live music

7 shows to see in the Ottawa area this week

L'Estrade, Blue Moon Marquee, the Vibrators and all Arboretum has to offer are the highlights of a busy week in local live music.

Arboretum and the People's Social Forum keep local venues busy

L'Estrade performs as part of the People's Social Forum on Thursday. (L'Estrade)

L'Estrade, Tintamare, Infrarouge, Robert Fusil, Norman Nawrocki and Break Syndical at The Rainbow, Thursday

L'Estrade is a young foursome with an affinity for smooth electronic beats, melancholy ambience and coy falsetto reminiscent of James Blake. Whereas Blake croons in a London accent and possesses an English brand of glumness, L'Estrade's soulful introspection is proudly Québécois.

The band's new EPL'Accalmie, (which translates to "The Lull") is the soundtrack to a grey day in Montreal's familiar haunts, and a confident first release from the band.

Thursday, they're bringing it to Ottawa for a show at The Rainbow, and not just any old show, either. It's a Quebec music showcase happening as part of the People's Social Forum; a massive gathering of tens of thousands of Canadians around issues of social justice and activism.

Over the next four days of its programming, the forum includes a long list of music showcases happening across the city with what seems like a deliberate effort to represent as many genres as possible, from hip hop to hardcore. Check the listings below for details on what's planned.

L'Estrade's show at The Rainbow also features Tintamare, Infrarouge, Robert Fusil, Norman Nawrocki and Break Syndical8 p.m., $5.

Blue Moon Marquee at the Neat Coffee Shop, Friday

Blue Moon Marquee are worth leaving the city to see on Friday. (Blue Moon Marquee)

If you're looking to start your weekend on a rugged, folky note — and have four wheels at your disposal — you might want to head out of the city on Friday for a night at the Neat Coffee Shop in Burnstown. They'll be hosting a duo from Alberta's rockies that combines old-school, farm-life blues with the rawness of a night of hard drinking in some dank bar.

Blue Moon Marquee is a pretty name for a band that sounds like sore knuckles and stale cigarettes, and it's a new one for them. Their last album was released under the banner of A.W. Cardinal, the name of the band's singer/guitarist. That didn't necessarily do Jasmine Colette justice, though; she's the other half of the duo, handling bass and drums.

Blue Moon Marquee's Waits-infused roots songs will be well-suited to the atmosphere at the Neat. You'll want to show up for doors at 7:30 p.m. in order to make sure you can grab a seat. $15.

Spotlight on Arboretum, Thursday/Friday/Saturday

I had a really, really hard time choosing which of the Arboretum shows to feature because they're all worth going to. Thursday, for example, you can catch Ought headlining a show at House of Targ with Fresh Snow, Blue Angel and Freelover Fenner. 

Friday, it's the Backlot BBQ at Arts Court with Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene, plus a couple of bands that make Ottawa proud: Hilotrons and The Yips. (I'm planning on making a beeline for the Kichesippi Beer and corn on the cob.) 

Constantines headline the day-long Arboretum show at Arts Court Saturday. (Sub Pop)

On Saturday, though, is a band that makes me nostalgic about the summer of 2006. That's the year I saw Constantines at the Hillside Festival in Guelph and was swept up in the headbang-worthy energy of songs like "Nighttime/Anytime (It's Alright)," and "Shine A Light."

That latter is the title of Constantines' 2003 album, which the band reissued this summer. In recent years, they haven't been doing much together, although they've kept busy separately (i.e. Bry Webb, Baby Eagle). However, to mark this 11th anniversary renaissance of Shine A Light, Constantines are hitting the road again.

They're the headlining act at Arts Court on Saturday, although the whole Arboretum lineup that day is great; as of 1 p.m. on Saturday you can also catch Pony Girl, Weaves, Lowell, Steve Adamyk Band, Chad VanGaalen and Fiftymen. Then, MORE bands take it from there over at Gabba Hey for an album release/Euro tour kick-off party for Ottawa's New Swears, who'll be joined by WTCHS, The Dirty Nil and Greys.

Full Arboretum Festival passes are $50.

The Vibrators, Voicemail, Chloroform at House of Targ, Monday

One last show to talk about this week — and this one's actually NEXT week. It involves a classic British punk rock band from the late '70s, back when double entendres and cheeky band names were having their heyday.

British punk rockers The Vibrators have made one what one encyclopedia calls one of the best 50 punk records ever. (Neus Ruiz)

Out of London came The Vibrators, a snot-nosed threesome who walked the line between poppy punk and classic rock 'n' roll. Despite not having a long string of big hits, the band made a name for themselves supporting the likes of Iggy Pop on tour and releasing successful singles like "Baby Baby" and "Judy Says (Knock You In the Head)." Their 1977 album Pure Mania is named by The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music as one of the 50 best punk records of all time.

Nearly 40 years later, The Vibrators are still touring, albeit with a slightly different lineup than their original incarnation. You'll still be witnessing a piece of punk history if you drop by House of Targ on Monday night. They'll be playing with Voicemail and Chloroform. 9 p.m., $8.


Thursday, Aug. 21

  • People's Social Forum @ The Rainbow w/ L'Estrade, Tintamare, Infrarouge, Robert Fusil, Norman Nawrocki, Break Syndical. 8 p.m., $5.
  • People's Social Forum @ Celtic Cross Pub & Eatery w/ Kat/Alec Mead, Pina, Vivadarling, No Fly List. 9 p.m., $5.
  • People's Social Forum​ @ Maxwell's Bistro w/ Prufrock & JustJamaal, P-Rime the Sage, Jersey Light, Isaac Bond, Aspects, DMTeaHawk, Soul Fistikato & Dane Swan a.k.a. D.C., DJ Jets. 9 p.m., $7.
  • Arboretum Music Festival @ House of Targ w/ Ought, Fresh Snow, Blue Angel, FreeloveFenner. 9 p.m., $10.
  • All-Stars Blues Thursdays @ Irene's w/ Jason & Caroline. 9:30 p.m., free.
  • Bluesfest Bluesprint Series @ Festival House w/Lora Bidner, The Brook. 8 p.m., $5.
  • Lindi Ortega @ Neat Coffee Shop. 7:30 p.m., $25.

Friday, Aug. 22

  • Blue Moon Marquee @ Neat Coffee Shop. 7:30 p.m., $15.
  • Arboretum Music Festival @ Arts Court w/ Kevin Drew, Hilotrons, The Yips. 8 p.m., $12 (free w/ $50 festival pass).
  • The Digs @ Black Sheep Inn w/ DJ Ruby Jane. 8:30 p.m., $10.
  • People's Social Forum @ Irene's w/ The Sick Sick Sicks, Norman Nawrocki. 9:30 p.m., $5.
  • People's Social Forum @ Celtic Cross Pub & Eatery w/ Byron, Davey Brat, Bad Road. 9 p.m., $5.
  • People's Social Forum @ Studio Cafe w/ Dynamite Motel, Natalia & Tony, Moonfruits. 8 p.m., $5.
  • The Randypeters @ Zaphod's. 8 p.m., $12.
  • Barbatos, Gatekrashor, Metalian, Occult Burial @ House of Targ. 9 p.m., $10.
  • Doug Henry Love Fest @ The Branch. 8 p.m., Pay What You Can.

Saturday, Aug. 23

  • Arboretum Music Festival @ Arts Court w/ Constantines, Fiftymen, Chad VanGaalen, Steve Adamyk Band, Lowell, Weaves, Pony Girl. 1 p.m., $30 (free w/ $50 festival pass).
  • Arboretum Music Festival @ Gabba Hey w/ New Swears, WTCHS, The Dirty Nil, Greys. 10 p.m., $10 (free w/ $50 festival pass).
  • Ukrainia @ House of Targ. 9 p.m., $5.
  • Zvi, Cetacea, Topon Das, Mark Molnar @ Black Squirrel Books. 8:30 p.m., $8 (PWYC)
  • A Hard Day's Night, 50 Years Later @ Greenfields Pub & Eatery w/ Jonesey & The GreyTones. 9:30 p.m., $5.
  • Barnstorm Music Festival @ 15328 Concession 3-4 (Finch) w/ Ray Harris & The BSOBs, Big Jeezus Truck, Saint Clare, R.W. Haller, Lynne Hanson, The Sick Sick Sicks. 5 p.m., $25 (gates open at noon).
  • Brock Zeman @ Black Sheep Inn w/ Gordie Tentrees. 8:30 p.m., $15.
  • Lucky Ron @ The Laffayette. 4 p.m., free.
  • Tall Trees @ Knox Presbyterian w/ Tasty Susan, The Young Offenders. 6:45 p.m., $10.
  • People's Social Forum @ Cafe Nostalgica w/ Babylon Warchild, Savage Fam, Test Their Logik, Lee Reed, Kay the Aquanaut, ¡Alas!, Kill the Autocrat. 9 p.m., $10 (PWYC).
  • People's Social Forum @ Celtic Cross Pub & Eatery w/ LAL, Kojo the Pianoman, Slim Moore. 9 p.m., $7.
  • People's Social Forum @ Atomic Rooster w/ Tindervox, Emmas Ringer. 10 p.m., PWYC.
  • People's Social Forum @ Lunenburg Pub w/ Let It Flow, Jeremy Murphy. 8 p.m., $5.
  • People's Social Forum @ Irene's w/ Three Little Birds, John Carroll, Byron. 9 p.m., $5.
  • People's Social Forum @ Mavericks w/ Brat Attack, INIMIA, The Visit, Elementals. 9 p.m., $7.
  • 25th Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Competition @ Algonquin Commons Theatre. Afternoon Prelim: 11:30 a.m., $22.60. Finals: 6:30 p.m., $39.55.
  • Pat LePoidevin @ Raw Sugar Cafe w/ Dog Is Blue, Field Museum. 8:30 p.m., $8.
  • Drew Nelson Band @ Atomic Rooster. 4 p.m., free.
  • Lapsaria @ Pressed w/ Exits, Sombre, RATS. 8 p.m., $6.
  • Freakfest @ Capital Fairground w/ Ambrosia Famine, No Plans for Chaos, Gnarly Brown, 7 Inch Slave, Project Mars, Minds of Men, King Swan, Pursue the Empire, Scarecrowz, A Scar for the Wicked, Cycle of 12, Mosley, Claudia, A Darker Day, My Shadow. 12 p.m., free.

Sunday, Aug. 24

  • Amanda Bon & Gilles Leclerc @ 8 Locks Flat. 4 p.m., free.
  • People's Social Forum @ Cafe Nostalgica w/ ALAN, Testament, Kool Krys, Ant.Loc. 8 p.m., PWYC.
  • Jesse Greene Band @ Atomic Rooster. 6 p.m., free.
  • Wicked Grin @ Atomic Rooster. 10 p.m., free.

Monday, Aug. 25

  • The Vibrators @ House of Targ w/ Voicemail, Chloroform. 9 p.m., $8.

Tuesday, Aug. 26

  • Steely Dan @ NAC Southam Hall. 8 p.m., $63.
  • Octoberman @ Raw Sugar Cafe w/ Winchester Warm. 8 p.m., $8.
  • Dead Broke, Toque, Merdarahta, Uncle Ray @ Avant-Garde. 9 p.m., $5

About the Author

Jessa Runciman

Associate Producer

Jessa Runciman is an associate producer with CBC Ottawa, and an avid music fan and show-goer. You can follow her on Twitter @jessarunciman.