Geoff Berner @ The Black Sheep Inn on Friday, 8:30 p.m., $10
Geoff Berner's latest album, We Are Going to Bremen to Be Musicians, is loosely inspired by the German folk story about four animals who run away from their master in the hopes of playing music in the city.
You won't need to listen to the songs more than once, though, to find the heavy political themes that have contributed to the author/singer/accordion-player's cult following. A member of the Klezmer Bund movement, Berner uses klezmer music and dynamic storytelling to celebrate his Jewish identity in a way that's accessible to a wide range of listeners.
He'll perform at the Black Sheep Inn on Friday night, alongside Orkestar Kriminal.
The Young Offenders @ Black Squirrel Books on Friday, 9:30 p.m., $8
From Kriminals — to The Young Offenders. The latter is a raucous band that got its start several years ago, when its members were in their teens.
At the time of their debut on the Ottawa scene, The Young Offenders dubbed their vibe "a bit of punk, a bit of swing, a bit of grunge and a couple of White Stripes/Arctic Monkeys rips" — but since then, the songs have grown with the band. The singles The Young Offenders have released from their upcoming album, Objay Dart, suggest a heavier, more refined take on the group's post-punk sound.
They'll play some of those new songs during their set at Black Squirrel Books on Friday. Montreal's stellar Five Eyes is also on the bill.
Kings Quest @ House of TARG on Friday, 9 p.m., $6 ($8 after 10 p.m.)
Elsewhere in the city, other live music events make Friday night a busy one for venue-hoppers.
BADBADNOTGOOD returns to Ottawa for a performance at the Algonquin Commons Theatre, sound-artists Pierre-Yves Martel and Ben Grossman take to the Gallery Recording Studio for a set of improvised music, and Irene's Pub kicks off a weekend-long celebration of rhythm & blues.
At House of Targ, Ottawa's Kings Quest is set to share its blend of shimmering, dreamy guitar-rock as part of a stacked line-up of complementary bands.
Besides Kings Quest, expect the likes of Lush Buffalo, Bowmanville's Tijuana Jesus, and a headlining set by Toronto's Little Junior — not to mention locals New Swears behind the turntables.
Claude Munson @ Atomic Rooster on Saturday, 4 p.m., free
If you've spent all your energy reserves on Friday night — not to fear. A show on Saturday afternoon at Atomic Rooster promises to be recuperative.
It features a stripped-down set by Ottawa's own Claude Munson, whose expert songwriting I've described here in the past with words like "heartfelt," "exuberant" and "one-of-a-kind."
Like all shows at the Rooster, this one is free, making it all the more enticing to drop by between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and catch Munson's imaginative balladry live. According to Facebook, there'll even be a spare guitar on hand for adventurous would-be jammers.