Monday, October 31, 2005

Rated Ex, Ex, X

The Ex-Models are a damn noisy bunch. Two guys and a drum machine (sorry, no sighting of Oneida's Kid Millions, their regular traps-smasher, at this gig) turning out an infernal blend of post-rock and industrial grind. Shahin Motia and Zaxh didn't need a third man to make an infernal racket - but they did get some local assistance ....

"Damn it, we forgot the drummer in New York!"



Shahin prepares to step on it - does every guitarist own a Line 6 Delay nowadays?



Zaxh deploys the masonite.



Singalong action!



It's only natural that X-Ray X should help the Ex-Models, isn't it?



Beat it!



Hooray for earplugs.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Noise liberation

Next up were Quebexico with a few untidy doses of shout and squawk along with some punky athletics. They played without a set list so there were some last minute consultations over what to finish with.

Mail Nurse and Robotic City Killer Len Gibbons III - sometimes known as Dave.



The Funisher goes down!



Jaw puts the bite on the bass.



On drums, occasional Rolling Gypsy Stagecoach.



The Funisher works the crowd.



Singalong action.



And all together.



Another short sharp burst of shouty post punk.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

And more!

In addition to the three bands on the Get Hustle/Ex-Models/Quebexico bill, Army of Saint Joan - Pat Johnson and Justin Gobeil - showed up to stretch the howling blues until it was 99% and 1% song structure. About squirrels and love, as far as I could tell. The duo set up in the middle of Babylon's floor, allowed for a number of different shot angles and lots of slightly out of focus pictures since damn, it's dark in there.

I never get to photograph drummers from the back, so here's a picture of one.



Justin keeps his ears warm.



More Pat!



More Justin!



Justin from the back!



And the crowd goes wild!



Actually the people in attendance were kind of low key all night. It was a Wednesday.
  • Show reminder: You can see The Flaps at Irene's as they run through their own material and favourite covers. Then gaze in horror as Jon Bartlett pitches in some spooky vocal action! Big Jeezus Truck drives in the fast lane at The Rainbow.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Keep the Beat

The Beat landed in Ottawa on a rainy Sunday night, and though it's really just Dave Wakeling and whoever else he can snag, they did a credible job of bringing the two-tone tunes of yesteryear to life.
Also on hand were drummer Rhythmm Epkins (who seems like a cheery chap - he could be heard chuckling to Wakeling's witticisms throughout the set), saxophonist Fernando Jahtiva and a bassist whose name I didn't catch (Jesse Del Rio, maybe? Answers on a postcard, please ...). Not in evidence was their regular keyboard player, who has apparently had some sort of misunderstanding with the law - thus a spindly chap named Rich stepped in to make his Roland synth sound as much like an organ as possible. Considering the short notice, he did a commendable job.
People skanked enthusiastically to Tears of a Clown, Tenderness, Stand Down Margaret (in celebration of her 80th birthday two weeks previous, of course), Mirror in The Bathroom and other tunes from their heyday. A newer number, How Can You Stand There, was borrowed from Bang, one of Wakeling's more recent bands. A real mover, which goes to show there's still fire in the engine.
On the encore they fulfilled a request for Jackpot; the requestee actually got on stage to play bass (another audience member came on stage to skank to Whine and Grine).
There was something a bit hokey about Wakeling's song intros - but it all added to the warm balm of nostalgia.
Dave also sang a retooled version of Ranking Full Stop ("My name is Ranking David!"). With their two encores, they went through about 22 songs in all - a good long set by any standard.

Dave Wakeling - the man with a two-tone guitar strap; and not only does he have the tears of a clown, he has a teardrop-shaped guitar.



Fernando Jahtivo horns in.



Rich gets into it.



Mr. Epkins keeps the rhythm (or "Rhythmm" in his case).



The mystery bassist, looking natty in his straw porkpie and goatee.



Ska action!



Skanking to the beat!



Bring in the substitute!



Extra rhythm (and Rhythmm) action.



A heartfelt moment!



They ended the show with - of course! - End of the Party.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Been there, done that

I've just returned from Babylon, where I heard Army of St. Joan's edge-of-form blues, Quebexico's shoutpunk athletics, Ex-Models' industrial-cleansing-drill-press post-rock and Get Hustle's declamatory urban moan noir. It was generally loud and mostly cool, and pictures will be posted at some time in the future, unless you are reading this after they were posted, in which case they were posted sometime in the past. If you are reading this Thursday, you might want to think about heading over to Zaphod's to see The Black Halos, Illuminati and Crash Kelly. If you prefer strange experiments to glam and hard rock, go to Club SAW for the sul pont label's showcase with performances from Element Kuuda, if then do, sinequanon and Le Lecteur. It's part of Club SAW's Electric Field festival.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Snakebite love

The Deadly Snakes started off as a bloozin' and boozin' ensemble, sounding a bit like garage rockers on a Bob Dylan trip. They were a bit like Toronto's answer to The Oblivians, blending 50s rock, soul and R&B, an impression that was further cemented when Greg Oblivian briefly recorded with the band. They've supposedly broadened their palette on their new album Porcella to add more pop and folk influences (I'm waiting for the double-vinyl version, A Bird In The Hand Is Worthless, with extra songs, so I have to take other reviewers' word for it).
They played Zaphod's with Tangiers and sounded like a toned down version of their earlier selves. I think that may be because they don't have the added instrumentation that shows up on their record - they've got to use the old tools to play the new tunes and it doesn't work 100%. Or maybe they just play better when they're stinking drunk, as was the case for the Dominion show when Andre Ethier tried to sing into his maraca for a good 10 seconds before he realized his microphone was actually in his other hand.
Anyway, they were still really good - I've just seen them better and drunker.

Time for some very emphatic singing from Andre.



Jeremi Madsen toots his own horn.



Matthew Carlson shakes one of the many tambourines the band keeps on hand for just such purposes.



Andrew Gunn was in good form.



Bassist Chad Ross in the middle.



Blood red Andre and Age of Danger!



Audience participation action!



And more Age of Danger action.



Shortly after this picture was taken, Age was eaten by a wandering zombie - really!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Morocco connection

Tangiers sounds like the product of many late nights listening to Wire, New Order and Television records. They had a few highly touted records and were the buzz band du jour for a little while in 2003 thanks to their highly tipped Hot New Spirits. They had a solid second album in Never Bring You Pleasure but things went a wee bit sour around the same time they underwent a divisive lineup shift. Still a solid band, featuring Shelton Deverell of Zoundz, along with Josh Reichmann and James Sayce. Jon McCann, who did a stint in Guided By Voices, joined on as drummer.

Here's three-quarters of the band ...



And bassist James Sayce makes four.



Shelton in red.



Some tippy-tappy drumming.



Josh and his tattoo of whatever-the-heck-that-is.



Some singalong action.



I liked them, but I can't say I remember any of their songs a few days after the event..

Monday, October 24, 2005

Everybody loves the Bellrays

The mighty Bellrays last played Ottawa at the 2004 Bluesfest, far too long ago for my liking. They brought a good-sized crowd into Babylon - particular for a Wednesday night in this sleepy ol' town - to listen to their mighty rock'n'soul testimonial.

Lisa Kekaula - big voice, bigger hair!



You'd jump too, if Kekaula let out a shout while you were nearby.



Actually, bassist Bob Vennum (who is also LK's husband) is a bouncy sort.



Guitarist Tony Fate gets down everything from the MC5-style smashing to jazz.



Drummer Craig Waters can really smash it out too. He was really animated at Bluesfest, and still pretty active midweek.



More rhythm action!



More soul-shout action!



Fateful action!



Tambourine action!



They've been a steamroller live every time I've seen them, and while this didn't top their Bluesfest set, it was still killer - once every two years is definitely not enough Bellrays for me.