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Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Nap Eyes [2016]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts page.)

Nap Eyes at Ottawa Dragon Boat festival, 2016

Artist: Nap Eyes
When: June 25th, 2016
Where: Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, Ottawa
Context: Tomorrow marks the beginning of this year’s edition of Ottawa’s Dragon Boat Festival and if the weather gods are kind, it will mark the return of live music to my life after a two and a half year absence. Of course, the festival itself is mostly about the dragon boat racing and raising money for charity but it also includes free, all-ages concerts that typically showcase the finest in Canadian talent. I’ve seen some excellent shows there over the years, a few from which I’ve shared photos on these pages. Back in 2016, I caught Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Nap Eyes just after they released their critically acclaimed sophomore album, “Thought rock fish scale.” I was truly excited to see them because I had just discovered them and had been talking them up to friends and colleagues, describing them as The Velvet Underground, if all their songs meandered just so, like “Sunday Morning”. Live, they were completely as I suspected, all jangly and crashing guitars, and jaunty, consistent drumming. All four band members were playing in their own world, eyes closed and heads down, as if the audience weren’t there most of the time. Frontman Nigel Chapman’s vocals were uneven and unassured but in my opinion, that’s what gives the songs their edge, like early Belle & Sebastian or New Order: tentative but charming. It was an amazing show, nonetheless, and one during which I found myself lost in the music throughout most of the hour.
Point of reference song: Click clack

Seamus Dalton and Nigel Chapman of Nap Eyes
Josh Salter of Nap Eyes
Brad Loughead of Nap Eyes
Seamus Dalton
Nigel Chapman
Categories
Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Interpol [2015]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts page.)

Interpol live at Bluesfest 2015

Artist: Interpol
When: July 18, 2015
Where: Claridge Homes stage, Ottawa Bluesfest, Lebreton Flats Park, Ottawa
Context: I had been following this New York-based indie rock band for well over a decade by the time 2015 rolled around. Interpol were easily my preferred out of all the post-punk revivalists and their first two records are still among my favourite of the 2000s. Founding bassist, Carlos Dengler had left the band five years prior (in 2010) but the remaining trio of Paul Banks (vocals, guitar), Daniel Kessler (guitars), and Sam Fogarino (drums)* were still (and still are) very much a going concern. In fact, they had just put out “El pintor” the previous year, perhaps their best album in a decade. After initial a wave here and a smile there, pleasantries dispensed, they started in like gangbusters, a sonic assault of angular guitars and booming basslines, and Paul Banks’ iconic deep vocals, often lying in wait in the weeds and layers of synths. It was a powerful set and loud, mixing new and old seamlessly. Interestingly, they went to the well of 2004’s “Antics” quite often, digging out favourites like “Narc”, “Evil”, “Take you on a cruise”, “C’mere”, “Not even jail”, and finishing off the whole works with “Slow hands”. I especially appreciated the passionate and crazed rendition of recent single, “All the rage back home”, a personal favourite. I think my only critique of the set was that at around fifty minutes, partially due to an act finishing up late on the other stage, it all felt way too short. Still, Interpol!!!!

Point of reference song: All the rage back home

Sam Fogarino of Interpol
Daniel Kessler of Interpol
Paul Banks of Interpol
Brandon Curtis and Brad Truax, touring members
Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler, and Sam Fogarino

*They were joined on stage by touring bassist Brad Truax and Brandon Curtis (formerly of Secret Machines) on keys.

Categories
Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Peter Bjorn and John [2016]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts page.)

Peter Bjorn and John live at Ottawa Bluesfest 2016

Artist: Peter Bjorn and John
When: July 7, 2016
Where: Black Sheep stage, Ottawa Bluesfest, Lebreton Flats Park, Ottawa
Context: (One of the things I’ve been missing the most over the last two years from my life pre-pandemic has been live music and this is a theme that I’ve harped upon pretty regularly on these pages. However, now that health and safety restrictions have started to loosen and the world in general seems to be dipping its toes back into the murky sea of normalcy (whatever that means), I haven’t been super eager to buy tickets for any of the many great shows for which I’ve had the opportunity. Well, my anxiety thresholds are soon to be tested because the festival pass that I purchased for the 2020 edition of Ottawa Bluesfest has been rolled over twice and I now appear to have a pass for this coming July, the lineup for which is generally the same as it was two years ago. So in an effort to remind myself of the joy this festival always has brought, I’ve been flipping through the hordes of photos I’ve taken there and came across these seven that I thought I’d share.)

I remember being surprised at the lack of congestion at the smallest stage of the festival that night. They had been the darlings of the indie scene ten years before with their breakout album, “Writer’s block”, and hit single, “Young folks”. And though their subsequent albums hadn’t all had the same punch, they’d all been pretty great in their own regard. The Swedish trio, whose first names give the group its name, Peter Bjorn and John, were joined onstage by touring members, one of whom would provide the female vocal parts for “Young folks” later in the set. They started things off lightning quick with “Up against the wall” and a couple of tracks off their brand new album* before taking the opportunity to introduce themselves. Funnily enough, all three could have just pointed at the name patches that were sewn on the overalls they were wearing, betraying a sense of humour that was also reflected in their lyrics and the way they performed. Given this, I couldn’t actually tell how serious they were being in all their rock and roll posturing but it really ignited the crowd, which definitely grew as time wore on. Indeed, I was quite surprised at the band’s energy and Peter Morén’s ability and magnetism as frontman but by the time he jumped into the crowd and took a stroll among us while singing, it felt just right. The set was an almost perfect mix of old and new, performing all the favourites, including the aforementioned “Young folks”, without a hint of boredom.
Point of reference song: Love is what you want

Peter Morén of Peter Bjorn and John
Bjorn Yttling of Peter Bjorn and John
John Eriksson of Peter Bjorn and John
Bjorn and touring member Klaus
Peter and touring member Freya
PB&J rocking out

*At that time, said new albums was 2016’s “Breakin’ point”.