live music

4 shows to see in the Ottawa area this week

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Jay Arner, Lido Pimienta and Steve Adamyk are Jessa Runciman's picks for the weekend and beyond.

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Jay Arner, Lido Pimienta and Steve Adamyk are Jessa Runciman's picks

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra plays at the Black Sheep Inn Thursday night. (Photo courtesy Yannick Grandmont)

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Scattered Clouds at the Black Sheep Inn, Thursday

There's a reason why Montreal is seen as a mecca of lush art-rock in Canada — and part of it has to do with Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra.

The band formed 15 years ago when Efrim Menuck, guitarist for Godspeed You! Black Emperor, decided to take on a new musical project with the aim of learning to score his compositions. The inspiration for that music? The death of his dog, Wanda, while he was on tour.

Seven full-length albums, a few name-tweaks and a handful of band members later, straightforward human emotion continues to be the driving force behind the band's sonic walls of guitars and violins. Applied music theory and sheet music — not so much. The idea was abandoned fairly early on, in favour of instinctive songwriting based on feeling.

That's what you'll get on Thursday night when Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra stops in at the Black Sheep. They'll be joined by Hull's noisy luminaries, Scattered Clouds. 8:30 p.m., $15.

Jay Arner with Bonnie Doon and Zakary Slax at Pressed, Friday

Gushes of fuzzy synth. Croony vocal melodies. Basslines à la 1984. These are the signature sounds of Vancouver's Jay Arner.

Sure, comparisons to Mac DeMarco and Ariel Pink are apt — but there's no mistaking the personal flare with which he's chosen to inject the 10 sparkly, reverberant pop gems that make up his self-titled album. Arner describes himself as a shy guy who has typically felt comfort in the group dynamic of a band.

Jay Arner plays at Pressed on Friday night. (Photo courtesy Michelle Furbacher)
But what growth is there in comfort? Hence, a bare-all album named Jay Arner, and a cover featuring a massive, unabashed close-up of his slightly-blushing face. It's something you catch yourself staring at for a moment or two, as you wonder what thoughts he's entertaining under that undecipherable, straight-ahead stare.

Similarly, Jay Arner's songwriting is simple and enigmatic — and you're kept listening. He's performing at Pressed on Friday night with Bonnie Doon and Zakary Slax. 8 p.m., $8.

Lido Pimienta with JFM, Mas Aya and H. de Heutz at Mugshots, Saturday

Lido Pimienta is a musician and visual artist who most people would be hard-pressed to classify, and that's how she likes it. Originally from Barranquilla, Colombia but now based in Toronto, she's become one of the faces of a new movement of young Latin musicians making cutting-edge music on an international level.

Watching her music videos, Lido looks like a poster-girl for modern youth: neon animal prints, futuristic sunglasses and heavy-duty running shoes — and her experimental, loop-driven electronic bangers are a soundtrack for an internet generation.

On her forthcoming album, La Papessa, though, Lido takes a darker turn, with songs that explore her private challenges of starting a new life in Canada as a single mother, along with broader issues like colonization and gender inequality.

Lido Pimienta plays at Mugshots Saturday night. (Photo courtesy Blake MacFarlane)
You'll likely hear a few of those ones when Lido Pimienta brings her Afro-Colombian electro-pop rhythms to Mugshots on Saturday night, for CHUO/Weird Canada's regular "Fryquency" series. Also on the bill: JFM, Mas Aya and H. de Heutz. 9 p.m., PWYC.

Steve Adamyk Band with Tropical Dripps and Blue Angel at House of Targ, Saturday

Elsewhere on Saturday night, just the right distance from Mugshots to provide a refreshing bike ride, is a show at House of Targ. That's where Ottawa's power-pop boyfriend Steve Adamyk and his band are celebrating the release of their new album, Dial Tone.

Recorded in Oakland, California, the band's fourth LP in less than five years shows them hitting a well-earned stride, skillfully churning out punchy ditties about new love and long nights. It's been a busy year for the band in general. Aside from recording, the last year alone has seen the Steve Adamyk Band take on the American and Canadian west coasts and travel to Japan for four shows this past spring.

It's a lot of momentum for any band — but especially one whose members have their hands in a number of other busy Ottawa acts (Pregnancy Scares, Mother's Children). On Saturday, they'll be reaping some of the local love they sew with what I'm confident will be a packed show.

The Steve Adamyk Band play at House of Targ Saturday night. ((Courtesy Steve Adamyk Band))
Joining the Steve Adamyk Band at House of Targ are my favourite eccentric surf-punkers, Tropical Dripps, and perpetually-costumed femme rockers Blue Angel. 9 p.m., $6.

Music listings

Thursday, Aug. 7

  • Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra @ Black Sheep Inn, w/ Scattered Clouds, 8:30 p.m., $15.
  • The Latch Key Kids @ Mugshots, w/ Kenny Voita, Ikenna "Open Secret" Onyegbula, Aspects, 8:30 p.m., $5.
  • Robert Wannell Trio @ Raw Sugar Cafe, 8 p.m., $5.
  • Cory Levesque, Swissknife @ Rochester Pub, 8 p.m., PWYC.
  • Steve Hill @ Neat Coffee Shop, 8 p.m., $25.
  • Ron Hynes @ The Branch, 9 p.m., $25.
  • All-Stars Blues Thursdays @ Irene's, w/ Dave Schroeder, 9:30 p.m., free.
  • Reggae Night w/ Roots Movement @ The Rainbow, 9:30 p.m., $7.
  • Don K Duo @ Lowertown Brewery, 9:30 p.m., free.


  • The Bach Summit III @ Dominion-Chalmers United Church, 10am, $30.
  • Bach Bits and Bites @ Dominion-Chalmers United Church, 11:35am, free.
  • The Bach Summit IV @ Dominion-Chalmers United Church, 12 p.m., $30.
  • Cheng ² Duo @ National Gallery of Canada Auditorium , 3 p.m., $30.
  • Closing Night - The Brandenburg Concertos, 7 p.m., $35.

Friday, Aug. 8

  • Jay Arner @ Pressed, w/ Bonnie Doon, Zakary Slax, 8 p.m., $8.
  • Anthony Toner @ Black Sheep Inn, 8:30 p.m., $15.
  • Capital Grass & The No Men @ Irene's, w/ Dang Guilty, 9:30 p.m., $10.
  • Waters Edge @ Lowertown Brewery, 9:30 p.m., free.
  • The Powergoats @ Zaphod's, w/ Sal Piamonte, Torn Beloved, 8 p.m., $10.
  • The Frank James Experience @ The Rainbow, 4 p.m., free.
  • The Blue Moon Marquee @ The Rainbow, 9:30 p.m., $8.
  • Finding Chuck @ 8 Locks Flat, 7 p.m., free.
  • Whitechapel, Stick to Your Guns, Sworn In, Infiltration, Spaz Out, A Scar for the Wicked @ Ritual, 6 p.m., $25.
  • Alaskan @ House of Targ, w/ Loviatar, ZAUM, Kuato, Merdarahta, 9 p.m., $5.
  • Transmit: DJ Jason Pelletier & Paraphonique (live modular set) @ The Daily Grind, 9 p.m., free.
  • The Marrieds @ The Branch, 9 p.m., $10.

Saturday, Aug. 9

  • Lido Pimienta @ Mugshots, w/ JFM, Mas Aya, H. de Heutz, 9 p.m., PWYC.
  • Steve Adamyk Band @ House of Targ, w/ Tropical Dripps, Blue Angel, 9 p.m., $6.
  • Durham County Poets @ Black Sheep Inn, 8:30 p.m., $10.
  • Tommy Tonic @ The Rainbow, 4 p.m., free.
  • Ginger Fox Band @ The Rainbow, w/ The Voyageurs, Lost Cousins, 9:30 p.m., $10.
  • Waters Edge @ Lowertown Brewery, 9:30 p.m., free.
  • The Record Company @ Zaphod's, 8 p.m., $7.
  • Lynne Hanson & The Good Intentions @ Irene's, w/ The Marrieds, 9 p.m., $10.
  • Calum Graham @ The Branch, 9 p.m., $10.

Sunday, Aug. 10

  • Ryan Cook @ 8 Locks Flat, 4 p.m., free.
  • The Reveltones @ The Rainbow, 8:30 p.m., $5.
  • Tom Fagan & friends @ Irene's, 9:30 p.m., free.
  • .Gill and Mason @ Lowertown Brewery, 2:30 p.m., free.

Monday, Aug. 11

  • Sete Star Sept @ Cafe Dekcuf, w/ Sketchy Poutine, The Donner Party, Harsh Supplement, 9 p.m., $5.

Tuesday, Aug. 12

  • Propagandhi @ Ritual, w/ Rvivr, War on Women, 8 p.m., $23.50.
  • Old Haunt @ Raw Sugar Cafe, w/ Pacifique Bleu, Black Hairgrease, 8 p.m., $8 (PWYC).

Wednesday, Aug. 13

  • Dr. Dave's Jazz & Blues Review @ The Rainbow, 4 p.m., free.