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Hot Dates Ottawa

Hot Date: Mother Mother back in Ottawa, chats about new album

Mother Mother play the Bronson Centre November 23, 2012, with opener Hannah Georgas.

Starting out as an acoustic pop trio in January 2005, Vancouver-based Mother Mother has since evolved into a five-piece, indie rock powerhouse. Following a slew of festival shows – and opening spots for the likes of Canadian rapper K’Naan – the group landed a deal with Toronto’s Last Gang Records in 2006. By 2011, their record Eureka reached No. 8 on the Canadian music charts, their biggest mainstream success to date.

The quintet will be making its way to the Bronson Centre on November 23 in support of their fourth full-length album, The Sticks. WHERE Ottawa’s Erica Eades speaks with frontman Ryan Guldemond about his musical influences, his affinity for country music, and the band’s favourite moment in Ottawa.


Evening Hymns: On Latest Album Spectral Dusk and Newfound Love For Ottawa

Evening Hymns bring their latest album Spectral Dusk to life at Mavericks on November 15

To say that Evening Hymns is a two-piece folk-rock band doesn’t quite capture the sheer magnitude of their music. Spectral Dusk, their sophomore album released in August, is more art piece than album. Lead singer and songwriter Jonas Bonnetta penned the record after the passing of his father in 2009. The life-altering loss resulted in a deep reflection of life’s brevity, and ultimately a collection of songs that combine raw honesty and emotion with Bonnetta’s immaculate musicianship. WHERE Ottawa’s Matias Muñoz speaks with him before their show at Mavericks on November 15 about recording Spectral Dusk in Perth, Ontario (about an hour southeast of Ottawa) with bandmate Sylvie Smith and friends, the difficulty of bringing these personal works to life every night on the road, and his relationship with Ottawa.


Hot Date: Yukon Blonde Invades Ottawa for Three Nights

Yukon Blonde play Ottawa Nov. 16-18, opening for The Sheepdogs at Ritual Nightclub

Life on the road is never easy. There are the strange hotel beds, the lack of sleep, and, perhaps worst of all, the excessive time spent cooped up in the old tour van. Add in a lost passport, a few traffic jams and a stint at an American police station, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to be feeling a bit worn down.

Not so for Kelowna, B.C.’s Yukon Blonde. Following a gig in Atlanta, Georgia late last month, frontman Jeff Innes discovered his passport was missing. After a grueling morning with the local authorities, the guys were forced to head back out on the road – sans passport. WHERE Ottawa’s Erica Eades caught up with Innes as the road warriors made their way down to Birmingham, Alabama for the next stop on their tour — which includes three shows in Ottawa, November 16-18 at Ritual Nightclub. Despite the day’s events, he was endearingly optimistic as he spoke about their latest tour, the evolution of the group, and what’s up next for the shaggy-haired indie-rockers.

You’ve been touring incessantly since releasing Tiger Talk back in March. Have you had any downtime at all?
No, not really. We’ve been on tour non-stop since September. We also didn’t really have any time off this summer because we were playing a lot of festivals around the United States, and we did some stuff in Europe and Canada.

With all that time on the road, have you guys even thought about your next record?
We have three months off coming up, so we were discussing whether or not we wanted to write and record a record in that time. Three months is typical for how we work – we try to get some songs done quickly and then record them. But I think we’re actually just going to take this time off to write a bit and then just rehearse. We want to get our live show really good and find the right guys to come tour with us.

Tiger Talk was a major departure from your self-titled debut album. What inspired this change?
Well, touring, for one. That was a big eye-opener. We’d be playing songs every night, and the songs that we just started naturally gravitating toward were the faster, more upbeat songs on our first record. We kept writing songs that never made it on anything, but we just kept touring them because they were fun to play. Then I started listening to a lot of 80s punk rock — a lot of Buzzcocks and Misfits — so that was pretty inspirational too. But I think we were mostly just inspired by playing.

Do you think the band’s found its sound with Tiger Talk?
Well, I don’t want to force anything. And I don’t want to make the same record, that’s for sure. But I do think we’re onto something. I just think that we’re still finding our path. I’m really proud of Tiger Talk, and everything that we’ve been up to lately, but I don’t want to stay on that course. I’d like to challenge ourselves and make something different.

You mentioned that your latest album was inspired by 80s punk rock. What have you been listening to lately?
We’ve been listening to a bit of new stuff, actually, which is weird, because we don’t listen to a lot of new music. Have you heard the new Ariel Pink record?

No, I haven’t.
OK, well, everybody hates it. But we put it on and we decided to give it a shot, and we all really like the record. It’s so weird. You’ve got to listen to it. But overall, nothing’s really moving me right now. Nothing’s blowing my mind. As a band, we always just go back and listen to our favourite albums of the early 2000s. We just remember that as this golden era of music. And then I start to feel old. We’re like those 80s mullet guys who are just refusing to listen to anything new.

You’ve got three back-to-back shows booked in the nation’s capital this weekend with Saskatoon’s the Sheepdogs. Why did you team up with them?
Um, because they’re awesome dudes. They’re the coolest guys ever. We hadn’t really crossed paths with them before, and then this year we’ve been seeing them everywhere. Finally they were just like, “Come on tour with us!” I just thought it would be such a cool thing. Despite the fact that they’re the raddest dudes ever, it’s also allowing us to stop off in a number of cities for a few nights. That’s so leisurely for a tour! I love it. It seems like it’s just going to be a really, really good time. And I think we could use that right now.

What should audiences expect from the shows?
Well, it seems like it’s going to be a bit of a party tour [laughs]. Yeah…it’s going to be a party.


Yukon Blonde will be opening for The Sheepdogs Nov. 16, 17 and 18 at Ritual Nightclub.


Hot Date: Harvest Noir

Sept. 30

Last year’s Harvest Noir was held outside the Museum of Civilization.
Image © Byfield Pitman Photography

In what’s quickly becoming one of the hottest events on Ottawa’s social calendar, Harvest Noir combines an elegant harvest celebration, a secret picnic in a public place, a pop-up parade, and a dance party. Guests, dressed head to toe in their finest black attire, prepare a picnic feast and bring it to a yet-to-be-disclosed location in downtown Ottawa, where they mingle and revel with hundreds of other diners. A mass flash mob is held at local farmers’ markets (again, the location is secret!) a few days before the event, and the picnic is capped off with a massive party. Tres Parisienne!

Visit www.harvestnoir.com for details and ticket info.

Hot Date: Stay Up All Night at Nuit Blanche Ottawa

Artist Daniel Lehan will roam through the Nuit Blanche zones, writing cardboard poems based on stories told to him about the night.

Saturday, September 22

With the city as its canvas, Nuit Blanche brings beauty to Ottawa through a magical night of visual and performance art. Following in the footsteps of cities such as Paris, New York, and Toronto, the free all-night event (Ottawa’s first) sees local art and cultural venues — as well select restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars around the city — stay open into the wee hours. Public and private spaces are transformed into temporary galleries and performance venues, where art lovers can view thought-provoking works by artists from Ottawa and beyond. A free bilingual program is provided, and visitors will be transported between neighbourhoods on special shuttles.

Hot Date: Arboretum Music and Arts Festival

Ohbijou play at Arboretum on Saturday. Photo © Reynard Li.

Saturday, September 15

Celebrate the sights, tastes, and sounds of Ottawa — and stretch the sunny season out for just one more weekend — at the Arboretum Music and Arts Festival. Billed as Ottawa’s newest boutique music and arts festival, the first-ever Arboretum is held in the courtyards of the Ottawa Jail Hostel and Arts Court and features over 20 musical acts including Ohbijou and Jokers Of The Scene; amazing food from local restaurants (The Whalesbone Oyster House, Town, Murray Street, and Chez Edgar, to name a few), regionally brewed craft beer from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. and Kichesippi, fabulous visual arts, and more. It’s the perfect way to sample Ottawa’s best, brightest, and tastiest, all in one place.


Hot Date: House of PainT Festival

Photo © Ming Wu

This annual outdoor event showcases urban art, dance, and music from across Canada and abroad. There’s a lot to see and do over the four days of the event — a photo exhibit, a poetry slam, masterclasses — but the (free!) 4 Disciplines of Hip Hop Main Event is held on Saturday at the site of Canada’s largest legal graffiti wall (under the Dunbar Bridge on Bronson Avenue). The day-long, all ages celebration is presented as an old-school block party that showcases hip hop’s four core artistic disciplines: DJs, MCs, graffiti artists, and breakdancing. On Sunday, a concert under the bridge features performances by Shad, Maestro Fresh Wes, Kid Koala, and more.

See www.houseofpaint.ca for the full lineup.

Hot Date: Freewheelin’ at Folk Fest

Ben Harper plays the Ottawa Folk Festival tonight, along with Matthew Good, Matt Mays, Danny Michel, and more.

With a lineup that includes the likes of Lindsey Buckingham, Bon Iver, Ben Harper, Matthew Good, Kathleen Edwards, Great Big Sea, Dan Mangan, Patrick Watson, and lots more, the Ottawa Folk Festival keeps true to its roots while luring crowds with some big names. Hundreds of folk, roots, blues, and pop-rock performers take to the stage during the five-day fest. Folk Fest also offers interactive and performance workshops, which allow curious beginners and experienced musicians alike to try their hands at a new craft or learn some tips from the pros in a laid-back environment. Food and drinks, family-oriented entertainment, and lots more are also on the bill. Sept. 6 to 10.

Hog’s Back Park, 613-599-3267, www.ottawafolk.com

Hot Date: Wakefest

A fire spinner. Photo © Melanie LussierIt’s a weekend-long party in the oh-so-charming village of Wakefield during Wakefest, an annual celebration that covers music, theatre, visual art, literature, and everything in between. The festival kicks off tonight with a launch party and fashion show at Café Earle Pub, and continues through to Sunday. Over the course of the weekend, visitors can brush up on their theatrical talents at improv and acting workshops, learn to hula hoop, watch a film projected on the town’s famed covered bridge, and tons more.

Check out the events section of the website for full details.


Hot Date: Capital Pride

Capital Pride, Ottawa’s annual 10-day celebration of the city’s LGBTTQ community, kicks off today. Opening night offers plenty of must-attend events, including Repo! The Genetic Drag Show at Club Saw ($10) and an awards gala that acknowledges leadership in the Ottawa-Gatineau area LGBTTQ community at ARC Hotel (free admission). Pride Week continues until Aug. 26, culminating in a massive parade on the last day of the festival.

613-252-7174, www.capitalpride.ca

Hot Date: Straight No Chaser

Straight No Chaser perform tonight at Centrepointe Theatre

May 17
Get ready to swoon when you see Straight No Chaser live in concert. This male a cappella group brings an age-old singing tradition into the modern era by tackling pop songs such as Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” Coldplay’s “Fix You,” and even a “Billie Jean” and “Poison” mash-up that will have you wanting to hit the dance floor when these 10 guys take the stage.

Centrepointe Theatre, 101 Centrepointe Dr., 613-580-2705, www.centrepointetheatre.com

Hot Date: Ballet Jörgen’s Anastasia

April 18
One of the most fascinating historical tales comes to life in Anastasia by Ballet Jörgen. Told like never before, this is the story of a young Russian Grand Duchess who was born into privilege and then thrust into turmoil when her father, the Tsar, fell from power during the Russian Revolution. Using the company’s signature storytelling and powerful style of dance, this is a compelling representation of a tragic event that was once a captivating historical mystery. $35-$50. Shenkman Arts Centre, 245 Centrum Blvd., 613-580-2700. www.shenkmanarts.ca