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.

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