Saturday, June 30, 2007

Water on the brain

It hasn't been so long since I saw The Besnard Lakes put on a stellar set at Zaphod's back in frosty February. Their album The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse was about to be released. Now it's out, their star has risen - deservedly, since it's a mighty fine piece of work - and a good-sized crowd came to see them. This time they had their keyboardist with them, so it was pretty crowded up on stage too.

Annoy the Lakes and Jace Lasek will zap you with his electric eye bolts.

Nicole Lizee works the Nord.

Blurry action!

As before, Richard White was tucked away in the corner.

Guitar action!

Jace sings!

I can't decide which Steve Raegele photo I like best.

Olga works the feedback.

Singalong action!

Paging Steve Raegele ... or is that Steve Raegele Paging? (Or more likely, Eddie Phillips-ing).

Kevin Laing sings the show closer, a cover of Fleetwood Mac's You Make Loving Fun.

They brought their smoke machine with them, but went a little easier on it: That biodegradable non-toxic smoke stuff has to last them for the U.S. tour they're about to embark on, you know. The Capital Idea Festival concludes today at Zaphod's with the inimitable Damo Suzuki, Smoke Judo and Adam Saikely.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Rolling stone

Making up for lost time, here's much-travelled piano woman Jade McNelis, the middle portion of the June 20 Soviet States and Besnard Lakes show. She was born in Taiwan, adopted by a U.S. family and has followed her musical journey from Florida to Montreal where folks from The Stars, The Dears and The Stills chipped in for her EP All The Fables. I like her recorded sound, which is a bit noisier than her solid live set. She's a good performer but may need a fifth person on stage.


Bassist Matt Mitchell.

Drummer Galen Pelley.

My one good photo of guitarist Chris. McNelis has described her backing band as a bunch of young jazz players; Chris certainly looks it.

Rhythm section action!

Matt switched to cello for one of the tunes.

Jaded action!

The whole lot!

She'll be back in the capital for Bluesfest on July 15.

Break up to make down

Day 1 of the Capital Idea Festival was the debut (near as I can tell) of Ottawa collective Soviet States. Steven St. Pierre and Glenn Nuotio are the two members most likely to be familiar to local folks. Bassist Kerri Carisse, violinist Lesley Raven, drummer Alex Seguin and guitarist Sam Seguin fill out the lineup. Glenn couldn't make it, but the rest of the band put on a spirited first effort.

Stephen grimaces.

Violinist Leslie Raven.

Kerri sings.

Sam Seguin (and Alex Seguin in back).

Speaking of whom.

Stately action!

Low light action! And by low light, I mean low for my camera, but high enough to ensure the folks on stage are well-grilled by the end of their set.

More Sam (and Alex).

The whole lot!

They're back at Zaphod's on Canada Day (FLASH UPDATE, 12:31 a.m., June 30: They aren't - turns out they had to decline the gig). Capital Idea Festival continues today with Born Ruffians, Henri Faberge And The Adorables and The Field Register at Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Back with a set

The Setbacks finished things off. Unfortunately, by the time they hit the stage I was definitely beginning to feel my feet starting to drag. The acknowledged the late hour and promised to keep things short and snappy but it wasn't short enough for my poor struggling eyelids - after a half-dozen songs I stumbled to the door and home to bed. There was probably a thrilling denouement that I missed, but here's a few shots from early in the show.

Faceoff action!

Non-faceoff action!

(Well actually I guess it is faceoff action, but with Chris.)

Bending action!

The whole lot!

Singalong action!

More singalong action! Trevor: "These mics are very short." Steven: "You know, they are adjustable!" Trevor: "Short ... and not adjustable!"

Rock stance action!

Even more singalong action!

Good, but dang was I getting sleepy. I'm going to start drinking energy drinks before I go to another double header.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The fire this time

Tuesday was the last night of Capital Idea Festival shows for yours truly; by the time I'm off work again on Sunday the closer, Damo Suzuki, will have come and gone. On the bright side, this final evening did provide the most consistent evening's entertainment, with every band kicking up the dust in a major way.

First up was Montreal's Thundrah!, drafted in when Chinese Stars were forced to cancel their tour. They've got the urgency of P.J. Harvey, some cool racket and death disco all intertwined. I bought their 12-inch I liked 'em so much.

From the same neighbourhood, Hot Springs. I've seen them before and I'll see them again (I hope). This was a really great set from them. Even greater than their usual greatness.

Last time I saw Fiery Furnaces (at Bluesfest last year) I thought they were good, but fell a little short of the expectations I had of them. This time around they really cooked. They've switched things up a bit. Matt Friedberger is on keys, Jason Lowenstein has switched to guitar (with an octave pedal, so he can also play bass parts)and Mike Goodman has been added to provided a Latin percussive vibe which really works (Eleanor still sings, Bob D'Amico still drums). Here's Eleanor and a blurry Matt.

Solid all 'round. Tonight's Capital idea offering is Destroyer, Rock Plaza Central and As The Poets Affirm at Barrymore's.
Show reminder:

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Extra! Extra!

Mocking Music's Capital Idea Festival continues; I missed the last three days but was off work for Xiu Xiu's show. Locals Fucked Corpse were to open things up, but Rhode Island quintet Get Him Eat Him landed on the bill at the last moment - not a big leap since there on tour promoting their new album Arms Down and just so happen to be on the Absolutely Kosher label - home of Garneau and Xiu Xiu.

Get Him Eat Him - they rock it like pop punk with an indie edge. They also covered Elvis Costello's Hand In Hand. A great bonus on an already swell bill.

Ottawa's own Fucked Corpse. Unfortunately illness and ill luck has stripped away a few members and blighted the rest with communicable diseases and fractured body bits so they had a couple of ringers on stage tonight to bump their membership up to seven.

Next up, Chris Garneau. A winsome lad who plays piano tunes, he didn't quite win me over even though he sounds a bit like Sufjan Stevens.

Finally Xiu Xiu. I'd never heard them before. They're truly a band you wouldn't mistake for anyone else. I found myself thinking of Scott Walker circa Tilt through most of their set. A really exciting live act with a highly distinct approach to percussion.

That was a truly diverse evening of entertainment. Thanks should also go to As The Poets Affirm for their loan of a vibraphone. Capital Idea continues tonight at Barrymore's (not Babylon, as an early version of the post and a longstanding show listing has had it) with The Fiery Furnaces, Thundrah! (not Chinese Stars, who have been forced to cancel their tour) and The Hot Springs.