OXW 2018: Day 1 with FOAM, Expanda Fuzz and the Heavy Medicine Band at the 27 Club


Ev has synesthesia, and they incorporate their sensory experiences into music reviews. Synesthesia is a condition in which the brain links a person’s senses together in a rare manner, prompting unusual sensory responses to stimuli. People with synesthesia, for example, might see a certain color in response to a certain letter of the alphabet. Those who experience synesthesia “hear colors, feel sounds, and taste shapes” in a remarkably consistent fashion.

Ottawa Explosion Weekend kicked off at the 27 Club on the 13th of June with an inviting lineup. Featured artists were the Heavy Medicine Band, Expanda Fuzz, and the very notable FOAM. Unfortunately, having gotten stuck at the border, Fruit x Flowers was unable to make it.

Heavy Medecine Band shredding at The 27 Club in Ottawa, ON.

The Heavy Medicine Band opened with an ethereal and haunting presence. The sound reverberated and echoed like a ghost of the past. They managed to capture the unwavering attention of the crowd as their songs created a slow dance between various shades of vice like blues and lustrous lilacs. Prominent and poignant yellows took hold and found themselves entangled with the rest of the colours. Keturah’s evocative voice cast a spell over the onlookers while the guitar seemed to wail with notes of despair.  The bass rumbled and rattled, stifled and controlled, gain turned up. There was no doubt that the music had its own soul.

Wrapped into the entrancing vocals and the mesmerizing soundscape. The band is the perfect listen for rainy days, full or new moons, your witch – or warlock – needs to be met.

Expanda Fuzz getting fuzzy at The 27 Club in Ottawa, ON.

Next up was Expanda Fuzz, who really expanded the fuzz on the guitar and bass to new measures while simultaneously creating an intense sound. Sound machines emanated specific beats while the guitars were overdriven. The instruments droned and created their own loops of chaotic feedback while the overlaid vocals came out clear. The duo smeared Gumby green and a gentle yellow-green through the atmosphere.  The occasional pop of baby blue burst through while some vocal accentuation added peachy pink streaks.

Expanda Fuzz is the band you listen to late at night while laying on the floor staring at your ceiling. Letting the noise carry you off into another world and allowing it to transport you to places you couldn’t possibly imagine were real. They are not from this world.

FOAM getting loud at The 27 Club in Ottawa, ON.

The last band to play were London, Ontario’s FOAM. Sludge punk with a severe grit and infuriation, they tainted the room red. Picture the scene in the Shining where blood pours into the room – that’s what they sounded like. Vastly messy with the gain turned up not to an 11, no – to 12 at least, the notes smashed into each other. The drumming fell rapidly and the snare was acute. This added ice cold blues to the mix, which at times, became so blinding that it blew out all colours.

Anger emanated from the roaring guitar and got people headbanging. FOAM was high energy, much fun, and intense to listen to. Have some aggression to release? What a better way to do it than with their tunes.

Come on down to Ottawa Explosion and enjoy some live shows from amazing bands. The festival isn’t only for punks or rockers, there’s something for everyone. Find what tickles your fancy and take that long awaited break from work – you know you deserve it.