• Michael Kaeshammer Fantastic Show @ NAC Theater

    I will start with stating I am not a jazz aficionado and my taste in Jazz music falls into some very narrow categories with Boogie Woogie, New Orleans and Stride Piano being at the top of the list.   When an extremely talented performer comes to town with a great band that can follow all his moves and they deliver all of these along with a very fun and entertaining show, it is guaranteed that I will be left wanting more.  That is exactly what happened last night!

    I have been a fan of his since 2010 when I first heard his album Lovelight and this was the third time I’ve seen him in concert.  As was said at the opening of last nights show, after two sold out appearances at the NAC Fourth Stage, he deserved to play a show in the theatre.  Needless to say, he took full advantage of the opportunity.  I’m still amazed at how his hands dance over the keys and watching them move so fast that they’re just a blur just leaves me sitting there with my jaw on the floor.  And when you think you’ve seen it all he then plays with one hand on the grand piano and the other on the organ that is behind his back!

    In addition to his amazing talent, Michael also delivers a wonderful patter throughout the show that draws the audiences even closer.  This, coupled with the fact that he works without a set list so he can tailor the show to the audience (including an impromptu happy birthday to some of the audience members), turns a great performance into a fantastic show.  Kudos to Michael and his great band for another great show at the NAC.  I can’t wait for their next visit into town.

    Speaking of Jazz, Oliver Jones, a Canadian Jazz Pianist Legend, is making his farewell tour right now and will be playing the NAC on May 19th.  If you love jazz classics and jazz piano, I suggest you make the excursion to see the Oliver Jones Trio before it’s too late.

     


  • Another amazing show by Philip Sayce

    If you are a blues-rock fan, you have likely heard of Philip Sayce.  If you haven’t, I suggest you check out his albums and videos ASAP. I have been a big fan of his since I first saw him at Bluesfest in 2009 and every time I’ve seen him since then, I’ve been absolutely blown away by his incredible guitar wizardry.   Last nights show was no different.  It was a high energy show in a packed Rainbow Bistro that was designed to showcase his songs and his ability to make his guitar sing.  I can only hope that his career can now take off to heights he deserves now that he has the backing of a major label, but I will miss the intimate shows as future concerts will likely need to be held in larger venues. For those who missed last nights show, he’s playing again tonight at The Rainbow Bistro, but I suspect there are not many tickets left for sale!

    Next concert for me is Michael Kaeshammer at the NAC.  Time to put my boogie woogie shows on and enjoy another fun show.

     

     


  • @matt_andersen #Ottawa

    Matt Andersen came to town yesterday with his new release and some local friends and blew the doors off the NAC Southam Hall.  It has been amazing watching Matt grow and progress over the past 6 years.  I first saw him wailing on the guitar at Bluesfest 2010 and have now seen him perform six times – sometimes alone and other times with a full band.  Last night was yet another great show with Matt and his band and it was made even better with special appearances by Steve Mariner (Monkeyjunk) and Steve Hill.  It was certainly a treat to see all these great performers sharing the stage and it was clear everyone was having a ton of fun.

    Opening the night was Donovan Woods who put on a highly entertaining set.  Donovan, who co-wrote two of the songs on Matt’s latest release,  showcased his lyrical abilities as well as hes comedic side.  He was a great act to set the tone for the night.

    Next up for me is Colin James @ the NAC On April 2nd and then back-to-back concerts on April 22 to see Philip Sayce @ The Rainbow and April 23 to see Michael Kaeshammer @ the NAC.

     


  • @WESTFESTInfo #Ottawa

    For those who missed the announcement this week, the lineup for the new WestFest has been released and it’s a good one.  In case you have forgotten, this years version is no longer associated with the Westboro BIA and it has moved to a better location – Laroche Park.  This has given them more freedom to showcase local acts, which is great!  My picks for the festival include The Lionyls, The Split, and Souljazz Orchestra on Saturday night and Tara Holloway, Lemon Cash and Bone on Sunday.  It is certainly shaping up to be another great festival year.

     


  • Ottawa Jazz Festival Picks

    It’s that time of year again.  The snow is melting and Ottawa Jazz Festival has announced another great lineup, which means I’ll be attending back to back festivals for my summer vacation (the other one being Ottawa Blues Fest).  Notable acts that I’ve found so far include Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary Tour, Sarah McLachlan, Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Stacey Kent, Judith Hill, 24th Street Wailers, Mackenzie Rhythm Section, SFJazz Coillective and The Hot Sardines.  Now all we need is some nice hot dry weather from June 22nd to July 17.


  • Steve Hill & April Forrest in #Ottawa

    I am exhausted and content.  I’ve been to two fantastic CD release concerts in the past four days and I enjoyed them both immensely.

    On Friday night Steve Hill took over Shenkman Arts Centre and showed us what an amazing artist he is.  When I saw him at the Kemptville Music Festival last year, I was impressed.  This time I was mesmerized.  Nothing beats being up close in a venue designed for great acoustics and Steve took full advantage of the opportunity.  His new album, Solo Recording Sessions Volume 3 has a great mix of Folk, Blues and Rock and is a great followup to his previous two Solo albums (Volume 2 won a Juno for Blues Album of the Year).

    On Monday night, Angel Forrest was in town with Denis Coulombe and Ricky Paquette to play for Studio Dawg at Greenfields pub and I was lucky enough to receive an opportunity to sit in on this great show thanks to DawgFM.   I’ve loved Angel since the first time I heard her sing and after I saw her perform at Kemptville last year I vowed to see her play whenever she is in town.  Her musical talent is amazing, her voice is fantastic and her performance is thoroughly entertaining.  While she is a great singer who is fortunate to be accompanied by great guitarists Denis Coulombe and Ricky Paquette (keep a watch out for RIcky as he is defiantly an up and coming artist on his own), she is also a performer who enjoys her craft and it shows on stage and really shone through when she was being interviewed by J-Man.

    In short, I saw two amazing performances and picked up two fantastic albums to add to my collection.  I certainly look forward to seeing both artists the next time they return to Ottawa.

    Next up for me will be another great artist – Matt Anderson at the NAC on March 24.


  • Concert Announcements!

    I’m starting to ease back into the concerts after a winter hiatus (I have a very difficult time motivating myself to leave the house on a cold evening).  I did manage to see one good concert a couple weeks ago.  Mudmen, a Canadian Celtic Rock band put on a great show at Shenkman Arts Centre which I really enjoyed as it had been over two months since I had seen a concert!  Up next is Steve Hill with Paul Reddick at Shenkman Arts Centre on March 11, Matt Anderson at NAC on March 24, Colin James at NAC on April 2 and Michael Kaeshammer at NAC on April 23.

    Today was the unveiling of this years Ottawa Bluesfest lineup and it looks really interesting this year (much better than last year).  There are interesting acts listed on almost every single day so I guess I’ll have to buy a pass as I won’t want to miss bands such as Jack De Keyzer, The Paul Deslauries Band, The Peptides, The Wicked Mercy, Amada Rheaume, John Fogerty, Brian Ferry, Billy Idol, Duran Duran, David Gogo, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Joe Jackson, Suits N Toques, Paul James, The Jesse Greene Band and many more!  It should make for a really good Summer Vacation.

    Not to be overlooked are some recent announcements by Rainbow Bistro.  They have two Blusfest After Parties scheduled.  The first on July 9 featuring Kirby Sewell Band and the second one on July 10 featuring Wicked Grin.  They have also booked a return visit by one of my favorite Guitarists, Philip Sayce, on April 22 and 23 so that’s definitely on my list to see.  Other notable acts include Jack De Keyzer scheduled for April 1, Suits N Toques on May 6, JW Jones on May 13 and David Gogo on May 28.

    Another series to check out is the Viree Blues Boreale at Le Petit Chicago. I don’t normally like to go out to bars during the week but I might have to make a couple of exceptions – especially Robin Banks on April 13 and Dawn Tyler Watson on June 8.  For even more great concerts, check out my events page as I try and update it weekly now that festivals are announcing their lineups.

     


  • 2015 Concert Wrapup

    I only managed to see 38 Shows this past year due to budget and time constraints, but the ones I did see were fantastic. Acts included 24th Street Wailers (twice), ABBA Tribute, AC/DC, Amy Helm and the Handsome Gentlemen, Angel Forrest, Autumns Cannon, Barstool Prophets, Bruce Katz (twice), Current Swell, Jack de Keyzer, Joe Gasper Band, JW Jones, Georgette Fry, Molly Johnson, Monkeyjunk (twice), Philip Sayce (twice), Rick Vito, River City Junction, Rocket Rached and Fat City 8, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Silver Creek, Steve Hill, The Cardboard Crowns, The Cat Empire, The Kinsey Report, The Sheepdogs, The Tubes, Tony D, UB40, Van Morrison, Vintage Trouble, Willie Nile, and Toronto Blues Society Women’s Blues Revue

    Notable acts included:

    Living Legends: Van Morrison, Willie Nile

    Blues Favorites Monkeyjunk, Angel Forrest, Jack de Keyzer, Philip Sayce, Ronnie Baker Brooks, 24th Street Wailers

    Classic Rock UB40, Van Morrison, AC/DC, The Tubes, Barstool Prophets

    Jazz Favorites: Molly Johnson

    Local Favorites: Autumns Cannon, Rocket Rached and Fat City 8, JW Jones, River City Junction.

    – Other notables: Vintage Trouble, Amy Helm and the Handsome Gentlemen, The Cat Empire, Sheepdogs, Bruce Katz.

    I’m hoping to continue the trend in the new year and already have tickets for Mudmen, Steve Hill with Paul Reddick, Matt Anderson, Colin James and Michael Kaeshammer and early indications are that Kemptville Live Music Festival is going to have another stellar lineup in 2016.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

     


  • @autumnscannon and @philipsayce at @mavericksbar

    I am not a fan of winter so it takes a special event to motivate me out of the comfort of my home – especially if it’s being held in a bar which means it’s going to be a late night out.  Friday night was one of those special events and will likely be the last concert I see until February next year (Shenkman and NAC have some good acts lined up for Feb/March next year).

    The opening act of the evening was Autumn’s Cannon – a local band who won the live 88.5 Big Money Shot in 2010 and a band I’ve been following for the past 3 years.  I am a fan of rock guitar bands, and with 4 guitars and a drummer, these guys deliver.  Not only that, they showcased some new materiel that I had not heard before.  I was very glad to see them once again and look for to more concerts in the coming year.

    Next up was Philip Sayce, who was the reason I was motivated out of the comfort of my home.  I’ve been a fan of his since I saw him at Bluesfest in 2009. He is a master at playing Blues/Rock guitar and amazes me every time I see him.  I was hooked when I saw him in 2009, I was thrilled when he returned to Bluesfest this year (I had missed his show at The Rainbow earlier this year and was not going to miss another one) and Friday’s show was a real treat.  Just Philip playing guitar and Joel playing bass and I was right new the front to see the show up close. Just watching him play is memorizing as his hands dance over the guitar.  By the end of it, I was in pure bliss and was grinning from ear to ear.  Amazing.  He’s promised to return soon with his full band and I sure hope that’s true because it will be a show I would love to see.


  • @MonkeyJunkBand @RainbowBistro

    I have to admit, I’ve been a fan of Monkeyjunk since I first saw them in 2008 and I’ve now seen them 9 times in concert so one of the Ottawa events that I just couldn’t miss was last nights Monkeyjunk CD Party (and I do mean PARTY). Tony, Steve and Matt were up on stage having fun as was a near capacity crowd at The Rainbow (for the second night in a row). Add in a surprise wedding reception (if you can’t bring Monkeyjunk to your party, you bring your party to them) and some really good new tunes, hot off the press, and you have a recipe for a great night out.

    The set started out with the first songs from their last 3 albums followed by all the tracks from this great new CD. Great guitar hooks, wonderful lyrics, positive vibes and some new sounds (including a reggae beat on Love Attack) prove that Monkeyjunk continues to grow and evolve. I had a fantastic time dancing to each and every song last night and sincerely look forward to seeing them again and again in the future.

    This morning I had the new album on repeat and have been trying to figure out which one would be their “big hit”, but it’s been impossible. My favorite is Show Me Yours, but it’s just barely ahead of Light It Up, You, Hot Hot Papa, Love Attack and Lucky One (and the others aren’t much further behind those). A great solid album from a great trio. Bravo Guys!