live music

CBC picks Atherton, Suuns, Calvin Love, Mounties in Ottawa area

In this week's music picks for the Ottawa-Gatineau area, Jessa Runciman fills in for Amanda Putz and says Atherton, Suuns, Calvin Love and Mounties are the shows to see. She also provides all this week's listings for the region.
Atherton is doing a tour of Ottawa, Montreal, Peterborough and Toronto to get a taste of the foodie culture in each city, and then play a show. (Devin Atherton/Facebook)

Atherton w/ Dezmatic and Been Grim @ Pressed on Friday at 8 p.m., $10

Atherton is a born and bred Ottawan who's all about supporting his community whether that means hosting hip-hop karaoke nights, featuring local musicians on his tracks or shedding a spotlight on the city's food scene. You might not have guessed rap to be well suited to a charred mirliton with quinoa and sunflower seeds … but you would've been wrong. Along with two New York rappers, Dezmatic and Benn Grim, Atherton is doing a tour of Ottawa, Montreal, Peterborough and Toronto to get a taste of the foodie culture in each city, and then play a show. 

On Friday at Pressed, visitors will not only get to see some great indie rappers perform, they’ll also hear reviews of Oz, Union, El Camino and Erling's Variety, complete with a slideshow of the sampled dishes. The whole gastronomic journey will even be documented on Twitter, @forkandknifetour. Atherton, Dezmatic and Benn Grim will be joined on Friday by a handful of other rappers from New York and Ottawa, including locals Flight Distance, who'll be opening.

Suuns @ Black Sheep Inn w/ Scattered Clouds, Saturday at 8:30 p.m., $12

There's a lot happening around town on Saturday in all sorts of venues like Gallery 101, where Guerilla Magazine is launching its 10th anniversary print edition to the smooth sounds of Moonfruits and Gillian Kirkland. Then there's what I'm positive will be a sold-out show by Silkken Laumann at Gabba Hey, a formerly discreet warehouse venue in the City Centre.

Let's keep things a little more au natural, though, and talk about the trek you can make to the Black Sheep Inn to see Suuns. The Montreal band gets its name from the Thai word for zero, but they added an "S" on the end to make it plural and consequently a little nonsensical. Whether that was deliberate or not, having a name with an impossible state of being isn't unsuited to the spacey, brooding psychedelia of the songs this band makes. You might actually be familiar with Suuns without knowing it. Their song, "2020," was used in the Ryan Gosling movie Only God Forgives, and it plays in the background of a Nike commercial featuring Kobe Bryant. Suuns will be playing with one of my favourite local bands to see live, Scattered Clouds.

Calvin Love w/ Theaternia @ Club SAW, Saturday at 10 p.m., $10

Also in town on Saturday night is a handsome crooner from Edmonton: Calvin Love, armed with a retro keyboard and enough bedroom pop compositions to get any fan of the Human League swaying from side to side. Lots of things push people to write music. For Calvin it was a circumstance that everyone in Ottawa can relate to: being cooped up indoors, trying to hang on through a cold, dark winter that seems to never end. The winter blues led Calvin to write songs like, "The Cold Winter," "Waiting On You" and "Bring Back the Summer," and to stir up enough buzz to book a tour far away from the Alberta cold and into the south-western United States.

That escape couldn't last forever, though. Calvin Love will be in our chilly city on Saturday to get cold feet stomping to the beat of his drum machine at Club SAW. Ottawa's own Theaternia is the opener. 10p.m., $10.

Mounties w/ The Zolas, James Younger at Mavericks, Wednesday at 8 p.m., $17.50

Seeing as the music column happens on Thursdays, we tend to forget about Wednesdays so here's a hump-day happening to mark in your calendar for next week, featuring a triad of top-notch Canadian music men. Take Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat), Ryan Dahle (Limblifter, Age of Electric) and throw Hawksley Workman behind a drum kit, and you get Mounties. They first hit it off making small talk at the Junos in 2009 and that chance meeting eventually led to a recording session between Hawksley, Ryan and Steve that was completely improvised over two weeks.

The fruits of that experiment are something CBC Radio 3 says just might be one of the most Canadian-sounding bands ever. I don't know what it means to sound Canadian, but Mounties are totally catchy and completely different from what you'd hear from the band's individual members. Wednesday's show is at Mavericks, alongside The Zolas and James Younger.



  • All-Stars Blues Thursdays @ Irene's w/ guest host Steve Groves, 9 p.m., free
  • Green & Gold @ Raw Sugar w/ Patrick Shank, 8 p.m., $8
  • The Head and the Heart @ The Bronson Centre w/ Basia Bulat, 7 p.m., $29.50​
  • Smoota @ Zaphod's, 8p.m., $7
  • Andrew W.K. @ Mavericks w/ We Were Sharks, Robots! Everywhere! 9 p.m., $20
  • Reggae Night w/ Roots Movement @ The Rainbow, 11:30 p.m., $7
  • Lunch at Allen's @ Neat Food in Burnstown, Ont., 7:30 p.m., $65


  • Atherton, Dezmatic & Benn Grim @ Pressed, w/ Flight Distance, 8 p.m., $10
  • Mother's Children @ Luneta w/ Flying Fortress, Hassler, 8 p.m., $5
  • Ian Kelly @ Shenkman Arts Centre, 8 p.m., $33.50
  • Wildlife @ Zaphod's w/ Fire and Neon, Farewell Davidson, 8:30 p.m., $10
  • Amos the Transparent @ Black Sheep Inn w/ Hands & Teeth, 8 p.m., $10
  • B.A. Johnston @ Irene's w/ Yuma County, Saint Clair, 9 p.m., $8
  • J.W. Jones @ The Rainbow, 9:30 p.m., $12
  • Pro Organo Ottawa organ recital @ Eglise Ste-Anne/Saint Clement's Church ft. John Grew, 8 p.m., $20
  • Kelly McMichael & The Gloss @ Raw Sugar w/ Jon Hynes, 8 p.m., $7
  • Walrus and Chairs @ Cafe Alt, 9 p.m., $5
  • Alex Cuba @ Neat Food in Burnstown, 7:30 p.m., $40


  • Calvin Love @ Club SAW w/ Theaternia, 10 p.m., $10
  • Suuns @ Black Sheep Inn w/ Scattered Clouds, 8:30 p.m., $12
  • Silkken Laumann @ Gabba Hey w/ Matt Tamblyn, Cabaal, 10 p.m., $8
  • Highs @ Zaphod's w/ King's Quest, Sea Change, 8 p.m., $7
  • Young Running @ Irene's, w/ Whiskey Fields, 9:30 p.m., $10
  • Trent Severn @ NAC Fourth Stage, 7:30 p.m., $25
  • Rankin Yout & the Dub Pilots @ The Rainbow, 9:30 p.m., $10
  • Don Ross @ Neat Food in Burnstown, 7:30 p.m., $25


  • Catherine MacLellan & Jonathan Byrd @ Black Sheep Inn, 4:20 p.m., $20
  • Open Blues Jam @ The Rainbow w/ host: River City Junction, 4 p.m., $3
  • Mark Harrison @ The Rainbow, 8:30p.m., $5
  • The Lemon Squeeze @ Irene's, 8:30p.m., free


  • Mounties @ Mavericks w/ The Zolas, James Younger, 8 p.m., $17.50

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.