• The Sheepdogs @ DragonBoat Festival

    It has been a couple of years since I’ve been to Ottawa DragonBoat Festival to see a free concert and it’s been two years since I’ve seen The Sheepdogs so it when I heard that they were headlining the Thursday show, I knew it was time for me to make a return visit.

    Upon arrival at the Festival, I noticed a big change. In the past, they had a separation between the stage/bar area and all the other activities, including the food vendors. Not only was it a challenge to run out to grab some food (as you had to pass through the security check again to return to the stage area), it also became quite crowded during the headlining shows. I was glad to see this is no longer the case and that the entire festival area is now open for people to wander from place to place without having to pass through security checks.

    One thing that hasn’t changed is the choice of some great headlining acts for their free shows and The Sheepdogs did not disappoint. This is the fourth time I’ve seen them play their brand of good old Rock and Roll and they were just as much fun to watch as they were the first time I saw them at FolkFest in 2013. Last night was a great party and a fantastic kickoff to the next four weeks of music festival bliss.

     


  • June Festival Picks

    I can’t believe that peak music festival season (for me) is almost here!  This year I plan on attending Dragon Boat Festival, Jazz Festival, RCMP Sunset Ceremony, Bluesfest and Kemptville Live before taking a break until CityFolk in September.

    I’ll be starting out with Dragon Boat Festival on Thursday as I cannot resist an opportunity to see The Sheepdogs play a free show.  Friday (weather permitting) I plan to check out the RCMP Sunset Ceremony, which includes their famous Musical Ride.  The rest of June I will be attending shows at Jazz Festival as they have some great acts lined up including Kenny Rogers, Joss Stone, Mavis Staples, Maceo Parker & The Ray Charles Orchestra, The Peptides, Caravan Palace, Rory Block, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, The Downchild Blues Band, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Blue Moon Marquee and Groenland (the last 2 are free Canada Day shows).

    Happy Festival Season Everyone!


  • Saturday at #Westfest2017

    I must say the team at Westfest put together an amazing day yesterday and with some cooperation of the weather it turned out to be another great Party in the Park. I saw 8 great Ottawa area bands over the course of 9 hours, many who were already on my “Must See” list and others who have now been added. My day started off with sets by Jezebel, Fernando Scatozza Band and Lucas Haneman Express. Then it was kicked up a notch with fantastic sets by The Clint Everson Band and Lyle Odjick & The Northern Steam – both who are now on my watch list for upcoming shows and judging by yesterday’s performance, the upcoming CD from and Lyle Odjick & The Northern Steam should be amazing. As expected, the evening was non-stop fun with the Jesse Greene Band, River City Junction and MonkeyJunk – all who have been on my watch list for many years as they all put on great shows. This was a great way to kickoff to this years Summer Festival season.

    I’m going to take the next couple of weeks to rest up as I plan to attend a lot of different festivals starting at the end of June including DragonBoat Festival, Jazz Festival, Canada Day, BluesFest and Kemptville Live Festival. I only hope our weather improves as it has been far too damp and cool so far.


  • Rebecca Noelle + The Commotions

    Yet another great concert last night! Thanks go to FOLKRUM.COM and Greenfields’s Gastro Public House for putting together the sold-out show. The evening started with the big Funk/Soul sounds of The Commotions (which include Rebecca Noelle on many songs) and then finished with the soaring Soul vocals and captivating stage presence of Rebecca Noelle and her fantastic band. If you like Soul and great vocals, be sure to catch her next Ottawa show (hint, she’s playing NAC Fourth Stage as part of NAC Presents on December 8, 2017) as .
    The next show on my list is Paul DesLauriers at The Rainbow Bistro on May 26 and I know it’s going to be a good one.

  • Chris Antonic & The Jesse Greene Band

    I must say that was a great weekend to kick off my retirement!  Chris Antonik’s new CD sounds fantastic and his show at The Rainbow Bistro on Saturday was another great opportunity for me to put on my dancing shoes and have a great time.   To top it all off was Sunday’s show at Atomic Rooster by The Jesse Greene Band – a band I can always trust to put on a ripping performance and they did not disappoint.  I look forward the next time I’m able to see both bands play live (The Jesse Greene Band plays Westfest on June 3rd, so I’ll be seeing them again soon).

    Once I recover from the weekend, I’m going to have to decide if I want to repeat the Rainbow/Atomic Rooster combo again next weekend with Destiny playing the Rainbow on Saturday and The Rod Williams Band playing Atomic Rooster on Sunday.


  • Barstool Prophets at Barrymore’s!

    It’s been a little over two years since the Barstool Prophets blew me a away at their 20th Anniversary show for their album Crank, so when I heard that they were playing Ottawa on my first weekend Post Semi-Retirement, I knew I had to be there.  The fact that they were playing at the storied Barrymore’s Music Hall was a huge bonus (seriously, 90’s Rock band + Barrymore’s – How could I say no?).

    So what can I say about the show?  It was a fantastic kickoff party to my Semi-Retirement!  The room was packed and the band was on fire.  What more could I ask for?  They played a great selection of songs from their albums including a lot of material from Crank.  Would I see them again?  Absolutely!

    Now I just have to recover so I can head over to The Rainbow Bistro tonight for Chris Antonik’s CD Release party, which should be another great party.


  • Boogie Patrol On Fire

    For the second week in the row I spent my Saturday evening at the Rainbow.  This time it was to see Boogie Patrol, who hail from Edmonton.  Despite the lower than usual attendance (likely because of the Easter weekend and Ottawa/Toronto playoff hockey games), the band brought their A game and put on a show for those of us who were able to join in the party.  With a great mix of Blues, Soul and Boogie, I spent most of my time bouncing around the dance floor with a big grin on my face.  They are now on my must see list so I hope it’s not too long before they make the long journey back to Ottawa.

     

     


  • Jack de Keyzer and a Real Good Time.

    I went to The Rainbow Bistro last night to see Jack de Keyzer and I had a Real Good Time (naturally).  With the spring weather and my impending semi-retirement, it’s time for me to get out of the house and see some seriously fantastic live music.  Last night was the perfect way to kick things off.  By the end of the second song I was hooked and spent the rest of the set dancing to the great Blues Rock from Jack and the band.  This wasn’t the first time I had seen him play, and I’m certain it won’t be the last as it’s always a great show.

    As I’ve said before, there are some great acts in town over the next few months and I plan to see quite a few of them.  I’m definitely going to check out Boogie Patrol @ The Rainbow next Saturday, followed by Barstool Prophets at Barrymores on April 21, Chris Antonik CD Release on April 22 @ The Rainbow and Jesse Greene @ Atomic Rooster on April 23.


  • Concert Season

    The veil of winter is finally starting to lift, which means it is time to start thinking about some great concerts, festivals and 2017 Canada 150 events that are happening this year.

    I did manage to catch three great bands earlier this year.  Tia Brazda returned to Ottawa after a 4 year absence to play winter Jazzfest in February and she put on a great show at the new La Nouvelle Scène Theatre.  Later in February Shenkman Arts Centre played hosts to a double-bill – The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer followed by MonkeyJunk.  Needless to say I was blown away by both and I really appreciated the preview of the new Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer songs that are on their new album Apocalipstick, which is being released next week.  In fact, I’ve been listening to the new album on CBC Music for the past three days and I can’t wait to buy the album.

    As usual, Rainbow Bistro has some really good acts scheduled for the next few months, including The Tony D Band, JW-Jones, JunoFest, Jack de Keyzer, MonkeyJunk, Chris Antonik, Paul Reddick, Lucas Haneman Express and many others.  Viree Blues is back at le Petit Chicago with more great shows including Ria Reece Band, Guy Belanger, Karen Lovely Band, Keven Marks Blues Band, The Ramblers & Carl Tremblay and closing out with MonkyJunk.  We’ve also seen some great announcements from Westfest, Bluesfest and Kemptville Live Music Festival and I plan to attend all three again this year.  I’m also hoping to see some good things from JazzFest when they make their announcement next Wednesday.  From what I’ve seen so far, it looks like I will have a lot of live music events look forward after I retire this spring.

    On my must see list for the next two months is Jack de Keyzer on April 8, Guy Belanger on April 12, Barstool Prophets on April 21, Wicked Grin on April 22 and Bonnie Raitt on June  1st.

     


  • 2016 Concert Wrapup

    It was a pretty good year for local festivals and I had the opportunity to enjoy many acts at Westest, Jazz Festival, Bluesfest and Kemptville Live festival in addition to some excellent shows at The Rainbow Bistro, NAC, Centrepointe and Shenkman Arts Centre. In total, I managed to see 53 acts, which is my third best year ever.

    This years acts included 24th Street Wailers, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Amanda Rheaume, Angel Forrest, Billy Idol, Boxcar Boys, Brian Wilson, Burton Cummings, Carson Downey Band, Colin James, David Gogo, Donovan Woods, Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite, Five Man Electrical Band, Ginkoa, Harrison Sweettaste Kennedy, Ian Segal, Jack Broadbent, Jesse Greene band, John Fogerty, John Primer, Kenny Blues Boss Wayne, Kirby Sewell Band, leMeow, Matt Andersen, Michael Kaeshammer, Monkeyjunk, Mudmen, No BS Brass Band, Patrick Roy, Paul James, Paul Reddick, Philip Sayce, Powder Blues Band, Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar, Sarah McLauchlan, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, Shawn Hold and the Teardrops, SoulJazz Orchestra, Steve Hill, Suits ‘N Toques, The Drew Nelson Band, The Hot Sardines, The Lionels, The Lucas Haneman Express, The Mackenzie Rhythm Section, The Paul Deslauriers Band, The Peptides, The Powergoats, The Split and The Wicked Mercy.

    Notable acts included:

    Living Legends: Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite

    Blues Favorites Monkeyjunk, Angel Forrest, Philip Sayce, Colin James, Powder Blues Band, Steve Hill

    Classic Rock Billy Idol, Brian Wilson, Burton Cummings, Five Man Electrical Band, John Fogerty

    Jazz Favorites: The Hot Sardines, Michael Kaeshammer

    Local Favorites: Jesse Greene Band, The Peptides, The Split, The Wicked Mercy, Suits ‘N Toques

    Other notables: Sarah McLauchlan, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, Ginkoa, Matt Andersen, 24th Street Wailers

    I must mention the sadness I felt when I heard the news that Sharon Jones had lost her battle to cancer this year. She put on an amazing show at Ottawa Jazz Festival this year even though she was still undergoing chemo treatments. Her passing is one of many great artists that we lost this year.

    2017 is going to be a special year for me. In addition to attending as many festivals as I can, as well as shows at The Rainbow Bistro, Irenes, Atomic Rooster, NAC, Shenkman and Centrepointe (to name a few), I also plan on taking in many of the special Canada 150 events that are being held in the Ottawa area this year. Since I will no longer be working full time after I retire in the spring, I’ll have a lot more time to enjoy a lot more festivities and concerts than in previous years. I already have tickets to see Tia Brazdam, Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer and Monkeyjunk and both the Grassroots Festival and Kemptville Live Festival are showing some really promising lineups. I’m hoping that the other festivals will follow last years successes with some great acts this year.

    Happy New Year everyone!