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Yukon Blonde

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for November 16 to 18

Friday, November 16

Brian Gore leads a group of impressive guitarists at The International Guitar Night at Shenkman Arts Centre

Founded in 1995 by San Francisco guitarist Brian Gore, The International Guitar Night has grown to be the world’s premier touring guitar festival. Every year, Gore invites a handful of groundbreaking musicians to join him in a series of solos, duets and quartets, each highlighting the impressive range of the acoustic guitar. The 12th North American tour, on now, features Scotland’s Martin Taylor, Madagascar’s Solorazaf and Brazil’s Guinga. Catch them all this weekend at the Shenkman Arts Centre.

The annual Signatures Ottawa Christmas Show returns this week with five back-to-back days of holiday shopping at its finest. Hosted by the Ottawa Convention Centre, this year’s showing will feature 180 outstanding Canadian artists, artisans and designers. Whether you’re looking for handcrafted jewelry, visual art, home decor, or delicious treats, you’re sure to tick at least a few names off your Christmas list. 

The NACO presents All Gershwin, All Pops! Featuring Michael Chertock on piano, and with Broadway sensation Judy McLane providing vocals, audiences will be treated to all the hits from George and Ira Gershwin’s impressive songbook. From the toe-tapping “I Got Rhythm” to the sombre “Rhapsody in Blue,” there will be a little something for everyone at this unforgettable night of classic jazz.

Saturday, November 17

The Sheepdogs play three sold-out shows at Ritual Nightclub this weekend

A little over a year ago, Saskatoon’s The Sheepdogs won a contest that saw them becoming the first unsigned band in history to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Since then, the Canadian roots rockers have been hard at work touring throughout  Canada and the U.S. This weekend, they will play three sold-out shows at Ottawa’s Ritual Nightclub, alongside Kelowna’s Yukon Blonde (you can read our interview with them here). For those lucky enough to get tickets, this is sure to be one heck of a show.

Presented by the Small Press Action Network — Ottawa (Span-O), the bi-annual Ottawa Small Press Book Fair returns to the Jack Purcell Community Centre this Saturday. Though the full list of vendors has not yet been posted, past exhibitors have included Bywords, Dusty Owl, The Ottawa Arts Review, BuschekBooks, and The Grunge Papers, to name a few. The fair features a wide range of content, including poetry books, novels, T-shirts, graphic novels, comic books, magazines, cookbooks and posters.

The Help Santa Toy Parade — hosted annually by the Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters Association — kicks off this Saturday at Library and Archives Canada. This exceptional display of holiday spirit will make its way down Wellington Street, Bank Street and Laurier Avenue, before finishing up at the corner of Elgin Street. Along the way, firefighters will collect new toys and cash donations for the Salvation Army. If you’d like to help out but can’t make it to the parade, donations are currently being accepted at all Ottawa fire stations.

Sunday, November 18

Margo MacDonald and Mary Ellis star in Fly Me to the Moon. Today’s your last chance to experience this performance.

Today’s your last chance to experience the Great Canadian Theatre Company‘s performance of Fly Me To the Moon. Written by Marie Jones (Stones in his Pockets) and directed by John P. Kelly, this hilariously dark comedy follows the lives of Francis and Loretta, two home care workers in Belfast forced to make a tough decision when one of their patients unexpectedly dies. The final run hits stage at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $35.77 to $36.90.

The Ottawa International Storytelling Festival is taking place Nov. 15 to 18 at Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts. Operating under the theme Naked Narrative, the motto for this year’s event is simple: “No books, no props, just stories.” The bill features an impressive lineup of performers from throughout Canada and the U.S., including renowned character actor Stephen Tobolowsky (Glee, Groundhog Day), Newfoundland fiddler Kelly Russell, and contemporary dancer Peggy Baker.

Friends of the Central Experimental Farm is hosting its annual Craft and Bake Sale this weekend at the farm’s Arboretum. Though an exceptional spread of handmade crafts and delicious baked goods will no doubt be the main draw, this event also offers guests the chance to explore the Arboretum’s gorgeous spring blossoms. Admission and on-site parking are free.

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.