Ten great Ottawa Bluesfest sets: #4 Rich Aucoin – Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

(This year’s edition of Ottawa Bluesfest has been cancelled, for obvious reasons. In previous years, especially on my old blog, I would share photos and thoughts on some of the live music I was enjoying at the festival throughout the duration. So for the next week and a half, I thought I’d share ten great sets, out of the many I’ve witnessed over the years, one for each day on which music would have be performed. Enjoy.)

Rich Aucoin live at Bluesfest 2012

Artist: Rich Aucoin
When: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Where: Electro Stage at 9:00pm
Context: If you’re ever in the mood for a party, I would definitely recommend seeing Rich Aucoin.

I wasn’t sure what to think while watching him set up the stage beforehand because I had never heard anything about his live shows. His debut album, “We’re all dying to live”, was released the previous year and was so big and bombastic but it looked, based on the set up, like there would only be two people performing. I really didn’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t the all out party that unfolded once things got going.

First, Rich Aucoin came out on stage by himself to thank everyone for coming and then, explained how all of his songs were all meant to be performed against images from “old” movies (some weren’t that old). Hence, the large screen behind him and then, the other two performers, a drummer and a bass player, came out to join him. He started off with a vocal warm up to the 20th Century Fox jingle and encouraged the crowd to join in. In fact, audience participation was practically mandatory throughout. He put up the lyrics of the chorus to each song before performing and ran through them a couple of times to ensure everyone knew the words. He jumped into the crowd to dance with his fans at every opportunity, leaving his band and his keyboards to do the work. At one point, he brought out a parachute and asked the audience to make room so that they could play a game reminiscent of elementary school playgrounds.

Rich Aucoin had the crowd in a dancing frenzy all the way through. The crowd was just as much a part of the performance as those on stage. He finished his uplifting set with “It”, as I figured he would, and then put his personal cell phone number up on the screen for audience members to text him so that he could send them his music. What a wild ride.

‘Congrats on being alive’
‘We’re all dying to live’
‘Ottawa is awesome’s capital’
Rich’s brother, Paul Aucoin on bass
Joel Waddell on the drums
Rich Aucoin dancing the crowd

Setlist: (unfortunately, not available)

Vinyl love: I Break Horses “Warnings”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: I Break Horses
Album Title: Warnings
Year released: 2020
Details: double LP, clear vinyl, gatefold sleeve

The skinny: I first came across the name I Break Horses back in 2011 and fell for the then-duo’s shoegaze-influenced debut album, “Hearts”. Then, I went to see them as the opening band on M83’s North American tour the following spring. And I Break Horses put on a blistering set, all but showing up the headliners. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as sold on their sophomore release, 2014’s “Chiascuro”, and after that, things were quiet for many years. When I heard tell that Maria Lindén was putting out a new album this year under the I Break Horses moniker, I was cautiously optimistic. When it was released, I gave it a spin on Spotify. I wasn’t even finished one go around (perhaps not even through the opening track featured below) before I was on the Bella Union website ordering this clear vinyl pressing. Yep. So far, “Warnings” is definitely one of my favourite albums of the year.

Standout track: “Turn”

Playlist: New tunes from 2020, part one

I can hardly believe that we’re already a third of the way through 2020 and at the same time, with everything going on, I find myself wondering how it’s only the end of April. Indeed, the picture above was taken at the end of February, a mere couple of weeks before we were all sent to our respective rooms to think about what we’ve done, and even that fun weekend spent with friends seems so long ago now.

I started doing these “New tunes of…” Spotify playlists last year, the plan being to post 25 new songs from the previous three months, four times during the year, to have 100 great songs in total. I was only semi-successful at this last year and this year has already gotten off to a rocky start, seeing as that I’m only getting around to sharing this first playlist 2 or 3 weeks later than I was hoping for. To try to make up for my shortcomings, though, I’ve linked each song in the list to its respective YouTube video, in addition to my usually routine of embedding the complete Spotify playlist at the end.

This first playlist for 2020 sees a handful of old and some recent favourites of mine but also a lot of new discoveries. Highlights for this quarter include these:

      • I’m not a fan of everything on Okay Kaya‘s art pop sophomore album but “Insert generic name” tickles my funny bone and has me humming along every time
      • “Try again”, a great track off Andy Shauf‘s latest concept album, “The neon skyline”: hilarious, endearing, and relatable to anyone who’s run into an ex while drinking
      • It’s been five years since Cornershop‘s last record and more than a decade since they released one that I’ve loved but the latest, “England is a garden”, is pretty amazing and opening track, “St Marie under canon”, has had me bopping for weeks
      • New Zealand singer/songwriter Nadia Reid has quite the voice and how could I not fall for “Oh Canada”, a song about how she would like visit to my home country
      • “Ella” is something akin to something Enya or Loreena McKennitt might’ve done, but definitely darker and more haunting, and it’s got me curious about Myrkur‘s (Amalie Bruun, ex of Ex Cops) previous work
      • Just when I’d completely written off Mr. Morrissey, he returns after many years of disappointing me with a new album full of bangers, of which “Jim Jim Falls” is just one
      • “Can’t do much” is the third single off the latest album by Katie Crutchfield, aka Waxahatchee, and sees her cheerfully paying tribute to some of her favourite female singer/songwriters

For those who don’t use Spotify or if the embedded playlist below doesn’t work for you, here is the entire playlist as I’ve created it:

    1. “But you” Alexandra Savior (from the album The archer)
    2. “Your light” The Big Moon (from the album Walking like we do)
    3. “Everything else has gone wrong” Bombay Bicycle Club (from the album Everything else has gone wrong)
    4. “Insert generic name” Okay Kaya (from the album Watch this liquid pour itself)
    5. “Try again” Andy Shauf (from the album The neon skyline)
    6. “Under glass” Wolf Parade (from the album Thin mind)
    7. “I celebrate my fantasy” The Homesick (from the album The big exercise)
    8. “Ms. California” Beach Bunny (from the album Honeymoon)
    9. “I will not return as a tourist” Boniface (from the album Boniface)
    10. “Baddies” Lanterns On The Lake (from the album Spook the herd)
    11. “Everything has changed” Best Coast (from the album Always tomorrow)
    12. “Alien with a sleep mask on” Ratboys (from the album Printer’s devil)
    13. “Control” Brooke Bentham (from the album Everyday nothing)
    14. “The main thing” Real Estate (from the album The main thing)
    15. “Bloodstream” Soccer Mommy (from the album Color theory)
    16. “Jack Parsons” Luke Haines & Peter Buck (from the album Beat poetry for survivalists)
    17. “St Marie under canon” Cornershop (from the album England is a garden)
    18. “Oh Canada” Nadia Reid (from the album Out of my province)
    19. “Be your drug” Circa Waves (from the album Sad Happy)
    20. “Give/take” Porridge Radio (from the album Every bad)
    21. “Ego” Moaning (from the album Uneasy laughter)
    22. “Ella” Myrkur (from the album Folkesange)
    23. “Jim Jim Falls” Morrissey (from the album I am not a dog on a chain)
    24. “Mark Zuckerberg” Nap Eyes (from the album Snapshot of a beginner)
    25. “Can’t do much” Waxahatchee (from the album Saint Cloud)

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you are safe, continue to be well, and well, enjoy the tunes.

If you’re interested in checking out any of the other playlists I’ve created and shared on these pages, you can peruse them here.