town where there’s always something happening, as long as you know where to look. Nothing says being back in town like a stacked line-up at House of TARG on aTuesday night.

I showed up just after Josiah started his set. This Tennessee folk musician brought a sound that was shockingly similar to Kristen Matsson of The Tallest Man on Earth. His music was characterized by powerful guitar, paired with raspy poetic vocals. Josiah was doing a solo set, away from the full band of Josiah and The Bonnevilles, which highlighted his attention to detail. This combination of sound and care shone through in the response from the audience. Fans making use of the intimate space, calling out their song requests, which Josiah happily obliged.

My first taste of Jordan Klassen came through a recommendation from a friend, who was so taken aback the first time she saw him that she drove from Halifax to Montreal (which is about 12 hours, one way) to see him again. Shortly after, he happened to be playing a show at Raw Sugar, to which she insisted I attend. So there I was, spending Thanksgiving eating pumpkin pie, and mesmerized by his beautiful harmonies. I’ve been a fan ever since. (This was also the night that the visual of the ukulele was essentially ruined for me, as Jordan commented on the fact that he looked like a T-Rex playing it. I now picture dinosaurs each time I see one played.) Tuesday, Jordan played along side Todd, who supported the set on piano and guitar. His ability to tour solo, in small duos, or with a full band makes his shows unique each time. Within the intimate space of TARG, Jordan also took requests from the audience, playing songs off his new album Javelin, as well as some old favourites like Horses are Stuck.

Seeing Jordan play in Ottawa again was a nice full-circle moment for me. I was new to the city the first time I saw him, and we were both wide eyed and baby-faced. So seeing him again years later, put into perspective how much has changed, including his new album, a man bun, and I now know my way around the city.

After a quick turn around, the highly anticipated Northcote set was good to go. This was not the first time I had seen Northcote play in Ottawa. A few months ago they supported Frank Turner and the Sleep Soul’s tour when they played the Bronson Centre. I was happy to hear that I would get to see them again, and I was even happier when I found out they were playing a smaller more intimate venue like TARG. The intimate set let them engage the crowd and move around the space. The crowd was engaged and loving the energy of the set. Happy to have them playing in Ottawa again, they ended the set by dropping the news of this being their last show date on their current album, unless of someone calls their cell phone and invites them play a pool party. Needless to say, the great search for that phone number began, but until it is located, Ottawa will eagerly await their return.

As for me, I return to Halifax in the coming week, just in time for their East Coast dates. #roundtwo

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