Thursday, March 31, 2005

Got a line on you

Another bunch of Saturday Looks Good To Me openers, the New Autumn Line. As I arrived at the show they were just going into a walkie-talkie solo. Part way through their show they announced the band's drummer had died a little while back. The audience was hoping for some tale of This is Spinal Tap-ish autodestruction, but that was just their way of announcing they had bought a new drum machine after the last one expired (well, maybe some one threw up on it ...). Andy announced the band would be playing half songs they knew, and half songs they didn't.

I really hope this tune is called Communication Breakdown.

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Jeremy Latta steps on it.

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Brian Martin and Andy Cant.

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The pictures from this show once again serve to remind me not to shoot from an upward angle, since Irene's has a very, very low ceiling ...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Lovely Animal

Saint Bernard of Love is Michael D. Wieland. He was one of the two acts who opened for Saturday Looks Good To Me when they were last in town. So here he is with a couple of part-time lovers (Ryan Hough of Golden Famile and Jose).

Before you ask: No, I don't know why this picture of Wieland is in black and white ... I pushed a button somewhere, I guess ...

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Ryan Hough momentarily ditches the violin for some percussive duties.

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Jose multitasks on keys and guitar.

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There was a Velvet Underground feel to the music (Wieland's vocal delivery encourages the comparison). Haven't heard much from them lately, but you can check his website for sound clips.
  • Show reminder: Castor play a rare gig at the Aloha Room tonight.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Ready, set, March!

We're Marching On opened for Weapons of Mass Seduction and SS Cardiacs this Saturday. They didn't play long (20 minutes, tops) but were quite energetic, with slap dances (I still don't know what those are), tambourine throwing, shouting, some horsing around and also some music of the post rock variety (occasionally a capella). I don't know any names, but who needs 'em, you'll get the drift from the pictures.

Leon Taheny of SS Cardiacs can be seen assisting WMO's guitarist and singer (and occasional bassist) play guitar, return to the stage and keep time.

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The drummer puckers up in the red zone.

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Hot keyboard action.

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A group picture (sorry, was that bit obvious?).

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A fun act - and let me reiterate again my undying admiration for Mavericks' stage drapery.

Monday, March 28, 2005

A career in government

Department of Foreign Affairs: That's an Ottawa band name if ever there was one. Their CD release party included The High Strung - the band I really went to see on that night - and Andrew Vincent and The Pirates, so they were a bit outgunned by the raw rock crunch of the opening acts. DOFA can get pretty crunchy themselves, but they have plenty of melody and slower bits as well, and a generally smart approach to their music. They've pumped out a pair of albums in a fairly short space of time, and are planning a third as soon as finances and a rapidly self-destructing van allow.

Here's a cunningly devised montage of the Department. Clockwise from top left we have guitarist Rob Skitmore, singer-guitarist Brennan Pilkington (or is that the other way around?), drummer Kosta McKay and bassist Chris Teasdale.

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And some extra rock action for the kids.

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As noted earlier, they'll be playing April 2 at Irene's with The Diableros, who have some interesting sounds on their website, and Caution Press.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Lovers' Lane

Magneta Lane played Zaphod's on March 24 and were just as good as the hipster grapevine said they were. The Mark Inside were supposed to open but were snagged by Velvet Revolver for three dates on their tour and consequently were at the Corel Centre the night before.

Lexi Valentine on guitar and sultry vocals, a bit like Debby Harry.

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Nadia on kick-pedal demolishing drums; fortunately an audience member fixed it so the show could continue.

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French on bass. She had a strong downpicking style which really complemented Nadia's drumming.

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More Lexi and French.

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French and Nadia do make an awesome rhythm section.

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Kinks and Velvet Underground simplicity with some girl pop touches (of the These Boots Are Made For Walking variety - no whining from this trio) make an excellent combination. Their six-song EP Constant Lover is also all killer and no filler.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Ukrainia! Mania

Composed of the entirety of The Double Pumpers plus Tom Werbowetski on drums, Ukrainia! reinterprets the songs of Damien and Paul's ancestral homeland as if Sabbath were playing in 2/4 time, plus the usual wacko banter from Tom. The last of these pictures, along with others from the show, can also be seen at the Birdman Sound website.

Three-quarters of the band rock out, with a light show so powerful you can actually see it cutting through the flash.

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Paul, stuck over on the left.

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Dave and Tom, not necessarily in that order.

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This picture of audience members waltzing to hard rock is a favourite of mine.

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Ukrainia will be playing at the Black Sheep in April 1 with The Empiricals.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Everything is long

The Long Timers are veterans local rockers with many hours logged in such units as The Dead City Rebels, Phantom Shifters, Fortunate Sons, Four Frames et al. I first saw them at Zaphod's. I can't remember who else was on the bill ... The Banditas, possibly? I arrived late and missed them, so it matters not.

Greg Kerr on the Les Paul.

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Justin Gobeil on guitar and singing ... this picture's going to count for J.P. Sadek as well, since I already posted my one good picture of him elsewhere when he played on the same riser with The Fortunate Sons. You can sort of see him there at the back, can't you?

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Rene, of Dead City Rebels and Four Frames fame.

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Rock action!

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Group rock action!

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Just as I was scribbling something about being unable to find any news about the group's current whereabouts comes word of not one, but two, shows.
The first is at the Million Dollar Marxists and Turbo ACs show at Babylon, April 10.
The second is with up-and-coming singer-songwriter Steven Dall at Barrymore's April 22 ... headlining will be the sticky-fingered octopus of southern rock, White Cowbell Oklahoma.
Greg also tells me they've recruited Johhny Nash of South of 78 (and before that the Bitchin' Camaros and Triphammer) to play guitar and sing. I can almost hear someone shouting "Free Bird!" already ...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Free Stuff!

There are a couple of free shows for cheapskate music afficianados to note:
It all means more money for beer (or if you're me, soda and merch).

Wilco

Alternative country titans Wilco have had a well-documented run lately. They played Aug. 4, 2004, at the Capital Music Hall, when the chatter around A Ghost Is Born and I Am Still Trying To Break Your Heart was all the indie news.

Upbeat but a wee bit grainy (I was far away), Jeff Tweedy.

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Nels Cline at left; keyboardist and laptop operator Mikael Jorgensen at right. Somewhere an alt-country fan's head just exploded.

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Bassist John Stirrat jumps for joy, or just for the heck of it. He was the bounciest guy on stage.

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The luminescent altogether, including glowing yellow blob/drummer Glen Kotche ...

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... except for keyboardist-guitarist Pat Sansone. So here he is.

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And again, backup singing with Stirrat.

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Definitely one of the best live shows I saw last year.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Now with 100% more robots

Toronto seems to be throwing out a fair number of weirdo folk combos: Apart from Elliott Brood, Royal City, The Singing Saw Shadow Show, and who knows else, The Fembots have emerged to tantalize the world with a sound made by two non-mechanical guys. So much for truth in advertising. Anyway, they have two fine records out on the Paper Bag label, and have visited Ottawa a few times - I hope to seem them again soon. This show was at Zaphod's with the Two-Minute Miracles.

How it all began: Dave MacKinnon on keyboard, Brian Poirier on guitar.

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Brian handles the low end ...

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... while Dave fluoresces strangely.

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The expansion team: Julie Penner on violin, Jason Tait on the traps.

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Dave guitars, Julie violins, I point out the obvious.

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Big melodica solo finish!

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Their Zaphod's show didn't draw a huge crowd (I say that way too much for my liking) but they made at least a few new fans.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Kicking and punching

Les Pugilists are another one of those hot rock combos Quebec seems to be exporting a ton of lately: Le Nombre, Les Tabernacles, Les Vipers. All good, and far too infrequent visitors to Ottawa. I've seen Les Pugs blow the roof off the Dominion twice, with crowds far smaller than they deserve both times. Nonetheless, they gave it their all as photos at Birdman sound and here play inappropriately silent tribute to.

First, Greg Kitzler - "The Entertainer" and guitarist Lucas Rupnik step out to meet the crowd at a gig with The Setbacks and The Heelwalkers Oct. 9, 2004, in a montage-arama not nearly as fabulous as Kitzler's shirt.

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None of these guys need an excuse to show off their moves. They're up, they're down, they're all over ....

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Mikael Semegen played drums on their album "Gimme Some Kicks". Going by the pictures on their disc, this ain't him. But that is Simon Lessard on bass.

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More Lessard, without the snazzy white jeans he was sporting at their show opening for the Million Dollar Marxists at the Dominion.

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Guitarist Carl Dandenau. The Killers were playing a show at Capital Music Hall that night, and wandered over after their gig to catch the rock action.

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Let's rock together, boys and girls!

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I wish there was news more recent than Autumn 2004 of this bunch. It's quiet out there ... too quiet ....

Walk all over you

Here's a few more pictures from the Setbacks/Pugilists/Heelwalkers show. This time from the Maritimes' most crushing quartet, The Heelwalkers.

These guys like silly nicknames, too, so here on drums it's Tubby Lovespy.

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Ree Ree Bowler. What's up with these names, anyway?!?

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On bass, Short Bus Tully. Possibly a half real name.

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On lead guitar Benny Bjabin!

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And the Heelwalkers en masse.

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I recall some JCM900 problems curtailed the set. Ottawa musical luminary Michael Houston Hanlan played bass with these guys on their 1999 CD-R.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The buzz of 1,000 volts!

Electric Frankenstein played a large role in resurrecting the 77-style punk rock sound in North America. High energy punk rock is their bag, and they still punch it out regular, as they did when they hit Barrymore's last summer.

Here's main man Sal Canzonieri.

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I did not know that Steve Miller was a Boy Scout. Can you get a merit badge for tattoos?

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Bassist Bill Gill features real jumping action!

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I cropped the @#$% out of this picture of drummer John Steele.

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Sal and Steve rock it on out.

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A great show by these hard-travelling and hard-merchandising vets.