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Ottawa concerts

Blue Rodeo Gallops Into the Capital

Iconic Canadian band Blue Rodeo rolls into town on February 14. (Photo: Heather Pollock)

Iconic Canadian band Blue Rodeo rolls into town on February 14. (Photo: Heather Pollock)

FEB. 14 With a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, 12 Juno Awards to their name, and more than three million records sold worldwide, Blue Rodeo is without a doubt one of Canada’s most enduring bands. Their alt-country rock songs are unmistakable — songs like the melancholy “Try” and the foot-tapping “Till I Am Myself Again”, which propelled them to the top of the charts in the ‘80s and ‘90s. They stop in Ottawa at the Canadian Tire Centre as part of their cross-Canada tour. —Amy Allen
•Canadian Tire Centre, 1000 Palladium Dr., 613-599-0100. canadiantirecentre.com

Reworking the Classics: 2Cellos

More commonly known as 2Cellos, Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser put unique twists on classical and contemporary music.

More commonly known as 2Cellos, Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser put unique twists on classical and contemporary music.

FEB. 14 Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, the duo more commonly known as 2Cellos, met in their teens when they studied music in Croatia. At the time, they often competed against each other in music contests, and many saw them as rivals. But in 2011, when their paths crossed again after years of working in different cities, they decided to team up. Their cello version of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” went viral when they uploaded it to YouTube, and they’ve been selling out stadiums with their unique take on pop songs and classical music ever since. —Amy Allen
•National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787. nac-cna.ca
Map and reviews

Warm Winter Jazz

Juno Award-nominated artist Carol Welsman performs at the Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival.

Juno Award-nominated artist Carol Welsman performs at the Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival.

FEB. 4 TO 7 Two pianos, two keyboards, and a drum kit — these are the tools Mouse on the Keys use to create their haunting, jazz-influenced, experimental music. Based in Japan, the trio blends aspects of rock and roll with the gentler strains of classical, jazz, and funk. They’re just one of several bands performing at this year’s Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival. Other names, many of them from Ottawa, include John Geggie’s Journey Band, Montréal Guitare Trio, The Chocolate Hot Pockets, and Juno Award-nominated chanteuse Carol Welsman. —Amy Allen
ottawajazzfestival.com

Diamond Rings Play Ottawa: Q&A With the Imaginative Songwriter

Diamond Rings play Ritual Nightclub on Dec. 7.

John O’Regan is beginning to get his due. The Toronto-bred artist goes under the stage name Diamond Rings, and his latest album Free Dimensional has garnered incredibly favourable reviews. In fact, the feedback has been so positive that O’Regan recently made an appearance on U.S. network television when he played on the Late Show with David Letterman.

Although compared by some to Bowie, Depeche Mode and Ian Curtis of Joy Division, Diamond Rings brings a fresh new look and sound to Canadian music. WHERE Ottawa’s Matías Muñoz speaks with O’Regan in advance of his Dec. 7 concert at Ritual Nightclub about staying levelheaded while on the road and his favourite Ottawa spots.

You’ve had the opportunity to tour with bands such as PS I Love You and Stars. What have your experiences connecting with other artists meant to you?
It’s really nice to be on tour with friends. I’ve had the opportunity to tour with bands that at one point earlier in my career I looked up to a lot, but now we’re friends. To share the stage and to get to know some of them personally is a real honour for me. I consider myself a contemporary rather than just a fan — I feel lucky.

How do you stay grounded when on the road?
I think the nature of touring keeps you pretty grounded. It keeps you on your toes, in the best possible way. A lot of the work that happens on tour isn’t especially glamourous, it’s all that grunt work that goes into making the one hour I get on stage sound and look as close to perfect as possible. I think it’s that aspect of it that adds to the magic of the whole thing. A lot of people work really hard to make it all possible; the stuff that happens on stage doesn’t happen automatically.

Where do you like to go when you’re in Ottawa?
I love eating schwarma at Marroush (now called Three Brothers), which is right down the street from Ritual Nightclub where I’m going to play. You kind of get these habits and traditions when on tour, and you don’t want to change them up. That’s my Ottawa thing.

To what extent do you use your music to speak to gender stereotypes and other issues you see within the industry, and culture in general?
I think at the end of the day I want to connect with people, that’s why I write music and do what I do. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care what people thought about my work, or if I said I didn’t care if people didn’t like what I do. That being said, what I do and what I project sonically and aesthetically has to feel real and different in order to present something to the world that is otherwise lacking. Certainly, in some respect, there is a willingness to transform or push peoples expectations of what is possible in a live or recording context, or a visual context, in relationship to the way they view me.