3 Ottawa-area shows to check out this weekend

Guest columnist Jessa Runciman runs through Westfest's lineup and some other live music shows in the area this weekend.

Westfest and the rest of this weekend's highlights

Chains of love bring their shadowy, enchanting sound to Pressed on Gladstone Avenue Sunday night. (Courtesy The Agency Group)

Here are CBC Ottawa's picks for this weekend in the Ottawa-Gatineau area:

The Archers @ The Black Sheep Inn w/ Loon Choir, Fire & Neon (Friday, 8:30 p.m.)

Victoria band The Archers will be playing in Wakefield Friday. You probably wouldn't guess it by listening to their careful instrumentation (these guys are all about little twinkling touches, mandolin strums and handclaps) but they're so young! In fact, The Archers were voted Best British Columbia Teen Band just a couple of years ago.

You can't say they approach their music like kids, though. For one thing, they've been touring to support an EP they produced themselves, called Much More Than Merry Men. They've also got another pretty hefty award under their belts: last year's Canadian Folk Music Award for Young Performer of the Year.

The Archers are playing at the Black Sheep Inn on Friday night, and it'll be a trifecta of bright, twinkly folk-pop because Loon Choir and Fire & Neon are also on the bill. 8:30 p.m., $10.

Little Sun (formerly Dry River Canyon) @ Mercury Lounge w/ Heidi Happy (Saturday, 8:30 p.m.)

On Saturday night, you can catch the reincarnation of an Ottawa-turned-Montreal band who Ottawa Morning got pretty well-acquainted with in the close quarters of a special OC Transpo bus-broadcast back in the winter. At that time, the guys were calling themselves Dry River Caravan. They had a very strong gypsy feel driven by accordion, upright bass, bouzouki, clarinet and the kitchen sink.

Then, the same week they played on the morning show, they relocated to a big apartment in Montreal and assumed a new identity as Little Sun. Their sound has changed a bit from the light, klezmer-oriented jams they were playing before and has become somewhat more dimly-lit, like a campfire after all the dancing people go to sleep. Little Sun just released a four-song EP called Normal Human Feelings, which serves as a glimpse at a full-length album that'll be released in the fall.

I'm sure they'll be previewing more of that album at the Mercury Lounge on Saturday. Switzerland's Heidi Happy is the opener that night. 8:30 p.m., $10.

Chains of Love @ Pressed w/ Ketamines, Zebrassieres (Sunday, 8 p.m.)

Last but not least, I know where I'll be on Sunday night. Vancouver's Chains of Love was conceived as a kind of Phil Spector-esque dream project — the aim of which was to end up with the wall-of-sound feel of old a.m. radio girl groups from the 1960s. The result is shadowy, enchanting and steeped in nostalgia.

Listen to Bandwidth every Saturday on CBC Radio 1 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. for your regional music fix.

Maybe one of the best parts of seeing Chains of Love on Sunday is that they'll be joined by two other great bands, both of which have just moved to Toronto and started going sharesies with all their members. Ketamines play spacey garage rock, and Zebrassieres make Devo-inspired, punk-party soundtracks.

If you want to put your weekend to bed on a fun note, that show is at Pressed on Gladstone Avenue. 8 p.m., $8.

Also, there are a lot of great performers featured at Westfest over the weekend — including SkydiggersElliott BroodJim Bryson and Fiftymen, in no particular order, so it's probably smart to check out the website for a full list.



  • Westfest: Rob Mclennan, Andrew Vincent, PLEX, Holly McNarland, The Cliks, Elliott Brood: 6 p.m., free
  • The Archers, Loon Choir, Fire & Neon @ Black Sheep Inn: 8:30 p.m., $10
  • Girlfriends & Boyfriends @ Pressed w/ Phoenix Thunderbird, Grime Kings: 9 p.m., $8
  • The Bushpilots @ Rainbow Bistro 10th anniversary show w/ The Cheap Thrills: 9:30 p.m., $10
  • Madison & Fifth @ Zaphod's w/ The Shanks, And What Army?: 8 p.m., $5
  • The Apollohs & Big Moan @ Avant-Garde Bar w/ Celery Troff, Ben Christie: 9 p.m., $6
  • Musk Ox @ Mercury Lounge w/ Flying Horses, Michael Mucci: 6:30 p.m., $10


  • Westfest: Greg Frankson, Cindy Baker, The Johnnys, Thomas Starwalker Clair, Lynne Hanson, Jim Bryson, Skydiggers: 12 p.m., FREE
  • Little Sun @ Mercury Lounge w/ Heidi Happy: 8:30 p.m., $10
  • North Lakes @ Zaphod's: 8 p.m., $5
  • 6th Annual Amnesty International Ottawa Opry @ St. Martin's Church w/ Pat Moore and the Vinyl Frontier, Keith Glass, Amanda Bon, Kate and Hollis, Maple Hill: 7 p.m., $20
  • Nancy White & Ghislain Aucoin @ Gigspace (Alcorn Music Studio): 7:30 p.m., $20
  • Single Bed Carousel @ Avant-Garde Bar w/ Jonah Hache & MKW, Sweet Alps: 9 p.m., $8
  • Supersuckers @ Ritual w/ Lydia Loveless, In Heat: 9 p.m., $16
  • Shred Kelly @ Black Sheep Inn w/ Patrick LePoidevin: 8:30 p.m., $10
  • Harmonic Night @ Rainbow Bistro w/ Steve Marriner, Raoul Bhaneja, Mathieu Gagnon: 10 p.m., $10


  • Westfest: Tam-Tam with Dr. Lee, Cara Tierney, Silvercreek, Amos the Transparent, Amanda Rheaume, Fiftymen: 12 p.m., free
  • Chains of Love @ Pressed w/ Ketamines, Zebrassieres: 8 p.m., $8
  • Baobab Tree Drum & Dance @ Black Sheep Inn: 4 p.m., $10 (adults), $5 (teens/students), free for kids 12 & under