Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sandy in their suits

With a name like Sandy and a co-billing with Casey Comeau and the Centretown Wilderness Club, I was honestly expecting a lady folk-singer type. Then I checked out their website and saw a picture of a guy in a cowboy hat and decided they were probably some type of country-rock outfit. Well, they're neither. In fact the band plays pop rock with a debt to bands like The Knack and The Romantics. They've got lots of on-stage energy, and are snappy dressers to boot. There was enough running around from frontman Darius Murphy to make me try all sorts of shutter speed fidgeting, much of which did not work out. They also did a reggae song.

Murphy in a rare moment of restraint.

Eric Wennerwald - love those Super Swedes.

Hans Levac sings a tune.

Brian Dupuis, playing "his first real gig" with the band.

And now some of that camera-speed buffoonery.

A good show, but I still can't figure out why the band is called Sandy.

Monday, February 27, 2006

More in store

I seem to be hearing a lot of music in record stores lately - whodathunkit? First it was Friday's show in End Hits, Saturday I went over to Organized Sound to watch a mid-afternoon in-store performance by Cuff the Duke, who also played Barrymore's later that night.

First, here's Wayne Petti and Paul Lowman. The only photo I shot without a flash. It turned out so nicely I wish I'd shot more.

And some other folks along to help with percussion, etc.

Big finish!

They played about half a dozen tunes, heavy on the country side, including The Ballad of Poor John Henry.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Benefit of the doubt

The original plan conceived by various do-gooders was to hold a benefit to raise money for a PA system for the Avant-Garde Bar. That was not how things turned out. When I arrived at the AvGab, musical gear was being carried out the door. Apparently an overcrowding complaint earlier in the week had made the AvGab's owner Alexei leery about having too many customers. As a consequence, the gig was being relocated to the soon-to-open End Hits - or, to be more precise, to End Hits' basement, and transformed into a benefit for CHUO 89.1 FM. So, a quick jaunt around the corner to the record store. There was still bits of panelling and assorted junk to get rid of, tubing to be tucked away, but after some lifting, toting, and a little broomwork, things were ready to go (for some reason I took a picture of people milling about ... ever wondered what End Hits' unfinished basement looks like from the furnace room? Wonder no more!

First up were Relief Maps. This was their second show and they did a swell job. Singer Katie Duross has a lovely, expressive voice. Here she sings while her brother Luke plays guitar.

Kevin Ross drums, while Dusty Dewan fills things out on guitar (and later keyboards).

More Luke and Kevin. The Maps sounded a lot sharper live than they do on their Myspace tracks.

They were followed by St. Bernard of Love. Michael Wieland is holding a couple of knives to provide sound effects for a song about stabbing the Devil 40 times.

Rolf Klausener and Jose Palacios help out with some less pointy instruments.

Ryan Hough was there to play a big drum. Unfortunately they didn't use it for crowdsurfing, Gogol Bordello style.

Michael and a hole. When I said unfinished, I meant unfinished!

Next up: Poorfolk. Originally from Montreal, they moved to Ottawa ("The big city!" they declared - do I detect some sarcasm?). Rock'n'roll with a rootsy edge. It was begun as a solo project by Jonathan Pearce.

Angus McLachlan and Scott Freeman provide some backup vocals.

Drummer Matt Godin minds his corner.

Definitely a band I plan to check out again. They were followed by Merle Knurling and the Silent K. Patrick Shanks seemed to be in quite a buoyant mood for a guy whose residence caught on fire earlier in the week. Here he is with Judy, his only surviving guitar, singing songs about bacon and punching out baby giraffes.

Merle takes his bow.

The Soft Disaster finished things off - since Flecton was unavailable - and did a great job as usual. Here's Tim Brownlee:

Bryce Colenbrander gets xylophonic.

Jeff Debutte and Nic Paradis rock on.

This was a really nice night, and I think a lot of it had to do with the unscheduled surroundings. Oh, there was also meat, courtesy of CHUO. Here's Rolf with some sliced turkey.

I dare say that's the last time a meat platter gets into End Hits. Anyway, hats off to Rolf, Zachary, End Hits and everyone else who deserves credit for rescuing chaos from disaster.
  • Show reminder: The Populars finish off their Zaphod's residency in the company of Galore.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Magneta attraction

Damn, I had forgotten what a thundering rhythm section Magneta Lane had! Between drummer Nadia King and bassist French it's like having a melodic bomb dropped on your noggin. Singer Lexi Valentine wraps everything up with her downstroke guitar and sultry singing. This show was to promote their brand new CD, Dancing With Daggers - and raise some cash to repair their van.

Lexi Valentine sends her love to the audience.

French, nonchalant as usual.

Nadia was looking particularly fabulous.

A few more Lexi shots.

Shutter speed action (which looks much nicer at twice the regular size).

All together.

For their encore they brought up a couple of guys to dance along ("and molest" I think I heard one of them say ... tsk, tsk!).

They ripped through their set - "because we're all hyperactive" Lexi explained - and as before it was a very fine thing.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Under construction

Golden Bulldozer has a number of good things going for it: A strong vocalist, a guitarist who understands you don't need a 100 watt Marshall Stack if you're playing for a small nightclub and a hardhitting rhythm section. I seem to recall a lot of positive thinking and calls for change in the group's lyrics.

Vocalist Ryan Greenacre opens wide.

Some high-end work from guitarist Allan Bradley.

Bassist Jay Schiller - this is the one stagelit photo that turned out okay. I also took a stagelit photo of their drummer which turned out quite a bit darker than I expected, and one of their vocalist which reminds me that I hate microphone stands.

And finally drummer Andrew Bradley, who was having some tom trouble using Magneta Lane's kit. Even duct tape couldn't keep it at the right angle.

Singalong action!

Rhythm action!

And finally some general-purpose action.

And all together (plus a bit larger).

Thanks to Allan for providing names. And as Mississippi Grover noted, Ryan is one of the few people around playing a TK model Gretsch.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bordello a-go-go

I while back I received a copy of Gogol Bordello's latest CD, Gypsy Punks, thanks to my job as a music reviewer at the Ottawa Sun. I thought it was good, but not year-end list material. Nonetheless, I dropped all plans for Friday, March 17, when I heard the band was playing Barrymore's, because they have a hard-earned reputation as one of the best live acts on the planet. It's well deserved: They had the house moving from the word go with their Gypsy-Slavic folk-rock hybrid. Barring a brief pre-encore intermission they had the crowd in the palms of their hands for a good hour and three-quarters.

The crowd started moshing almost as soon as frontman Eugene Hutz hit the stage and yelled "Let's party!"

Violinist Sergey Ryabtsev.

Yury Lemeshev squeezes it out.

There wasn't a whole lot of lateral movement allowed - this is the closest I got to a good shot of drummer Eliot Ferguson.

Bass player Rea Mochiach in his Clash chic.

I may have a better picture of Oren Kaplan - at right with the groovy pants - somewhere, but this is the one I like most. Like Rea, he's originally from Israel.

Accordion action from Yury.

After a couple of songs Pamela Jintana Racine and Elizabeth Sun zipped onto stage in their ragamuffin chic to scream the screams in I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again. Incidentally, that's a Slayer T-shirt Eugene is wearing.

You can tell which is which thanks to their monogrammed washboards.

Washboard action!

More washboard action!

Sergei eyes Pamela! And who can blame him?

Eugene tried to crowd surf ... he must have been a bit slippery by that point because I don't think the crowd managed to keep him aloft. Barrymore's security was quick to stop any audience shenanigans, anyway. Anyway, here he is getting back on stage, ready to kick things up a notch!

Pamela sings!

Elizabeth breaks out the cymbals while Eugene strums.

Pamela gets a big drum (which proved handy later).

What the heck, everyone deserves some percussion action. I should mention that in addition to his industrial strength stand, Hutz had one of the most battered microphones I've ever seen. Care to wonder why?

My favourite Hutz shot ...

Some singing along with Pamela and Yury.

Rea grabs some front stage action.

Sure, they could just toss a few shirts into the crowd, but a slingshot is so much niftier.

And one last shot of Eugene working the kinks out ...

As you can see, I shot a bunch of pictures - in fact, I shot so many pictures that I ran out of film: Double drat, since I missed the chance to get a picture of the audience holding up Pamela's marching drum so that first she, and then Hutz could perch on top of it (to the displeasure of Barrymore's security). An amazing show ... there was just one strange thing. I was right up at the stage, and was dancing around between shots. There were two guys right beside me just leaning on the stage, drinking. I don't think they so much as wiggled a foot. I almost wanted to check them for a pulse. As for Hutz, as the gig came to an end he asked "Okay, where's the aftershow party?"