Friday, July 31, 2009

The big dump

Back when I started doing National Capital Rock, I was using a Pentax Super ME. With 36 shots on a roll of 800 ISO film it wasn't that hard to slap up the handful of workable photos along with my usual witless banter.

The Suppositories at Gaga Weekend
The Suppositories, Yogi's Meatlocker, July 13, 2009

Nowadays I'm using a Nikon D90 (my Olympus is kept in reserve), and as many a snapper will attest the tendency to shoot vast number of photos means I end up with loads that never see the light of day. More to the point, I'm still using the same old creaky computer I was in 2005 and it doesn't shift ye olde files around as fast as I'd like. Thus, I've upgraded my Flickr account to pro and have begun downloading photos there en masse. I've already slapped up a big selection from the Gaga Weekend shows at Babylon, Yogi's Meatlocker, 854 Bronson and the Atomic Rooster. If things go according to plan they'll soon be joined by a vast outpouring of Bluesfest snaps. Hooray. Speaking of the Gaga Weekend, here's the last few photos from Yogi's Meatlocker, a performance by Toronto's School Jerks. I'm still not sure which ones are Luke, Ben, Matt and Ivan, so once again here's a bunch of photos ...

Shouting action! And the least surprising T-shirt ever!

School Jerks at Gaga Weekend

Guitar action! And the second-least surprising T-shirt ever!

School Jerks at Gaga Weekend

Drumming action!

School Jerks at Gaga Weekend

More shouting, guitaring, and T-shirts!

School Jerks at Gaga Weekend

School Jerks at Gaga Weekend

School Jerks at Gaga Weekend

As you can see, the crowd was starting to thin out as people drifted off to dinner and to steal themselves for the evening's entertainment at Babylon. It was still big enough to mosh about though. After almost being shoved into the glass door of the Meatlocker's second practice space I decided to head home myself. My gear needed some serious recharging, anyway. As for The School Jerks, they're in Montreal tonight playing Friendship Cove - a U.S. tour also looms.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

While the getting's good

I wasn't particularly fascinated by the prospect of going to see Got To Get Got when the listing popped up online. The band was promoted as including members of North of America, a group I saw when they opened for Ted Leo and The Pharmacists in October 2005. I really only recall Ted and Co.'s performance from that gig, but decided to check out Got To Get Got's music online. Good thing too, since I found it far more compelling than North of America's. Thus, I walked over to Mavericks for 9 p.m. to see and hear what could be seen and heard.

The opener was Kris Ward. The Rebel Year member hasn't played a solo show for a while. His singing reminds me of someone I can't place but like, while his guitar playing reminds me of Robert Montgomery, a very good thing in my book. That said, he seemed a somewhat incongruous opener for the more frenetic touring bands. He also invited up a pal to sing on a version of The Beatles In My Life. They muffed the first take ... a little more practice next time, folks.

Kris Ward, Mavericks, July 29, 2009

Next up were Germans. The band has been on hiatus for about a year and a half, they say. I was contemplating the pair of synthesizers with Mike Sheridan prior to their set. "This could be a good thing or a bad thing," he noted. "We could be in for a spellbinding evening of DAF covers," I replied. Actually the band sounded like a combo of fractured arena rock (a la Guided By Voices), synth pop and The Cure minus Robert Smith's distinctive vocals.

Germans, Mavericks, July 29, 2009

The Got To Get Got are the new band from Mark Mullane, formerly of North of America. The band's a well-staffed affair with a keyboardist, cellist and violinist in addition to the two guitarists, bassist and drummer. Lineup aside, they reminded me a bit of Jetplanes of Abraham. Someone joked in the lead up to the show they would only attend if they played a Q And Not U cover. "Three of us know it ... four of sort of know it ..." Mullane joked before launching into a tune (which I didn't recognize, not being a QANU fan).

The Got To Get Got, Mavericks, July 29, 2009

I also bought their new album Sahalee and it's quite good.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In their own image

Ottawa's premier (probably only) post-psychedelic juggernaut The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol crammed into the small room and squished everyone's brain with their heavy rhythmic roil. Their sophomore album is out imminently - I was in Birdman Sound Monday to buy the new Oneida, Blood Ceremony's debut and Poobah's Steamroller and John told me it was a matter of days. And of course they have a track out on the Gaga Records compilation.

Here we have a somewhat obscured Nate, Mark and John.

Bill in extreme closeup (it gets kind of crowded in there)!

Looking away action!

More looking away action!

John shakes it!

The crowd goes wild!

John reaches for the rim.

Feedback action!

Everyone's doing it!

They're also playing Irene's October 23 with Castor and Nervous System.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Coming from behind

The Suppositories were next up for the large stage at the Gaga Weekend's Meatlocker matinee. I'd seen them twice before, opening for Wire among other things, but this was the first time I'd seen them with Feline Ilona on second guitar. Their minimalist brutalism (or brutal minimalism) was therefore even heavier than before on their many songs about girls and explosions.

Starting with some faceoff action!

Mark frets, Ian shouts!

Audience action!

Rising action! Mark - aka Jeff Squealey - had to change guitars and took a loaner from Jo of Germ Attak.

More shouting!!

Mark rocks the Strat.

And so on!

The whole lot!

Big finish!

They were recently up in Wakefield ... no word on what comes next.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mistakes were made

I think a bunch of folks split the Gaga Weekend after the Wires set - or maybe they went outside for barbecue. A few hardy souls did dare cross the threshold of doom and risk confinement in the small room with The Botched Suicides. It's been a few months shy of four years since I saw the Suicides. There's been a bit of a lineup switch since then, or at least an instrument switch. Anyway, it's the same old scum rock we all love and/or hate ... Unfortunately they couldn't fit a gallows into the room.

Hooded action!

Masked action!

Bandannaed and duck-taped action!

Goldberg prepares to pontificate.

Botched action!

And so on!

The whole lot!

The tape comes off!

Shoutalong action!

One of the better musical beatings of the day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pale horsing around

The White Wires have taken the Ottawa pop scene by storm, whipping audiences into a frenzy here, there and everywhere.

Introductory high-five action!

Rhythm section action!

Allie! Again!

Ian wigs out!

Luke sings!

Beer-spraying action!

Beer-drinking action!

I'm not sure what that is on Nigel's head.

As you can see the crowd has long ago stopped respecting the stage boundary, such as it was.

It would have been a hectic finale to the day's entertainment, but there was still more to come. They're going to tour with Nobunny in early August, including an Ottawa stop on August 8 at the Polish Party Palace.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A jolly good time

Sudbury's Joliettes offered a change of piece with some serious vocal harmonies and a bit of a folk twist on pop rock.

Singalong action with Jen Tomlin and Melis Welch.

Marco Donato rocks the six strings. He also rocks the eight strings and five strings in The Saltcoats.

Drummer Rob Seaton also fronts the Statues, who played later that night. Here he models the latest in Sedatives wear.

More Marco!

More Melis!

The overhead view!

Jen sings!

And some final singalong action - the group's specialty I'd say.

If memory serves, Ian Manhire said a release on Going Gaga Records was in the works.
  • Show reminder: Reuben DeGroot plays the Elmdale House. Mothers of the Lower East Side perform at Irene's; Dears outcasts Black Diamond Bay and Arietta are at Zaphod's. Joel Martin, The Mark Inside, The Escape Mode, The Termights and Shaun Francisco play Mavericks.