Monday, December 31, 2007

It's over

We bid 2007 a fond farewell (or not, if you had a cruddy year) and head off into the sunset with a roundup of New Year's Eve shows. Personally I'm off to Barrymore's; if nothing else I'll get to see Gunsmoke at last. The redoubtable Fiftymen headline - here they are (or at least frontman Jeff Hardill) at the same venue a while back.

Of course there's a bunch of other stuff going on: The Bible All Stars perform at Irene's; Politique, The Polytones, Mono Hum, Doll, The Bushpilots play Zaphod Beeblebrox; the Black Sheep inn plays host to The Hilotrons, Jetplanes of Abraham and The Sunparlour Players. The Rainbow has The Hammerheads and Souljazz Orchestra will be holding down the fort at Babylon. See you next year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

To the point

It's quiet in town today, but if you can make it up to the hills of Gatineau you might want to check out Shannon Rose and The Thorns at the Black Sheep Inn in the afternoon. Here she is at a show in November at Zaphod's.

Steve Marriner is also performing at Irene's, doing a one-man blues band gig.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Kiss it goodbye

2008 draws ever closer ... and with it the return of my fershlugginer camera. It's pretty quiet for a Saturday. No doubt people are gathering the strength for the evening of Dec. 31. But over at Irene's The John Henrys will be putting on a show. Here's a photo from a couple of years ago - November 22, 2005 to be precise - when they performed with Slo' Tom's Rock'nRoll Rodeo and Carolyn Mark.

They're also playing a New Year's Eve show at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto if you're down that way.

Friday, December 28, 2007

How unfortunate

I miss a few must-see shows every year due to job demands; there's one on tonight at Cafe DeKcuf I'm most peeved at having to take a pass on: Fortunate Sons, Holy Cobras (featuring some former Sweet Janes), Sedatives and Chloroform Kids. Here's a previously unpublished Fortunate Sons picture from a Zaphod's show back in July 2005, back when the Sons were playing nearly two shows a year. I guess I'll have to wait for 2008 or '09 to see them again.

There are a few other acts laying down some pre-New Year's Friday sounds: The Empiricals perform at Irene's Pub, while Brock Zeman and Brenden Flynn play Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


A couple of years ago - just prior to starting the blog up, in fact - I went to Irene's to see The Orange Alabaster Mushroom perform. Here's Greg Watson, a.k.a. Grog of The Fiends, at right. I'd seen him many a time before performing with The Desecrators, which also featured Darrell Angus, who later formed Golden Famile. Now of course he's doing solo stuff as Mississippi Grover.

They were actually opening for Nassau. At the time I had no idea who Nassau were and couldn't dig up much useful from the Internet because as I observed at the time of my post, when your band is named after a city it can be hard to dig through the other stuff. Well, times change, Nassau is getting more press and has an easy-to-find website and Myspace address. As it turns out, guitarist Jon McCann is/was in another municipally monikered outfit, Tangiers. He also played drums with Guided by Voices and 13 Engines.

The Warlocks T-shirt is kid of a giveaway regarding Nassau's sound.

Latest word is that they're off "writing songs."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day blues

I was scrounging through my banker's boxes, looking for pictures of The High Strung, when I came across my CDs from The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion gig at Babylon on July 19, 2004. I thought most of the shots had been posted at Birdman Sound or on here, but it turns out that apart from a few lo-res photos at, and a single snap way back in 2005, nothing had seen the light of day. That's just plain silly.

Explosive Explosion action!

"Would someone please return the photographer to the upright position?"

That's too far!

Much better.

Sometimes a man must testify.

Spencer works the audience.


Off course he came back later with Matt Verta-Ray and The Sadies as Heavy Trash. The band released Jukebox Explosion, a singles collection, on In The Red in October.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

White noise

Here's some more musical history ... dating back to Wilco's performance at the Capital Music Hall, August 4, 2004. These pictures have been floating around for so long there aren't any large versions. When Wilco's opening act came on, the first thing I thought was "This guy sounds a lot like Jim White." With good reason, since as it turned out it was Jim White. I've always liked the bug-eyed Americana of Wrong-Eyed Jesus; his other stuff isn't quite as good - still praiseworthy, though.

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The lanky keyboardist.

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Some second and third wind.

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I thought I grabbed a picture of his bassist, but I'm afraid this is as much of him as you're going to see ...

It was a pretty good show, if not as amazing as Wilco's set.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Lights off

You folks remember The Illuminati, right? A while ago they played a few storming shows in town. In March they posted a notice saying they were done. So sad! Here's a few pictures of the trio in their prime, rocking The Dominion in October 2004.

Other photos from this occasion can be seen at the Birdman Sound website. The next I crossed their path was at Zaphod's July 2005. I've already posted most of the photos from this show - here are a few leftovers.

If you caught Sebastien Grainger et les Montagnes' set at Bluesfest, no doubt you noticed Nik Sewell on bass. He's also playing bass in Toronto rockers Drunkula along with some former Sinisters and Flamejobs. I'm not quite sure what guitarist Les Godfrey and drummer Jim Gering are up to, but no doubt we have not heard the last, etc.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The sweater song

Big surprise! I got to see a show tonight! I expected to be stuck at work until 11 p.m., but due to my industrious nature (no joke) I finished way ahead of time. Okay, it wasn't too busy a news day either, but it still means I was home a couple of hours early and could go to Poorfolk's crazy egg nog chugging party at Irene's.
The songs on Styrofoam Ones Myspace were a bit of an eyebrow raiser. The mysterious duo turned out to be a trio, of which I can say little except they use keyboards, bass and drums to dance-worthy effect. They opened with a cover of The Gories' Sovereignty Flight (a tune also tweaked by local combo Four'n'Giv'r). I can definitely see them getting much wider notice in very short order - or at least a record release on Last Gang.
As for Poorfolk, they gave another robust performance (though I think they've had better sound), and covered both Cyndi Lauper's Money Changes Everything and Guided by Voices' Motor Away, with an assist from Ones drummer Casey Jones. The band also debuted a new tune, Jamaican Gum, slated for an upcoming album that will probably (not) be called My Baby's Momma. Plus they braved a song wearing wool sweaters with Christmas-themed stuffed animals sewn onto them. Though there was no egg nog, crazily chugged or not, there were randomly distributed door prizes.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The land of nog

If you aren't too bagged from shopping, consider this: Poorfolk are having a "Crazy Egg Nog Chugging Party!" at Irene's. Just how much egg nog will be chugged I know not, but presumably it will be a crazy amount.

Also on the bill, Toronto's Styrofoam Ones.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Beat that!

The discriminating listener has a couple of fine shows too choose from: Over at Zaphod Beeblebrox, Casey Comeau and Andrea Simms-Karp will perform. Here's a photo of Casey and Richard Jeffrey in post-Half-Milers, pre-Wilderness Club at Irene's in March 2005.

Speaking of Irene's, ManPower is celebrating their Season's Beatings Christmas shindig along with Remi Royale, The Unkown Wrestler and one-man band BA Johnston. I'm sure it will be a sombre and reverential event, possibly involving sliced meat.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

No alibi

Tonight is goodbye from lung-running punk rock trio Harshey, who say farewell at Zaphod Beeblebrox. The Vanity Of Human Wishes will also be on hand. Here are a couple of photos of the band from earlier days. First, one of the few photos of a Jan. 17, 2004, show at The Dominion not posted over at The Birdman Sound website. This was back when Meredith Westlake played bass.

And another, about a year later at Barrymore's with Larry on the low end.

Meanwhile, over at Cafe DeKcuf you can see A Distance From, Foxfight, The Fitzpatrick Incident, Reroute The Bloodstream and There Were Thousands.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Let the festivities begin!

Nothing to post picturewise, but a couple of shows to get you in the festive mood:'s 6th annual holiday party hits Babylon with Protest The Hero, These Silhouettes, Set Fire To Wicker Park, Critical Convictions and The Epilogue. Distorted Messiah, Skunch, Riot Melody and Gusto Fiasco play Cafe Dekcuf for no particular good reason. For something completely different, you can go to Irene's and catch the Just Voices Choir do their third annual solstice concert.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Couples night

Well that was a fruitful night of watching duos and dodging snow-clearing machinery. I got in the door at Mavericks a bit before 9 p.m. and Ennuie got on stage shortly after. I'm sometimes unsure as to whether Luca and Ivana are playing in time, or even the same song at the same time, but I think I'm starting to get a handle on it. Toronto electro-dance pop groovers Woodhands were on stage next. "It's couples night!" keytar maestro Dan Werb observed, and indeed every band on stage was a duo for this occasion. This meant drummer Paul Banwatt had to "sing like a girl" after rapping since Maylee Todd was back in Toronto, but so be it. Then Handsome Furs came up and rocked it. I like Dan Boeckner's crunchy guitar stuff a lot, and his wife Alexei Perry plays a table full of electronics like a pinball fanatic in love with the tilt sign. They finished off with a cover of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers' You Got Lucky. I really wish I had my camera on hand for the set, but it's still down in Mississauga, so I'll just have to leave you with a photo of Boeckner at Barrymore's with his other band, Wolf Parade.

Incidentally, Ennuie is playing again at Zaphod's January 25.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dashing through the snow

With no camera and no more pictures of recent shows, I guess it's time to start trawling through the stack of banker's boxes keeping my vinyl company and dig out some never-before-seen pictures from yesteryear. But first, here's a snap from earlier in 2007. Handsome Furs, Woodhands and Ennuie are performing at Mavericks tonight (assuming they make it through the snow). This photo was taken at Woodhand's Club SAW set with Laura Bartlett and Glenn Nuotio.

Flesh Cadillack (a.k.a. Joady Thomas of BusBoyeez) and Andrea Warren also perform tonight at Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ruff stuff

Dog Day topped off a fine evening of music with their propulsive indie rock. It's very melodic but with an aggressive edge. I've heard comparisons to My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth mooted here and there, but can't agree. The Tomlab signees aren't afraid to turn things up, but they struck me as being a bit like a more guitar-oriented New Order. The band has been touring quite a bit and were on the last leg of their tour that had already taken them across Europe, the U.S.A. and parts West - they were sounding very tight.

Seth Smith and bassist Nancy Urich, formerly of The Burdocks.

Casey Spidle hails from Hailfax hardcore combo The Hold ...

As does his wife, keyboardist Crystal Thili.

Canine action!

The whole lot!

Big finish!

A super ending to a snappy show.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Central planning

The Murder Plans put on another excellent set opening for Dog Day; they still put me in mind of mod-soul-loving Scots bands like Orange Juice and descendants like The Wedding Present (and as I mentioned earlier, the tougher sounding Britpop bands like Adorable and Ireland's Whipping Post). I see from the 2007 XPress "Best of Ottawa" poll that I'm not the only one who' s impressed, as they scored an honorable mention in the Best New Artist and Best Album categories.

Joel and Connor; the colour in these lowlight photos are kind of nice, if a tad on the fuzzy side.

Nick, even more of a blur in motion than usual.

And the whole lot.

I did use flash here - just not enough.

Bassist Mike; we chatted a bit pre-show and he asked about the Orange Juice comparison. I admit I completely blanked on Edwyn Collins' name.

More Joel!

The stage was still a bit smoky.

And so on.

Their next show is at Cafe DeKcuf on Jan. 12.