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”.

Categories
Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Phosphorescent [2013]

(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.)

Phosphorescent at Ottawa Bluesfest, 2013

Artist: Phosphorescent
When: July 13, 2013
Where: River stage, Ottawa Bluesfest, Lebreton Flats Park, Ottawa
Context: Out of all the great performers at Bluesfest back in 2013, Phosphorescent’s (the stage name of singer/songwriter Matthew Houck) was one of the sets to which I was most looking forward. I had fallen in love with “Muchacho”, his psych-folk album from that year, almost at first listen, and then, when I went back to explore his back catalogue, I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to discover his work. I consumed it all like it was candy, so obviously, I was good and pumped for Phosphorescent’s early evening set and dragged my friend Jean-Pierre along for the ride. Houck had a five-piece touring band with him, many, if not all, of whom had also helped him record the aforementioned “Muchacho”. It was a pretty impressive ensemble cast, including an organist, as well as a keyboard player, a bongo player, and an incredible drummer, which made for a voluminous sound, a sound to get lost in with the hopes of never returning. The band played a good selection of tracks from Houck’s last three albums. Each song, though also long on the recording, was given the full freakout jam treatment with Houck wailing on his guitar and playing the feedback like it was art. My highlight, of course, was when they played “Song for Zula”, likely my favourite track off “Muchacho”. Nope, Phosphorescent did not disappoint despite high expectations on my part. My only beef was that the set seemed cut short, ending half hour earlier than the schedule stated it would.
Point of reference song: Song for Zula

Matthew Houck and Rustine Bragaw of Phosphorescent
Jo Schornikow of Phosphorescent
Scott Stapleton and David Torch of Phosphorescent
Christopher Marine of Phosphorescent
Matthew Houck
Categories
Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Broken Social Scene [2017]

(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.)

Broken Social Scene at CityFolk 2017

Artist: Broken Social Scene
When: September 15th, 2017
Where: Main stage, CityFolk, Lansdowne Park, Ottawa
Context: Broken Social Scene were a big part of the Canadian indie rock renaissance of the mid-2000s and really epitomized the sense of community and collaboration of that scene. They truly were a collective, built around the core of Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, but boasting upwards of close to twenty members at different points in their history, including members of Stars, Metric, Apostles of Hustle, and many others. But to be honest, I couldn’t actually get into them back then, always claiming that they were a band with whom I preferred their parts to their sum. Somewhere along the way, though, I gained an appreciation for them and finally got a chance to see them as part of the line up for the 2017 edition of Ottawa’s CityFolk festival. As with many collectives of this ilk, you never know whom you might see perform with them on any given night. We were lucky enough to have Stars members and husband/wife duo of Evan Cranley and Amy Millan make the two-hour drive up from Montreal, partly as a way to celebrate Cranley’s belated birthday with his musician friends. It was an incredible show and so amazing to see so many talented musicians trade instruments and vocals and contribute to a huge and cohesive sound. I was so impressed that I saw them again six months later and would definitely jump at the chance to do so again.
Point of reference song: Protest song

BSS on the chalkboard
Sam Goldberg Jr of Broken Social Scene
Brendan Canning of Broken Social Scene
Ariel Engel of Broken Social Scene
Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene
Amy Millan of Broken Social Scene
Charles Spearin of Broken Social Scene
Andrew Whiteman of Broken Social Scene
Evan Cranley and David French
Sam Goldberg Jr and Brendan Canning
Celebrating Evan Cranley’s belated birthday in style