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  1. More photos on Flickr Live recording here It's been 7 months since one of the best local venues in Ottawa for live music, the Elmdale Tavern, changed ownership into the hands of the Whalesbone restaurant. This shift worried a number of local music fans who considered the fact that a restaurant that provides top-notch service might not continue to host live music. Tonight was a great example that proved they have continued the experience of super-talented musicians, that likely would not have found a venue in Ottawa in support of their tour across the border. It was one of those "I'm so fu@king amazed I'm seeing this at the Elmdale Fu@king Tavern" nights. It was on par with Marco Benevento, , and especially ( ). How would one describe the band in order to get folks out? The Elmdale Tavern made a simple post on Facebook today, highlighted by the previous owner, pointing out that a secret last minute booking by a band would be playing this evening. (Alright gang, the cat is out of the bag! Pokey LaFarge is playing TONIGHT. $15 is a small price to pay for the best night of your life.) It was enough to fill the joint, especially after their follow-up post about Pokey on Letterman the week before. The dinner service was finishing as the staff started clearing out tables. There was a birthday girl there who stuck around after her oyster party and walked away with a fantastic live music party that anyone might wish for. There's some captured vids, photos and audio that are integrated in this post since there were a few super fans that brought gear out to document one helluvafuckinevening at the Elmdale Oyster House and Tavern. A set-break debate tonight ended with just branding it the Elmdale Tavern (with Whalesbone Oyster House) This was another band (much like the gig) where the member's all exclaimed how much they loved playing at a tavern filled with super engaged people ready for some whiskey and dancing. Pokey and the band tonight showed off their Gibson's chugging skills. Benevento and the various Slip boys made sure there was lots of Jameson's flowing when they played. The Elmdale Tavern is a unique place in Ottawa that not only continues it's tradition and spirit but has been enhanced by the new Whalesbone owners. Here are a couple of videos from the Elmdale captured by TeamCanada2012 Set 1 Set 2 Update on 2013-07-27 22:53 by bouche Here's another video from a different perspective.
  2. Review by David Barrett Photos by Mike Bouchard Peter Elkas in Ottawa at the NAC - Mar. 16, 2012 More photos by Mike Bouchard on Flickr The Fourth Stage at the NAC is a unique venue in Ottawa- at once intimate and spartan, the stage is barely raised from the floor, placing the artist on an almost equal footing as the audience. To many of the acts that play there, this lends an opportunity to converse fairly freely with the audience and this was obvious from the start on this night, with Peter Elkas working the room well with his disarming smile, perfect teeth and natural, spontaneous stage banter. We learned, for instance, before the show got going how he was born in Montréal and had played in many venues in Ottawa over the years; in fact he listed off each venue, one by one (tally being around 14, for those interested). The series of bands playing at the 4th Stage has been impressive, with someone giving careful consideration to those artists that would take maximum advantage of the room's qualities and this was no exception. “I tune because I care” was something of an ongoing joke and the band even strayed from the setlist to accommodate one or two requests In listening to Peter Elkas you are at once struck with both the feeling of experiencing a unique voice but one that resonates with a certain familiarity. In making a name for him self as an indie-rock songwriter, he has had the opportunity to venture out from well trodden trails and into the fringes, having had on his musical journeys a variety of interesting companions (Ron Sexsmith, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Neko Case, Feist are, for instance, past musical companions to Elkas), each seeming to subtly infuse his style with their own voice. That Elkas is an accomplished songwriter is something of a given; this was evident from the get-go with the release of his reflective, catchy and melodic 2003 debut album, Party of One. His subsequent efforts underscored this as the sophmore Wall of Fire demonstrated a slightly different type of sound in equally accomplished fashion. Elkas's Repeat Offender (released last year) shows how this evolution in styles has showed what I've felt was a Motown sound with rich harmonies shaped into a uniquely Elkasesque sound (occasional heavy and fuzzy guitar licks and short solos and a nice departure from the verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure and the other musicians). Elkas's songwriting centres around good melodies, interesting chord changes and ultimately, solid hooks. A great vocal range and a great command of both electric and acoustic guitars give him a nice little arsenal of talent from which to draw. This was demonstrated in his professional approach to the gig, warming the audience by opening his first of two sets solo, with an acoustic guitar and harmonica. Thus, Sweet Nancy and Sunlight showcased reflective lyrics, pretty melodies and interesting chord changes. They also serve well to show off Elkas's vocal range, falsettos scattered throughout. Burt Neilson Band veterans Jeremy Little and Gavin Maguire then joined the stage and Elkas switched to an electric Epiphone (then to a Fender by the fourth song). He also explained that [our very own] his keyboard player, Jeff Heisholt couldn't make the gig as he was in Texas at the SXSW festival; more on that later. Blue of You from his 2011 album, Repeat Offender, cranked things up a notch with a driving rhythm and a bit of heavy guitar at the song's close. While tables of women in the 20-30 age range lapped up the gentle side of the Elkas songwriting catalog, the more testosterone-laden male bracket seemed to hoot and holler a bit more during and after the heavier numbers. Having three albums of songs to draw from kept the sets interesting and Elkas's influences were given nods with distinct flavours ranging from Motown/Soul through to Beatles sounds as well as Bruce Springsteen songwriting sensibilities. And in keeping with Elkas's easygoing banter we were treated, later in the night, to stories involving his teenage self making a trek to meet his childhood hero, Springsteen, and how it finally came to fruition years later– more on that the CBC website. Little and Maguire kept things tight, and stepped up in making up on some of the harmonizing with the absence of Heisholt. The songlist itself was evidence of thoughtful musings on how to make a set flow and Elkas's efforts paid off well. By the end of the first set the energy had been waxing, and by the time they took to the stage again the audience was palpably ready for more. When a songwriter knows his material inside-out and understands the dynamics of a good musical flow, the results can be insidious– this was such a night, despite the absence of a quarter of the band's sound. The fact that Elkas was comfortable with all of this shone through via more and more banter, back and forth between himself and the audience (“I tune because I care” was something of an ongoing joke and the band even strayed from the setlist to accommodate one or two requests). Anticipation was a great warm up to Cruel Thing to Do, providing the meatier part of the first set and set a certain tone for the songs of scoundrels that rounded out the set. Perhaps not coincidentally, during the string of scoundrel songs Elkas made a request of the audience, “We miss Jeff, can everybody say that?”. The second set opened with Elkas on the Wurlitzer (hoping, as he told us, that he wouldn't make too many mistakes, he didn't, by my reckoning) for 2011's Atlas and merged into a second set that proved to shuffle hooks, change pace and add audience participation (Elkas had the room yelling/singing “Yeeeahhhh” and “Wooooooo” during the effervescent and vaguely My Girl-reminiscent Something Beaming). The hooks abided throughout the rest of the set with Elkas “replacing” Heisholt with a kazoo for (appropriately?) Build a Harmony, and the second set crescendo-ed via Cool Thing to Do, and a very rocking (& rather Blues Brothers-y) Everybody Works. The encore was a nice one-two punch with an acoustic solo version of “How Do You Sleep” and a “tribute” to Springsteen in the form of Only You and concluded with the Beatles-esque Turn Out the Lights, once again featuring Elkas on the Keyboard. While it's somewhat of a truism, the combination of Elkas's professionalism, song crafting and excellent stage presence left all in attendance with the realisation that this is a band that will continue to make itself heard and will continue to entertain and inspire– hope for scoundrels yet. Peter Elkas Mar. 16, 2012 Ottawa, ON - NAC 4th Stage Set I Sweet Nancy Sunlight Blue of You My Well Runs Deeper Anticipation Cruel Thing To Do Repeat Offender Fall Apart Again Party of One Set II Atlas Wall off Fire Goodbye to Dublin Paid Back Something Beaming Build a Harmony Cool Thing Everybody Works Poor Young Things How Do You Sleep Only You Turn out the Lights
  3. Written by: Jay McConnery Photos by: Mike Bouchard Perry Ferrel and Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction at Ottawa Bluesfest 7-16-2011 The final weekend of Bluesfest 2011 delivered a cavalcade of dynamic headlining appearances; Jane's Addiction who left the crowd of late 30-something Lollapaloozers gasping for air as Perry and the fellas smoked through a near-perfect set of their peak era's timelessly bookmarked hits, Blue Rodeo who skillfully delivered true Canadiana more succintly than a syringe of maple syrup injected directly into the sphincters of the stumbly yet appreciative crowd, and the surprise headliner late Sunday afternoon- this crazy bitch known as Mother (Fucking) Nature, who arrived without a moment's notice and left a crowd of 12-day festival 'veterans' soaked, frightened with disbelief and many thankful they were still alive. Surely, anyone reading this has seen the footage, or heard about the freak storm that ended Bluesfest about 4 hours early on Sunday night, but if not, allow me: A few songs into Cheap Trick's mainstage set, at about 7:10pm Sunday, right after a most engaging and rocking rendition of 'I Want you to Want me', some very dark clouds began to blow in from the Quebecoisie North, at a worrying speed. Concert goers (including myself) were busy taking pictures as it rolled in, as it was truly unusually dark and bared down with a hilariously accurate baring. Temperatures had been stifflingly hot all day, and I think we all expected to enjoy a bit of a cool shower together and further the mood of celebration already in place with the amazing lineup of music the night held for us. Standing in the festival plaza, watching Cheap Trick work through the next song, the wind suddenly picked up to an intensity like I have never before witnessed in this city; signs anchored with huge cement blocks began to blow over, the banners along each side of the stage were flapping like loose unmanned sails, dust came up in a huge blinding cloud and all at once the front of house speakers went down. The band had just put their instruments down and began to leave the stage, as it was obviously no longer safe, when I turned to my wife and said- 'We should get into the beer tent, this might be a pretty crazy downpour..' and as we turned that way, the intensity notched up again and the collective confusion and panic of the crowd became tangiable. The wind was whipping in what felt like increasing gusts, and all of a sudden the mouth of the beer tent didn't feel like a safe place to be. The flaps of the tent began to whip ferociously as I pulled my wife forward to ask if we should retreat to the War Museum- when all of a sudden we both turned to witness the MBNA stage teeter, totter and then blow over onto itself and all the production to it's rear. It was literally a huff, a puff and then the titanic sized stage went over like a house of cards. Knowing a little bit about the number of people associated with stage production, the number of family and fans likely watching from the sidelines and the volunteers milling about- I feared the worst. This made the imagery even more awful, and implanted one visual clip that will stick with me forever.. We shared a quick glance of 'Holy Shit!', grabbed hands and ran for the museum parking garage at full tilt. Admittedly, it was handy to have an actual bunker (within a monument designed to look like one) to flee to in this situation. Inside the muggy confines of the parking garage, we stood in disbelief as throngs of fans strolled in, obviously unaware of what had just happened, screaming 'wooo' or 'partee' or just laughing about the soaking. I met one gentleman who seemed concerned, so we shared our experiences and as I described to him what I had seen, and the likelihood that someone may very well be seriously injured, he said- "Joe Satriani will be on the other stage though, right?" Wow, buddy... We kept to ourselves or in company of other friends who might be more aware of what just 'went down' (too soon?), and the implications that it might have for the lives of actual humans. Uncertainty was certainly the most overwhelming reaction, knowing nothing, and being unable, or perhaps incapable of helping. As the storm slowed, we left the bunker to see volunteer staff scurrying about carrying tills full of cash, worried parents scanning the crowd for their children, security freaking out or lazily texting and senior staff shouting that it was all over in an attempt to evacuate the park. We were clumsily directed East, but managed to head out the West exit towards our bikes and were shocked by the damage. Everything without weight was completely blown around, perimeter fences collapsed, tables and chairs all over, some vending stations mutilated, basically just crap strewn everywhere. We walked up to the exit and saw the the remnants of the MBNA stage leaning backwards onto the parkway, surrounded by firetrucks and ambulances. I stood there for a moment trying to imagine how it could've possibly come down like that, and saw a musician I know sitting in the drivers seat of his truck, with his family, probably doing the same. We exchanged a glance and I knew immediately the best place to be was safe at home. The emergency personnel was on the scene, and it was time to let them sort things out- and get out of the way. Biking home through the lightening was nowhere near as scary, even with the power out in our neighbourhood until Monday evening. It was later the next day, with great relief that many of us learned no one was seriously injured through a tweet from the Bluesfest brass. Thank G-O-D! Focusing on the weekend's performers will be difficult for anyone that was there Sunday night, because that was the show of life my friend, and nothing else holds a candle. In so many ways this was such an unfortunate, but somehow fittingly epic end to a monumental, galvanizing, yet very memorable and obviously incredibly well-attended Bluesfest. There were a lot of adjustments this year- many of which resulted in anger or frustration. Some seemed unavoidable the first couple of days, but as the festival went on, there were definitely moments where I had the strange feeling that we were all taking part in a colossal test of basic human intelligence, and many of us were flat-out failing. Although the new layout admittedly presented challenges with seemingly reduced sanitation services and possibly an increased focus on the bottom-line- with every change there was an opportunity to 'beat the line', usually by taking a few extra paces, or by just looking around and using your brain a little. Bottle necks were easily predicted and avoided, beer was easily snuck in (if that's your thing, you skid), , close comfortable vantage points available and often empty at several stages and all concert pitches were easily traversed with only a few real 'lawn chair' moments. Isn't this all we could've ever hoped for? No, the line-up wasn't perfect, and didn't really make sense with the Vegas theme, or at all for that matter- but do you really care? I don't! It was something to discuss, and argue about. I suppose, but the festival once again provided an undeniably incredible amount of entertainment value for ticket holders (especially full pass holders) and a fantastic opportunity to really catch up with friends, spending quality time as only your friend-family can do when given this amazing opportunity to be together everyday for 2 weeks.. What else could ever give us this excuse, as we all slowly morph into boring regulars? Thanks again Bluesfest- I'm already looking forward to next year!
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