• #Ottawa Concert Weekend @JackdeKeyzer @BarstulProphets

    At long last I finally managed to venture out of the house into the cold of winter.  It’s been two and a half months since I saw some live music and I was way overdue.  Thankfully the weather cooperated and was a more reasonable -15c, which means I had no excuse for staying home and there was a great choice of acts to see this weekend.

    First up was Juno Award winning Jack de Keyzer at The Rainbow Bistro on Friday.  I’ve been anticipating this show ever since I first heard his cover of All Along The Watchtower on DawgFM and he did not disappoint.  If you like rockin blues with a mix of funk and boggie woogie, you can’t miss seeing him live and you certainly should pick up a copy of his latest album Voodoo Boogie.  I danced to every single song and thoroughly enjoyed the evening.  I certainly look forward to seeing him again at a future show.

    Saturday was the Barstool Prophets playing a sold out show at Shenkman Arts Centre in celebration of  the 20th anniversary of their successful album Crank (which I’ve been listening to all morning).  Yes, it’s been 20 years, but they’ve still got it and were clearly having fun playing the show.  I love the power rock chords with the two guitars, bass and drums and the extra depth from percussion, keys and cello on key songs made it an even better experience.  I am very glad I was able to take part in this fantastic experience and I sure hope the hint they dropped at the end of the show about some upcoming festival dates will include a stop in Ottawa.

    Next up will be Juno Nominated 24th Street Wailers on Saturday at The Rainbow Bistro.

  • Yay for Live Music!

    It’s time to end my winter slumber and head out to see some of the great acts that are playing over the coming weeks.  Before that, I have to note how saddened I was to hear of David Maxwell’s passing.  He’s been a fixture in the Blues scene and a performer at Ottawa Blues Fest for what seems like forever.  He will truly be missed.

    Here is my plan to end the Winter Blahs (subject to change as always):

    Friday Feb 27 – Jack de Keyzer at the Rainbow Bistro

    Saturday Feb 28 – Barstool Prophets at the Shenkman Arts Centre

    Saturday March 7 – Juno Nominated 24th Street Wailers at the Rainbow Bistro

    Thursday March 12 – Phiilip Sayce CD Release at the Rainbow Bistro

    Saturday Aprul 4 – Mokeyjunk at the Rainbow Bistro

    Tuesday, April 13 – The Cat Empire at Algonquin Commons Theatre

    Saturday May 16 – JW-Jones at the Rainbow Bistro.

    If that’s not enough there are a lot of other great acts coming to town, so check out the latest listings which include Viree Blues shows at le Petit Chicago every second Wednesday and lots more great shows in the Ottawa area.

  • #Ottawa Concert News

    Happy (belated) new year everyone!  We’re now at that special time of year where it’s too cold out for me to motivate myself into a night of live music so my posts will be mainly focused on recent event announcements.  This time there is some bad news and some good news.

    The bad news is Nikki Yanofsky has cancelled a number of her tour dates, including her January stop in Ottawa.  I sure hope she can reschedule soon as I was really looking forward to see her again.

    The good news includes the recent announcement of the 27th Annual Ottawa Rythm & Blues festival at Irenes on Jan 30 & 31. The excellent lineup includes performances by The Maria Hawkins Band, The Jesse Greene Band, a Honkin Blues Jam including Rocket Rached & The Fat City 8, Tony D, Drew Nelson and many more.

    On another event note, the newly created Neat in the Woods that is being held in Burnstown on Sep 25-27th is starting to release their lineup.  So far Bright Light Social Hour have been confirmed on Friday, September 25th at 7pm,  Monkeyjunk is playing on Saturday Sept 26th at 7pm and Blackie and the Rodeo Kings are playing Sunday Sept 27th at 8pm.  I also noticed they will be running shuttles to/from Ottawa so you can attend the shows without fighting traffic and searching for parking.

  • 2014 Concert Wrapup

    2014 was quite the eventful year where I managed to see a record 85 concert sets and 10 festivals. While the list of great shows is far too long to review, I can certainly highlight some of the performances in different categories:

    – Living Legends: Aretha Franklin, John Mayall and Charlie Musselwhite.

    – Blues Favorites Beth Hart, Buddy Guy, Colin James, Gary Clark Jr., JJ Grey & Mofro, Matt Anderson, Tedeschi Trucks, and Monkeyjunk.

    – Classic Rock Bucket List: Blondie, Blues Traveler, Fleetwood Mac, Powder Blues, Procol Harum and Randy Bachman.

    – Jazz Favorites: Hot Sardines, Emilie-Claire Barlow, Michael Kaeshammer and Oliver Jones.

    – Local Favorites: Cardboard Crowns, Tympanic, Peptides, Wicked Grin, Les Mosquitoes and Jesse Greene

    – Other notables: Jarvis Church, Joss Stone, Jully Black, Lee Fields, Marie-Mai, Vintage Trouble

    I’m sure 2015 will be just as interesting as I’m planning on attending many festivals and concerts and am already looking forward to seeing Nikky Yanofski, Barstool Prophets and Jack de Keyzer.

    Happy New Year everyone!

  • Hot Sardines Review @shenkmanarts

    There’s nothing like some hot dirty jazz on a snowy winter evening and The Hot Sardines certainly delivered!   I love the energetic Jazz of the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s  era. Stride Piano, check.  Lively horns, check. Sultry songstress who sings in French and English, double check.  Musical arrangements that fuse musical influences from New York, Paris, and New Orleans, CHECK. Ukulele playing tap dancer, wait what?  Oh, yes, the taps through each song add another great dimension to the ensemble and bring back the feel of the roaring 20’s, check. All together they make a great ensemble and their fantastic set was over far too soon.  Would I see them again?  ABSOLUTELY.  I sure hope they return to town soon!

  • Jarvis Church Review @JarvisChurch @shenkmanarts #Ottawa

    Last night Jarvis Church was in town to put some soul into the Shenkman Arts Centre, and he certainly delivered.  I have said this before and will repeat it often, I love it when a performer puts their heart and soul into a show, and Jarvis is no exception as he pours his entire being into each and every song with assistance from a fantastic band and excellent backup vocals.  The first 40 minutes of the show focused on his most recent album, The Soul Station, Songs of Sam Cooke and was a very fitting tribute to The King of Soul. After the break, Jarvis and the band played good a mix of Jarvis Church and Philosopher Kings songs to keep his long time fans happy.  He also gave us a taste of the next album that will be a tribute to Curtis Mayfield (I can’t wait for the album) as well as a rendition of Smokey Robinson’s Tracks of My Tears (perhaps that will be a future tribute album).  Alas, the end came far too soon, and it was time for the encore party which finished with half the audience dancing on the stage. A great show and one I would highly recommend .

  • The Jesse Green Band #Ottawa @RoosterAtomic

    On the spur of the moment, I decided to check out the current incarnation of The Jesse Greene Band playing in the afternoon at Atomic Rooster and I was not disappointed.  I haven’t seen the band play for almost 3 years so it was a treat to see them once again.  Especially now that Jesse has a new bass player, a new drummer and some new, slow, smokey, blues songs to go along with the selection that is available on her EP.  I only wish I had planned to stay for her entire performance, but alas, I had to leave at the end of the first set.  I will definitely be seeing her perform again!

    On another note, this is the second time I’ve caught an afternoon show at Atomic Rooster and I really appreciate their support of the local Arts and Music scene. I also appreciate Saturday afternoon shows as the late night bar scene is far too disruptive to my schedule.  It was great seeing a really good turnout for the show, proving you can do something a little bit different and succeed. I will have to do this more often and since there are some good options coming up with Sweet and the Backbeat next Saturday and Firebelly the last Saturday of November, it will be soon.


  • Powder Blues #Ottawa

    Seeing the Powder Blues on November 2nd was a blast from the past for me. I’ve been a fan of the Powder Blues Band since their first album, Uncut, was released in 1980, yet I have never seen them live. As soon as I heard that they were playing Centrepointe Theatre this year, it was obvious I was going to finally make up for this omission and see them live in concert – it only took me 34 years to get around to doing so. All I can say is that it was worth the extended wait! Tom Lavin may be 64 years old, but it certainly does not show when he’s playing the guitar. Add in an extremely talented keyboard player whose hands moved so fast they were a blur, great horns and a rock solid rhythm section and you have the ingredients for a great show from a great band with really good stage presence. I especially loved the stories that Tom told throughout the evening to lead into the songs – it’s an added depth to the music that I love. It was also great to see Tom and the band having so much fun on the stage. In his own words, he wasn’t there because he had to, he was there because he loves playing the blues. Alas, after an hour and three quarters, it was 11pm and time to reluctantly end the set with a single encore. A great show by a great band and one that I would love to see again.

  • Fleetwood Mac #Ottawa

    I will admit it, I am a big fan of Fleetwood Mac.  The first album I ever owned was Rumours and I played it constantly so I knew the words to almost all of the songs played last night. I saw them perform when they cam to Ottawa in 2009 and I also saw Lindsay Buckingham at Folkfest in 2012, but last night was special with the return of Christie McVie after a 17 year absence.  I’m not going to do an in depth review as you can read all about it in the Ottawa Sun and Ottawa Citizen and the setlist is pretty easy to track down as well.  What I will say is that Lindsey Buckingham continues to be a very impressive guitar force and was the clear leader of the show last night, playing his heart out and working his way around the stage while the others stayed near their designated spots. Of course, the highlight was having Christie back in the fold, and playing Songbird as the second encore was a perfect way to end a two and a half hour trip down memory lane.

    Next up is The Powder Blues on Saturday night!

  • Randy Bachman #Ottawa

    They say the Show Must Go On, and so it did last night despite the tragic events earlier in the day.  Randy Bachman was in town on his Vinyl Tap tour and he was in fine form.  I always appreciate a show that includes the back stories behind the bands and the songs, and this tour was designed to do just that.  From the days with Chad Allen and the Expressions through the days with the Guess Who (and how they ended up with that name) through to BTO, each song was preceded by a highly entertaining and at times, very amusing, story.  In the end it was a perfect counterpoint to the days events and a nostalgic show that’s not to be missed.

    I’m now looking forward to my next event – Fleetwood Mac on Sunday and then Powder Blues on November 1st!