• 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!

  • More Events Added

    It seems I have been lazy lately and have missed a bunch of upcoming concerts.  The following have been added to the events pages – I just wish I could attend them all!

    Oct 21 – Paper Lions @ Neat Coffe Shop
    Oct 23 – Babes4Breasts @ Southminster United Church
    Oct 23 – The Trews @ Mavericks
    Oct 24 – The Trews @ Mavericks
    Oct 24 – Paper Lions @ Zaphods
    Oct 26 – Sarah Smith @ Poutinefest Noon show
    Oct 29 – Angel Forrest & Jean Millaire @ Le Petit Chicago
    Oct 31 – Monkeyjunk @ Blacksheep Inn
    Nov 1 – Monkeyjunk @ Blacksheep Inn
    Nov 7 – Jully Black @ Neat Coffee Shop
    Nov 11 – Riot & The Blues Devils, Ben Racine Band @ Le Petit Chicago
    Nov 15 – Amos the Transparant @ Neat Coffee Shop
    Nov 19 – OBS Fall Fundraiser @ Irenes
    Nov 26 – Michael Kaeshammer @ Neat Coffee Shop
    Nov 26 – Dan Livingstone, The Griffintown Jug Addicts & David Gogo @ Le Petit Chicago
    Nov 28 – Jarvis Church @ Neat Coffee Shop
    Dec 5 – Monkeyjunk @ Neat Coffee Shop
    Dec 6 – Monkeyjunk @ Neat Coffee Shop
    Dec 10 – Guy Bélanger, Adam Karch @ Le Petit Chicago
    Dec 10 – Skydiggers @ Neat Coffee Shop
    Dec 19 – Wicked Mercy @ Blacksheep Inn
    Dec 20 – Arrogant Worms @ Neat Coffee Shop
    Mar 28/15 – Arrogant Worms @ Shenkman

  • 2015 Rock, Jazz and Blues Concerts #Ottawa

    It looks like the new year is going to get off to a good start.  This week I received notice that Nikki Yanofsky will be playing Algonquin Commons Theatre on January 22, Big Sugar will be playing an acoustic show at Shenkman Arts Centre on January 30 and Barstool Prophets will be playing Shenkman Arts Centre on February 28. That’s in addtion to the Firebelly show Cabaret La Basoche in Gatineau on January 30 and Bryan Adams playing Canadian Tire Centre on February 20 and I’m sure more shows will be announced in the coming weeks.

  • Steve Strongman, Guy Belanger & Monkeyjunk #Ottawa

    When I heard that Monkeyjunk, Steve Strongman and Guy Belanger were going to play a show at the Museum of History I was ecstatic.  I have been a Monkeyjunk fan since 2008 and had yet to see them this year. I have also been watching for upcoming shows by Guy Belanger and Steve Strongman and to have them all together in the Museum theater was exceptional.

    Going in, I had no preconceptions about what to expect (this was the third show the three had done together), so when I saw the stage setup, I was intrigued. Two sets of drums, to sets of guitars, extra microphones.  The logical mind says this was setup to make the change over easier. The creative mind thinks maybe we’re in for a special treat.

    The show started off with 25 minutes of just Steve Strongman at which point he was joined by Guy Belanger for the remainder of the set.  And a great set it was.  Guy’s haunting and animated harmonica playing complemented Steve’s guitar and singing nicely.  That alone, was worth the price of admission.

    Next up was Monkeyjunk for their headlining set. And a great set it was.  I love the fact that Tony got to take the spotlight more often with some blistering and extended guitar solos and Matt even had a chance to show his drumming talents in a great solo.  By the end of the set the crowd was on their feet dancing away to the band jamming on stage. And then, far too quickly, it was over.

    Or was it?  Of course not, it was time for a 20 minute encore, only this time with a twist.  Steve Mariner came out first and started riffing on the harmonica.  He was then joined by Steve Strongman playing his harmonica, at which point you knew it was going to be a very special encore.  Naturally, Guy Belanger joined them and then Tony, Matt and the rest of Steve Strongman’s band.  Both Steve’s then switched to their guitars so we had 4 guitars, 2 drummers and one fantastic harmonica player. I was completely blown away, as was the audience who stayed on their feet for the entire encore.  By far, the best Monkeyjunk show I have seen.  Bravo to everyone who put this amazing show together.

    Next up for me is Randy Bachman on October 22 and Fleetwood Mac on October 26, although I may catch other shows before then (there are lots to choose from right now).

  • Sabrina Weeks #Ottawa

    Yesterday I finally had the chance to catch two sets by Sabrina Weeks and Mike Hilliard playing at Atomic Rooster and I was not disappointed. Sabrina has a fantastic and powerful voice and she used it to full effect on a range of music that included her own songs as well as blues standards such as Big Mama’s Hound dog.  With all the musical choices yesterday (JW-Jones had his CD release party at the Rainbow and Emilie-Claire Barlow was playing Centrepoint with the TSO), I’m glad I chose to see Sabrina. A dose of Blues and Swing definitely brought me out of my funk and was well appreciated and our chat in between the first two sets provoved that she’s not just a great performer, she is also a great person.  Hopefully she’ll make it back to Ottawa next summer during her annual tour.

    Next up for me will be Guy Belanger, Steve Strongman and Monkeyjunk at the Museum of History next Saturday, October 4.

  • Ribtober #Ottawa

    Thanks to the amazing late September weather, I managed to visit the fall version of Sparks Street Ribfest twice this year.  I’m sure the great weather played a key role in the large crowds who flocked to Sparks street once again. I love to see this pedestrian mall put to good use.

    Friday I had some delicious ribs from Billy Bones. They were done to perfection and matched with a nice tasty sauce.  I will definitely be keeping them in mind for next years events (will need to compare them with my favorite from this summer’s festival, Boss Hogs).  Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the ribs I had on Saturday from Gator BBQ.  The ribs were salty and the sauce was weak which was very disappointing.

    Next up for Sparks Street is Poutine Fest October 24-26.

  • More Blues

    Thanks to a DawgFM facebook post, I have just discovered a hidden treasure trove of Blues concerts being held in Gatineau over the next 6 months and as a result have added a number of new concerts to the listing including:

    Monkeyjunk, Guy Belanger and Steve Strongman on Oct 4

    Adam Karch on Oct 31

    Firebelly on Jan 30

    Ben Racine and Dawn Tyler Watson on March 27 and 28

    Shane Dwight on April 10

    JW Jones on April 25

    Paul Deslaurier on May 29

    Steve Strongman on May 30

  • Ottawa Folk Festival Day 5 – #Ottawa

    The sun came out on the closing day of Ottawa Folk Festival and for a short while, kept the crowd nice and warm for a change. I skipped day 4 due to the cold, wet weather and the fact that there were no “must see” acts for me that day.  The site was clearly worse for the wear due to all the rain on Saturday and I felt sorry for those who had to navigate the mud puddles without boots on (I actually wore my winter boots to keep my feet warm and dry and 4 layers of tops/jackets to keep the rest of me warm).

    Sunday started off with a rousing set by The Cardboard Crowns. They have a ska/reggae/punk beat but it’s accessible and fun for us “older” folk too (they would have fit right in at this years A-Vibe festival). From there it was off catch a sample of the Reggae beats from Messangah and then over to the Beer tent to see Spencer Scharf play the Blues. From there I made my way over to catch the last half of the sweet soulful sounds of Bobbi Bazini at the Hill stage. Next up was the country-rock sounds of The Bros. Landreth and then back over to the paid section of the festival to see a show I’ve been eagerly anticipating since the original festival lineup was announced.

    Joss Stone. How do I describe such an amazing performer? If you like Soul music, you’ll love Joss Stone. For me, this was *THE* concert of the year and I saw a lot of outstanding acts this year (Aretha Franklin, Tedeschi Trucks and Beth Hart to name a few). I really have to thank the Ottawa Folk organizers for this she only made 2 stops in Canada for this tour, and Ottawa was one of them. In addition to her amazing voice, Joss has an relaxed command on the stage and a wonderful rapport with the fans. At times it felt like we were friends sitting around the kitchen table having a cup of tea. Clearly she’s having fun and it helped draw us all together as she sang.

    To close out the night, it was back to the Beer tent to catch the Mellotones play their Funky music (a good place to be considering the dropping temperature as the tent was at least 5 degrees warmer than the outdoor festival stages). This was the other act I was eagerly awaiting as I saw them play with Matt Anderson earlier in the year and was looking forward to hear them play their own music. A very tight set that had people on their feet dancing to the funk from the start and a great way to close out the 2014 festival season.

    Next up for me are indoor concerts including Sabrina Weeks on Sept 27 (possibly followed by JW Jones CD release later in the evening), Randy Bachman on Oct 22, Fleetwood Mac on Oct 26, Powder Blues on Nov 1 and Jarvis Church on Nov 27.  I’m also hoping to catch some of the great Blues acts that the Rainbow is bringing in for their 25th Anniversary over the next 3 months.

  • Folkfest Days 2 & 3

    The weather certainly has not been kind to this years Ottawa Folk Festival.  After enduring the opening day rain for most of the Blues Traveler set, I called it a night and came home.  On the second night there were only light sprinkles, but the chilly temperature and strong winds forced me to abandon the site after seeing a good set by Dear Rouge.  Last night there was no wind, so despite the chilly temperature, I was able to stay the entire evening and enjoy a wide range of excellent talent.

    The night started off with the Soulful sounds of Lee Fields and the Expressions.  It’s hard to believe his first album was released well over 40 years ago!  A wonderful performance and a great start to the night.  Next up was COIG – an ensemble made up of five Celtic artists from Cape Breton.  They turned out to be a great act to warm up the kitchen party in the Beer tent.  From there, it was over to the Hill stage to see The PepTides for the second time this year.  Despite performing on a very tight stage, this managed to pull off a great theatrical musical performance once again. To close out the night I caught the end of a very energetic and highly entertaining set by Chrissy Crowley (who is also part of COIG). My only regret is I did not see the entire act, but was captivated by the extended PetTides set.  A great night out indeed!

    Helpful hints for the festival:
    1) dress warm (I had 4 layers of clothes on last night),
    2) the best place to warm up is the Beer tent; especially when a band like Crissy Crowley is playing,
    3) on days like today, where it is cold and wet, dress warm and bring rain gear (dollar store sells good ponchos for $2).
    4) there are lots of excellent free shows at the Beer tent and Hill stage for those who can’t afford a pass.  Free acts this weekend include Wicked Mercy, Parsonsfield, The Mellotones, The Stubmbellas, Spencer Scharf, The Bros. Landreth, Matt Guitar Murphy and many more.

    Happy Festival Everyone!

  • Blues Traveler #Ottawa

    I have been a fan of Blues Traveler since the release of their album Four in 1994.  As a result, it should come as no surprise that I was excited when their visit to Ottawa Folk Festival was announced this year.  Last night they kicked off this years festival with a great jam session that showcased their talents and their wide range of musical styles, much to my delight and the enjoyment of the crowd.  One thing for certain, is after 27 years they can still deliver a blistering performance.  A wonderful way to start the last big festival of the season!