Friday, June 17, 2011

Set it off

It's here! Run for your lives! Okay, not really, though you probably shouldn't count on getting an excess of sleep if your going to the heir to the fabulous Gaga Weekend. This year's kickoff show was held at Babylon and featured locals Knifemare, Mannequin, Male Nurse (with band), Holy Cobras and The Visitors, with Montreal's Demon's Claws coming down for a tasty set.

First up, Knifemare, who promised in the Ottawa Explosion guide "no drum machine." Carruthers and Ryan have indeed buttressed their combo with CHUO guy David Aardvark on drums and noted psychonaut Matt Oxley on bass. It made for a bg improvement, though the sight of Carruthers bounding about in denim shorts and vest might not have been best for the faint of heart.

Knifemare at Babylon
Knifemare at Babylon, June 16, 2011

Up next Mannequin, which is yet another Matt Oxley project (he has at least two this festival, with New Human being the other). Anyway, I like all the Oxley I can get since his stuff - Nervous System and Crazy Ocean, for example - is always right up my alley. This was more fuzzy psychedelia with motorik drumming from Andrea Poulin and an unrecognizable Jesse Winchester on bass - this was the first time I've seen him without a stripey shirt.

Mannequin at Babylon
Mannequin at Babylon, June 16, 2011

I've seen Male Nurse Davey Quesnelle perform solo on a few occasions, but this set with Steve Adamyk on bass and Dave Forcier on drums was the first I've seen of the song-a-day man performing with company (barring the zillion other bands he plays in, of course). It was a mighty raucous performance, which finished with what I'm told was a cover of Gob's Soda (I don't know the band well enough to say) that really had the crowd fired up.

Male Nurse Band at Babylon
Male Nurse Band at Babylon, June 16, 2011

He was followed by the always hot Holy Cobras. No need to introduce these guys, as Emmanuel noted. They may be one of the most long-lived bands at the Explosion, now that I think of it.

Holy Cobras at Babylon
Holy Cobras at Babylon, June 16, 2011

Demon's Claws really put on a ripping set. For some reason I always thinking of them being more musically chaotic; this time around they had me thinking of Love and, apart from some intrusive bass feedback that drove Ysael to microphone mangling action, sounded really great.

Demons Claws at Babylon
Demon's Claws at Babylon, June 16, 2011

The Visitors are a Rock'n'Roll Pizza Party institution, having played it six or so times, so naturally they finished things off with a rambunctious nine-song set which featured a bunch of new tunes.

The Visitors at Babylon
The Visitors at Babylon, June 16, 2011

Now it's on to Day 2, starting with a quick blitz at Yogi's Meatlocker from The Uncooperatives, Muffler Crunch, Djanguar, Pretty little Death Machine, Monobrow, Groovegasm, Hot Dam and The Ditch (a.k.a. Gilmer Ditch), then a couple of short sharp shocks at Vertigo Records courtesy of Pregnancy Scares and Motivator, then it's off to an upstairs-downstairs affair at Mavericks and Cafe DeKcuf with Bad Sports, Statues, Creeps, Sonic Avenues, Fucking Machines, Fear Of Lipstick, The Kamalas, The Johnnies and The Mnemonics.
  • Show reminder: If the Explosion isn't your thing, then there's always the wonderful One Hundred Dollars and Brandon Agnew at Raw Sugar Cafe; The Matthews Brothers and Lickpenny Loafer are at Zaphod's; FM HI LOW  and Owl Eyes flock to The Rainbow; Brock Zeman performs at Irene's; The Elmdale hosts Bill Toms and John Allaire.

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