Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Make room, make room!

Now, Songs From A Room and The Sheepdogs are two bands I can very well see sharing a bill - and I'm quite glad I did, since they're both ace performers. I get the impression Songs From A Room started as a bedroom project from brothers Brayden and Dustin Jones. Now they're a full on rocking quintet with a high-energy stage show.

SFAR launch their attack!

Off to the left, keyboardist and guitarist Craig Mailman.

And in the back, Dustin.

Brayden shouts!

Dave Stephen bends back.

Nick Bechard bends forward.

More bending!

Craig switches to guitar.

They're an active lot.

Big Revival finish!

The whole lot!

Definitely a band worth checking out if you can.
  • Show reminder: Cracked Lantern get the blues at The Rainbow.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mostly ghostly

The Jay Spectre, like Organ Eyes, were unlike the other bands on the bill. They're also unlike most of the bands I go out to see, being a sort of funky reggae pop band with some soul and folk lashings added in. Pretty capable performers, though,

From left to right we've got Paul Turley on bass; Mike Field on trumpet, a mostly concealed Jeremy Drury on drums, James Oliver on acoustic guitar and most of the singing and Jon Hembrey on guitar and other singing ... not around for this shindig were flautist Katherine Watson, percussionist Sean Seagal and Dean Yates on bone.

Mike comes to blows.

James and Jon singalong!

Someone's doing something funny over there. I forget what.

Jeremy unconcealed.

Paul on the low end from down low.

They'll be playing March 28 at Cafe Ole in Pembroke.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A bit of fuzzy folk

One of the best things about Zaphod Beeblebrox's free showcases is that there's usually an interesting variety of acts playing. I don't think you would have caught Organ Eyes opening for The Ssheepdogs at a gig you had to pay to get in to. Sami Secord and Cameron Steacy are a young, moderately shaggy duo who describe themselves as "two relaxed people making some relaxed tunes." They make me think of Blackavar and Mazzy Star, primarily because of Sami's deadpan vocals. I can imagine liking them quite a bit if they add a touch more fuzz and trim the instrumental bits.

Sam and Cam.

A little bounced flash.

After that it was over to black and white.

Cameron took over the instrumental side for the last number.

The duo will be performing along with Azeda Booth at Cafe DeKcuf April 16.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Safe house

First, let me start by noting I'm an idiot - Steve Stacey is celebrating his birthday with a Big Ass Birthday Bash featuring Steph Clementine, The Brothers Chaffey and his Stump Splitters tonight at the Elmdale House, not yesterday as I previously averred. Ditto for the JW-Jones Blues Band at The Rainbow. Operating under the possibly shaky notion that today is Saturday, In-Flight Safety are performing at Zaphod Beeblebrox tonight with Still Life Still. I wasn't knocked out by them when I saw them at Bluesfest two years ago, but judging from the turnout then they have a lot of fans, and many people are singing the praises of their latest album. They're also doing an in-store at Compact Music at 3.

In-Flight Safety, Bluesfest, July 9, 2007

Elsewhere, The Weakerthans and Constantines play Bronson Centre Theatre to a sold out crowd; The Death of Apollo and The John Punch Band play Cafe DeKcuf. The Powergoats release their CD (and a book, too!) at Irene's.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Beck in action

Yesterday was my only day off this week, so it's good that there was a show waiting at the end of it since there was never a spare moment. This headlining gig by Howie Beck comes to us courtesy of Matthew from i(heart)music, and judging from his on stage banter, it's a relatively rare one in these parts. The opener was local folk duo For The Fairest, and included a set from Montreal chanteuse Angela Desveaux.

For The Fairest put on another good set. Like the last time I witnessed them, performing along with New Teeth last year at Zaphod's I was struck by Steph Sears strong singing. I still think that drummer Jean-Guy Menard would do better in a full-band setting, as he's quite a dominating presence behind the kit, but he was somewhat less distracting this time around. Also distracting the fact that Steph was performing with wet feet thanks to a hole in her boot. I can sympathize, sister.

For The Fairest, Cafe DeKcuf, March 26, 2009

I've seen Angela Desveaux before as well - it was some years ago, performing under the name of Lily Pearl with the Sonny Best Band on the Birdman Stage at Bluesfest in 2004. That show may also have been the first time I saw her bassist Eric Digras ... he was also playing bass in Bionic, and I can't recall if I first caught them before or after. Her guitarist Mike Feuerstack is of course well known to fans of the Ottawa music seen for his roll in Snailhouse and other groups, and a good portion of the audience was made up of local musicians (the other part was all photographers ... just kidding). The other member of her band is Gilles Castilloux, who also produced her new album Angela Desveaux and the Mighty Ship. The title track is about her grandmother's first husband, who was lost at see. "If that hadn't happened, I wouldn't be here," she noted. "So it was a happy ending," quipped Mike. There's still a bit of country in her sound, but what really struck me was how her voice sounds a bit like Chrissie Hynde. They finished their set off with a cover of The Pretenders' Kid, so I guess the similarity has not gone unnoticed elsewhere.

Angela Desveaux, Cafe DeKcuf, March 26, 2009

Contrary to the solo picture below, this was actually a full band effort, including bassist Dennis Mohammed (last seen on this blog performing with Danny Michel at Bluesfest), Bryden Baird (who's been known to hang around with Feist, Jason Collett and that crowd), jazz-drummer-about-T.O. Kieran Adams and ace guitarist Dean Drouillard. This was his first show in Canada in a few years and a first with a band, so he apologized in advance for any unscheduled stops and starts. They did have to start over on onne tune, which Howie introduced with a story about the guy he based it on. The gent in question was apparently a jerk as a kid, and grew up to be a jerk as an adult. "I've remembered the story, but now I have to remember the song" he said after a few bars.

Howie Beck, Cafe DeKcuf, March 26, 2009

There wasn't a huge turnout, but the folks who missed it should at least be able to catch Beck's set on CBC Radio 2 sometime since it was recorded for broadcast.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Jump around

As enthusiastic as the crowd had been for The Smith Westerns, they went even wilder for Nobunny. Backed by them Westerns, he kicked things off with his signature tune, Nobunny Loves You, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Land of 1,000 Dances. The San Francisco-area act dished out the garage-pop racket with the energy of a sleazier Jay Reatard (the title of his album Love Visions is presumably a riff on Reatard's Blood Visions) or a not-entirely bandaged Mummies, and the audience was happy to surge along to the beat. He was obviously very happy with the audience's enthused reaction, and when he said it had been the best show on the tour so far I've no doubt he meant it.

Nobunny makes his entrance, slithering on stage in red Y-fronts and stripper heels.

The Smith Westerns quickly doffed their tops to show off their faux tuxedos.

It didn't take long for the Smith Westerns to lose their ears.

Nobunny goes down. There's some broken glass mixed in with that confetti.

Things were getting sweaty.

Lagomorphic action!

Confetti-spraying action!

And so on!

As the show progressed the crowd was getting more rambunctious, and soon there were folks on stage.

This guy apparently wanted his photo taken.

Allie Hanlon of The White Wires and co. make off with Cameron's microphone.

The security guys did try to keep people off stage ... it didn't work long!

There he goes ...

Well that was fun and short.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Western exterminator

The Smith Westerns were definitely the most pleasant surprise of the night - everyone was at least really good, but when you consider the members of the group met at a Chicago high school and at least a couple of them still attend, I have to say their teen punk blurt meets Marc Bolan sound was an even greater accomplishment. Their recorded stuff is back in their Memphis lo-fi rock phase, at this show they were far more glam.

At left, Cullen (the old man of the group) and a guy named either Max or Hal, who's keeping his guitar up with a shoe-string.

I don't know who the drummer is ... Michael maybe.

Singalong action with Cullen's brother Cameron.


Cullen, the old man of the group.

It's all about the confetti ... and Jesus.

Western action!

More confetti!

A killer set which earned many post-show plaudits. Then they backed Nobunny to even more killer effect.