Monday, February 28, 2005


Here's another quicky post, this one of King Khan and BBQ from their outstanding show at Babylon two weeks back. There are a few other pictures of that show on the Birdman Sound website; this one was a refugee from another roll.

All pumped up

Just heard The Double Pumpers are doing a show at Zaphod's March 4 - this Friday. The opening band is named From Rags to Bitches - I fear this is a reference to snide style tart Mr. Blackwell.
Anyway, let us commemorate this otherwise happy event with a picture of guitarist Dave Martendale at Bluesfest 2004.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Let there be light

When I think of cruddy photo shoots at Barrymore's (a thought much on my mind, after last Saturday), I think of Paul Kelly. Yes, Australia's answer to Bruce Springsteen. When he came through town with Joel Kroeker on (goes to closet, yanks out tour T-shirt) March 10, 2004, everything was going nicely, until my flash started acting up. So here we have one of my first natural light photos, a luminescent Mr. Kelly with guitarist Dan Luscombe and Bill McDonald on bass.

I had to buy a new flash ($170!). Also, I hear Kelly's releasing a DVD featuring shows from the Ways and Means tour (nothing from Ottawa, mind you). Out on March 15 on True North. Might be worth picking up.

Star time

Wooden Stars were heavyweights in Ottawa's indie rock scene, and a collaboration with Julie Doiron of Eric's Trip brought them wider acclaim, if not exactly fame. (Incidentally, Rick White of Elevator, whom I posted about earlier was also a member.)
Mike Feurerstack, the Wooden Stars' prime mover, transferred his attentions to Snailhouse, another musical project of his, then moved to Montreal, so there wasn't much Star activity on Ottawa's music scene until Feb. 19, when they put on a show with The Hi Lo Trons. The Trons, as is their nature, all wore black band T-shirts, while the Stars came all in white.

First, a few Hi Lo Trons pictures ... "the band that sings together ... can't think of a word that rhyme for 'sings'" - it's post-modern ironic free verse.

And now the Wooden Stars. I heard Feurerstack joke at a Snailhouse show that his new album was going to be named "'Slippery When Wet' ... after my forehead" at a show once. What a funny guy.

And here's sparkly clean Julien Bellard (on guitar) and bassist Josh Latour. Extra points to Julien for springing for white shoes as well.

Lastly we have Andy McCormack on drums.

The Wooden Stars aren't really my bag, but they definitely wowed the audience. I might have enjoyed it more if the show hadn't started, and gone on, so late.
They're obviously very serious about this reunion, as they're playing with Stars, The Organ, and Montag April 18 at Barrymore's. Feurerstack's other band, Snailhouse, are playing at Mavericks March 11 with The Sea Snakes and The Soiree, if you can't bear to wait so long for more forehead jokes.

Sweethearts of the Rodeo

Just got back from the Rock'n'Roll Rodeo hosted by Slo' Tom at Barrymore's. Scorching sets by South of 78 and Greenfield Main and a heavy, hardy finish by the Fiftymen. Each set was preceded by a musical intermission with Slo' Tom (a.k.a. Tom Stewart of Furnaceface) singing a few songs in tribute to rusted out cars, love gone bad, and Joyceville Penitentiary.
But I'm getting ahead of myself - when I came in, South of 78 had begun their set. I snapped a few pictures, then went to check my camera speed and realized I'd mucked up a good quarter of the roll. Oops.

There were a few salvageable pictures of Bryan Curry and Johnny Nash.
This one of Bryan isn't sfumato because of any flash bouncing - they have a smoke machine at Barrymore's and were giving it a workout.

The red lights were in full effect too.

It was a hot set - "Hotter than ever before," as Jon Bartlett said. J.J. Hardill of The Fiftymen called South of 78 his top band to watch; no argument here. Then Slo' Tom came up for the first intermission, leading to the one decent picture from the three rolls of film I shot that night.

Rey Sabatin assisted on mandolin, and Scott Terry from South of 78 added some banjo.
Here's Slo' Tom, Rey and Scott ...

Slo' Tom sang "Great Small Game Rifles," a song he wrote for Greenfield Main's debut album, and the band marched on stage to join in, then segue into the rest of their set, giving me yet another opportunity to foul up my pictures. On this night I innovated by winding my film backward, leading to odd striations on almost every picture in the roll. Sigh.

Here's John F. Higney Jr., the excellent guitarist (six-string and pedal steel) for both the Main and London's Two Minute Miracles. He also teaches music at Songbird Music (but not, unfortunately, at any time I could make it to a lesson).

Speaking of Jon, here he is with drummer John Lomow.

Rolf Klausener rounds out the Greenfield team.

Then Slo' Tom stepped in for another intermission, which included a duet with Casey Comeau, adequately captured in this slightly wrinkled photo.

Then Barrymore's stagemaster turned the lights up from "bake" to "grill" for The Fiftymen's set, causing a whole new set of problems picture wise, and lending a somewhat Mephistophelean air to several pictures, such as this one of guitarist Todd Gibbon ("Take one of him, he has good facial expressions!" one woman in the audience told me. Okay then, say no more!) and violinist and banjoist Keith Snyder.

Speaking of unsolicited photographic advice, another woman in the audience told me I should try to take a group picture ... trust me, on a stage as large as Barrymore's that only works with The Silverhearts from Peterborough, because there's 12 of them.

Ahem. Back to the Fiftymen; here's guitarist Mark Michaud and bassist Michael Houston Hanlan - who is also sound man at Zaphod's, producer of The Double Pumpers "II" and bassist for Jim Bryson's backup group The Occasionals.

On vocals, here's J.J. Hardill, singing with the flat baritone of a highway patrolman who just came by to tell you your immediate family was squashed between two 18-wheelers on Highway 7. Taking the station wagon back from a church picnic, they was. He's the kind of singer who makes anyone else singing the songs sound wrong, even though he doesn't have anything like a golden throat himself.

With that I leave you with the fond wish that the undeveloped Fiftymen pictures on the roll in my camera turn out nicer.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Skip work

The Demon Claws are a garage rock band from Montreal with a new CD out (on the mighty Dead CanaryRecords label). Their drummer, Skip Jensen, has a few singles out of his solo act, Skip Jensen and His Shakin' Feet. He also plays guitar with the Scat Rag Boosters. He's a busy guy.

And here are some pictures of the Claws ... singer and guitarist Lester Del Rey was in the Cut Offs. Red tights, blue body paint and bare feet? Why not.

In rapid succession, guitarist Pat Meteor (there should be French accents on each "e" - alas, we lack the technology) and bassist Ysael Pepin (who takes both an umlaut on the "a" and an accent on the second "e" - you trying to make my life difficult, man?).

And here they are en masse - that's Irene's Pub soundman and booker Bruce with his back to the camera.

This lot were actually opening for The Leg Hounds, who all have the same tailor, as you can see from this special twofer.

Secrets of Seduction

The Weapons of Mass Seduction - more crunch-boom-howl garage rock from the depths of Ottawa. Singer and guitarist Mark ... er, I mean Jake Heartbreak, also plays bass in Four 'N' Giv'r, drummer Russell Baumshell is in The Expatriates and The Duke must have a hobby.

These pictures were taken at Irene's Pub; same show as the Good2Go pictures from February 20, way down near the bottom ...


I've mentioned the upcoming Acorn show a few times, but never got around to posting a picture of the main nut, Rolf Klausener. Here he is playing bass with The Recoilers at their Barrymore's CD release party. He also plays bass in Greenfield Main and has done a bunch of other stuff. (Where did I put that Hoffenheimer CD ...?)

Friday, February 25, 2005

Sick, sick, sick

The Sick Fits are another group that has grabbed attention outside Ottawa with their noisy punk racket. They have releases on the Pelado and Big Neck labels. They're also sharp dressers. Sort of.
Lots of action at their shows, with at least one band member falling over. "That was a disgrace" said one person - okay, their bassist - after a particularly self-destructive show at the late Bumper's.
They call themselves "Canada's First and Only Rock'n'Roll Band" - dude, what about Tom Cochrane and Red Rider? Or The Wackers? Well, it proves they've also heard of Crime. What swell kids.

The whole crew: Kenny James! X-Ray X! Michael A. Hurts! Chase Manhattan! Rocky Nagashocky! At The Million Dollar Marxists CD release show.

It was X-Ray X's turn to fall over. As usual.

The band offers the following news for 2005: "????????????" And yes, that's an exact quote.

With a band this stylish, you just know you want an individual look-see ... so from the top, it's ...

Kenny James ... looks a bit like Keef done, 30 years ago! Wait. Make that 40 years ago.

Michael A. Hurts ... he's very tall and skinny.

Chase Manhattan ... named after a bank. That's very punk rock. Looking very natty in his J
ohnny Thunders-style bandanna, too.

X-Ray X. A bit tipsy. Known to molest disco balls. Likes an inappropriately zippered shirt.

Rocky Nagashocky. Drummer. Sits at the back. Thus the inferior photo. Sorry Rocky. Choice quote: "We don't know what we're doing." No worries, it was only temporary.

The Short Bus

Detroit's The High Strung rolled through town a while back, for a gig with The Department of Foreign Affairs and The Setbacks (July 24, 2004 at Barrymore's ... this was a show I reviewed for Pennyblack Music). Some fooling around with the shutter speed resulted in a couple of nice pictures, such as this one of The High Strung's rhythm section.

And here is The High Strung tour bus. I believe they are not the first owner.

Kelp Records

Like Music for Cats, Kelp Records is another excellent local record label, run by Jon Bartlett. It recently celebrated (well, late last year) its 10th anniversary with a show by Chris Page, Detective Kalita, The Recoilers and Rhume (one of Bartlett's bands). Jon obviously loves music, and puts on a great show as Rhume's frontman, decked out in white and blue one-piece with the fleur-de-lys on the back; Freudians are advised to turn away now.

The following picture of The Recoilers' Jake Bryce is one of my favourites.

And here's one half of Detective Kalita, the live edition.

Also at this gig: Andrew Vincent and The Pirates. Kelp's 10th anniversary fell during the last federal election campaign: Note the Ed Broadbent button on Vincent's lapel.

It's a sign of Andrew's power and influence in local politics that Ed did indeed win. Or not.
Chris Page was also on the bill; you can see his picture from another gig earlier in the week.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Glads all over

The final Outlaw Astronomer (unless there was someone else at Club SAW hiding away in a corner) is Nate Hurlow; Nate also plays bass in The Glads and guitar with The Fortunate Sons. Here he is playing guitar with The Glads at the same show as the much-earlier Midways picture.

Originally I was going to use a photo of him playing with The Desecrators at that group's reunion show but you can see it, and other Desecrators pictures from that gig, at The Birdman Sound website. One Desecrators photo you won't see there is this one of Tim Matthews - a rare, "no red eye" picture of the Halfmilers, Mono Hum and Glads drummer.

Might as well throw you a picture of the other two members of The Glads: At left, Jim Sproull, and on the right, Patrick Shanks.

Jim also plays in Run Stop Restore with his identical twin brother John. They're playing at a benfit for the Ottawa Peace and Environment Resource Centre, along with Andrew Vincent and the Pirates, The Hi Lo Trons and The Bazaar, of whom I know naught. That's March 5 at Irene's - the same day The Sadies are in town, unfortunately.

The Brood

Elliott Brood are playing with The Acorn at Irene's April 6. I caught their show at Zaphod's, and it was a double whammy. First, the opening act was The John Henrys, who were unknown to me and great. Then Elliott Brood repeated the feat. Amazing bill. Extra points for nifty CD packaging and using a suitcase as a kick drum. Just pop your microphone inside and away you go. He got a nice, meaty thump out of it, too.


More Bluesfest 2004 shots; these guys did two sets. A kick-ass electric blues show at The Birdman Sound Stage and an "acoustic" set at the Americana stage the next day. Reuben Glaser on guitar, Jesse Ebaugh on bass and Andy Jody on drums. Jody stopped in the midst of "Cherry Red" to retreat to the corner, puke, and then jump back on the traps.

The Dangers of Marxism

Two bands have held my photographic skills in sufficient esteem to ask me around especially to snap a few pictures: The Million Dollar Marxists and Harshey. Boy, was that a mistake.
In Harshey's case I went to their practice space and snapped few pictures while they lounged on the couch and practiced. I may post them some time, but only after I've had a few stiff drinks.
As for the pictures of the Marxists, taken at the release party for their CD on Gearhead Records at Babylon, Sept. 18, 2004: They rocked out as they always do, but someone spilled their beer on my camera just before their headlining stint; someone rearranged Babylon's lighting and molested the disco ball; the audience was rambunctious, thus:
  • 79% of the pictures were out of focus;
  • 13% of the pictures featured bassist Johnny Genome drinking, bleeding, or both;
  • 64% of the pictures featured singer Luke on top of sound equipment/gear/another band member;
  • 23% of the pictures featured drummer Tommy attempting to play while Luke was standing on him;
  • 2% of the pictures featured guitarist Steve. I would have taken more, but there was a big scary audience between me and him.
Anyway, here are the pictures:

The Marxists are playing with The Turbo ACs ("and more," says at Babylon April 10.