3 live music shows to see in Ottawa this weekend

Mugshots is the place to be, according to music columnist Jessa Runciman, plus there's a little rocking out on Sunday with some girl power.

Funhouse @ Mugshots (Doors open Friday at 10:30 p.m., $5)

Voicemail. (Supplied photo)

There's a lot worth mentioning at Mugshots this weekend. If you aren't familiar with the venue, it's the bar on the main floor of the Jail Hostel on Nicholas Street. In the summertime, they hold events in the hostel's old stone courtyard at the back of the building. It's become a spot for a variety of regular events, including Funhouse, put on by Ottawa Explosion and Kichesippi Beer. The fourth edition of Funhouse is happening on Friday, and will see DJs Craig Peru and Skid Vicious spinning classic punk and new wave. In addition, those in attendance will get to catch Voicemail -- a local act whose music according to its front man is influenced by "the mods, the sharpies, the rockers, the punks, the glam boys 'n' girls, the power poppers, and the new wavers." That front man, "Gary Voicemail," is the alter-ego of Ian Manhire, who you might recognize as the white jean-jacketed singer of garage-pop trio The White Wires. He's teamed up with members of Mother's Children and Average Times and together they're working on a full-length Voicemail album to be released early next year. It's a little bit Status Quo, a little bit The Who, with a hefty dose of good, clean, rock 'n' roll moxy. Voicemail will be playing alongside Babysitter -- a great Victoria band.

The O'Pears @ Avant-Garde Bar (Friday at 8p.m., $5)

The O'Pears. (Supplied photo)

A few blocks away on Friday, a show with a very different feel is booked at the Avant-Garde Bar. It'll be a night of jazz and folk in almost equal measure, with a lot of the folksiness provided by three girls from Toronto. The O'Pears met while studying music at Humber College and in their words it felt like finding their "vocal soulmates." Despite coming from different musical backgrounds (jazz, R&B, bluegrass) the trio quickly developed the ability to harmonize without even having to talk anything over beforehand. That's something that comes through in the effortlessness of the vocals on The O'Pears' new EP, "Our Own." In addition to original material, the group performs a lot of covers -- everything from Big Star to the Andrews Sisters -- so it's anyone's guess what their set will consist of on Friday night. The O'Pears are performing with Midcoast -- an instrumental band from Toronto who combine intense jazz breakdowns with catchier rock melodies and Ottawa's Chocolate Hot Pockets. This is a show for those who love watching hard-trained musicianship at work.

Rock Camp for Girls Benefit @ Pressed (Sunday at 8 p.m., Donations from $5 to $10)

There are a handful of worthwhile shows happening on Saturday (be sure to check the extended listings at the bottom of the page) but I want to draw your attention to a show happening on Sunday -- one devoted to encouraging girls to rock out. Ottawa's Rock Camp for Girls is a three-day workshop for ladies between the ages of 13 and 17. Participants learn an instrument (guitar, drums, bass) and form a band with a couple of other girls, then they perform a song in front of friends and family at a closing concert. I was at the grand finale show last year and there's nothing like seeing a group of small young girls head-banging to a cover of "Iron Man!" The camp is not-for-profit, which is where Sunday's show comes in. For a donation of $5 to $10, you can see a handful of bands across a range of styles: Dreamboat, H. de Heutz, Dark Plains, Blue Angel, and Aube. The Rock Camp for Girls Benefit is happening at Pressed and the music is set to start at 8pm.

This week's music listings

Dreamboat. (Supplied photo)


  • Funhouse @ Mugshots ft. Voicemail, Babysitter w/ DJs Craig Peru & Skid Vicious, 10:30pm, $5
  • The O'Pears @ Avant-Garde w/ Midcoast, The Chocolate Hot Pockets, 8pm, $5
  • Erik Lind & the Orchard @ Black Sheep Inn w/ Mehdi Cayenne Club, 8:30pm, $10
  • Jonesey @ The Rainbow, 4pm, free
  • Bearshark @ The Rainbow w/ Ketura Johnson, 10pm, $10
  • Vibonics @ Bassline Pub & Eatery, 8pm, free
  • Drew Nelson Band @ Irene's Pub w/ Scott Allen & the Sensationals, 9pm, $10
  • The Laws @ The Branch, 9pm, $10
  • Sewer Rats @ Mavericks w/ Four Stroke, Warfair, 8pm, $8


  • Marta Pacek @ Pressed w/ The String Masons, 8pm, $10
  • Absolut, Sleight, Bricks, Silent Order, Shithead @ Luneta, 8pm, $6
  • White Collar Students @ The Rainbow, 4pm, free
  • Juice @ The Rainbow w/ The Lionyls, The Red Rails, 10pm, $10
  • Little Birdie @ Kaffe 1870, 8pm, $8
  • Jesse Greene Band @ Black Sheep Inn w/ Natalia and Montuno, 8:30pm, $7
  • David "Boxcar" Gates @ Irene's Pub, 9:30pm, $10
  • Kate Weekes & Grant Simpson @ The Branch, 9pm, $10
  • Paterson Hall @ Avant-Garde w/ Friday Night Trend, 9pm, $8
  • Lucky Ron @ The Lafayette, Every week, 4pm, free
  • Sk8 Fest @ Glengarry Sports Palace (170 MacDonald Blvd, Alexandria) w/ Hey Sugar, In Bright Lights, Markian & more, 10am, $10


  • Rock Camp for Girls benefit @ Pressed w/ H. de Heutz, Dreamboat, Dark Plains, Blue Angel, Aube, 7:30pm, $5-10 PWYC
  • The Weeks @ Mercury Lounge, 8pm, $8
  • A Day to Remember, Pierce the Veil, The Ghost Inside @ Ernst & Young Centre, 6:30pm, $37.50
  • Wild Son, The Ecstatic @ The Branch, 9pm, $5
  • Ottawa's Longest-Running Sunday Afternoon Open Blues Jam @ The Rainbow w/ host Maria Hawkins, 4pm, $3
  • Penny Palooza fundraiser @ Manor Heights Park w/ Lockhart Station, Rothwell & Moffatt, Kathryn Berry, Juneberry & more, 3pm, $10