The Wooden Sky, Whitebrow among Amanda Putz's Ottawa concert picks
Anique Granger @ NAC Fourth Stage, Thurs., April 3
Anique Granger is a fleur-de-lis, une fleur-de-lis de la prairie to be specific. To be even more specific, she's Fransaskois. I have yet to meet a francophone Saskatchewanian I don't love, and with a voice like Anique's, what's not to like?
AniqueGranger is not only blessed with good pipes, she's got great hands. The kind of hands that not only play a guitar with panache but play a guitar she built with the same hands.
She's a luthier and a lyricist, and she's playing the NAC Presents Series tonight at the Fourth Stage, 7:30 p.m., tickets start at $22.
The Wooden Sky @ Ritual, Fri., April 4
Though the corner of Elgin and Queen is the place to be Thursday night, I recommend heading to Besserer and Dalhousie, second floor on Friday. Although it has been known to be a BYOTP venue... Ritual Nightclub makes up in on-stage talent what it lacks in toilet paper. Friday night one of my favourite Canadian bands of the past 10 years is coming to town.
Individually they hail from towns as diverse as Morden, Man., to Cobourg, Ont., and various stops in between, but collectively the quartet calls Toronto home.
The Wooden Sky wooed me back when they were still called Friday Morning's Regret — despite the fact they were called Friday Morning's Regret.
With the emergence of the tune Wooden Sky came the new moniker and a series of albums that has yet to disappoint. The band has just finished recording a new one, and although it's not out yet The Wooden Sky are doing a few dates to shake off the concert cobwebs.
When I last saw the band at Mavericks, they came down offstage for their encore and performed unplugged, forming a circle in the middle of the audience. You could have heard a piece of gum drop it was so quiet and reverential.
I have no doubt there will be similar shenanigans Friday night at Ritual, with opening bands The Wilderness of Manitoba and Dusted, which is Brian Borcherdt's project outside of Holy F--k.
Whitebrow @ The Branch, Kemptville, Sat., April 5
I became smitten by this next band upon first listen, for the same reasons as the previous one: sparse, intimate instrumentation and fruit-forward in the lyrics department.
In the tune "Ain't Going Home" (which you can stream on CBC Music) an upright bass gives a lonesome feeling under Gabriel DeSantis's Timber-Timbresque vocals. You can almost hear the ghosts of the War of 1812 leaning on their graves.
Whitebrow is local singer-songwriter Gabriel DeSantis. He recorded his last batch of tunes in a centuries-old church on the outskirts of Burlington.
The cemetery beyond holds the graves of soldiers from that aforementioned war, and aside from the highway, they were the band's only companions during the recording process.
Whitebrow hits The Branch in Kemptville Saturday night, $6 at the door.
The Yips @ Gabba Hey, Sat., April 5
Option number two is another local act, The Yips.
The Yips' music is great, and I recommend playing it loudly (again, on CBC Music) but first I must do a public service announcement that involves the band. On their Facebook page they re-posted a Craiglist "Missed Connections" ad that involved their February show at Mugshots.
In the interests of love and hope springing eternal for one random dude, read more:
"You approached me in Mugshots bar while The Yips were playing and told me you remembered me from a show several months back. I replied with what I remember to be bashfulness but what was most likely drunken slob talk... "
You can click above to read it all, but basically the person goes on to say that he or she declined the petite brunette in the checkered shirt's invite to go to Elgin St Diner, deeming it best to go home and sober up. That decision is now regretted.
If the black-toqued Yips-fan is reading, love may still be waiting for you on Craigslist.
The Yips are another local band who've thrown their amps in the ring of CBC Music's Searchlight competition. That's of course the hunt for Canada's Next Big Musical thing and you can hear more about it daily on the afternoon radio show All In a Day with Alan Neal or on Bandwidth with me Saturdays at 5 p.m.
Hopefully the missed connection manages to connect at another Yips show.
Saturday the band plays with Legato Vipers, Monomyth, and Nap Eyes at Gabba Hey, which CBC producer Jessa Runciman described so perfectly last week as "the formerly discreet warehouse venue in the City Centre."
Things get indiscreet at 9 p.m.
Laurent Bourque @ The Blacksheep Inn, Wakefield, Sat., April 5
There is another Searchlight contender on the must-see list, but something very different from The Yips.
That wrap-around-the-birth-certificate handle might be a bit much for the chalkboard marquee at the Sheep, so perhaps they can just write "L-Bo" (I learned through the magic of a Sprinterview that it is Laurent Bourque's nickname).
JessaRunciman speed-interviewed him a couple weeks ago for Bandwidth and he was utterly charming, which isn't hard to imagine when you hear him do his self-proclaimed "singer-songwritery" thing.
Memories is the name of the tune he's submitted for Searchlight. It's from his new album Pieces of Your Past.
If you're sensing a theme, you're right on the mark. The record is indeed an "end of relationship" album, as some of the best ones are.
He's celebrating its release at his favourite venue in the world, The Blacksheep Inn, Saturday night with Robin Moir opening.
Amanda Putz is Ottawa Morning's music columnist and the host of Bandwidth, which you can hear Saturdays at 5 p.m. here on 91.5 FM.
Weekend music listings
Thursday, April 3
- Live Rock Karaoke w/ The Gargleblasters @ Zaphod Beeblebrox, 8:30 p.m., $6.
- Anique Granger @ NAC Fourth Stage, 7:30 p.m., $22+.
- Irene's All Stars Blues Thursdays with guest host Missy Burgess + Ann Downey @ Irene's Pub, 9:30 p.m., no cover.
- Martyn Joseph in Concert @ The Blacksheep Inn, 8:30, $15.
Friday, April 4
- The Wooden Sky + Dusted + The Wilderness Of Manitoba @ Ritual, 10 p.m., $15.
- Mike Essoundry's Mash Potato Mashers @ Irene's Pub, 9:30 p.m., $10.
- Not Really + The Fays + NO + The Sangomas @ Avante Garde Bar, 9 p.m., $tbd.
- Catriona Sturton @ Raw Sugar Cafe, 8 p.m., $tbd.
- Black Pirahna (MTL) + Moon Destroyer + Death Bop Trio @ Pressed Cafe, 8 p.m., $5-10 sliding scale.
- Main Street Market Band @ The Branch, Kemptville, $10.
- Mac DeMarco + Amen Dunes + Juan Wuaters @ The Blacksheep Inn, 8:30, SOLD OUT.
Saturday, April 5
- Flying Fox & The Hunter Gatherers @ NAC [CANCELLED].
- Dusty Drifters: Dark and Stormy @ Babylon, 317 Bank St., Ottawa ON 8:00 p.m.
- Sound of Lions + Flying Horses @ Zaphod Beeblebrox, 8:30 p.m., $5.
- The Yips + Legato Vipers + Monomyth + Nap Eyes @ Gabba Hey, 9 p.m., $tbd.
- GOOD2GO + Life Size Men @ Irene's Pub, 9:30 p.m., $10.
- Garbageface + Unexplained Bacon + Olivia and the Creepy Crawlies + OLCD @ Avante Garde Bar, 9 p.m., $tbd.
- Andre & Michel (Album release) @ Raw Sugar Cafe, 8 p.m. doors, $5.
- Processor + Mark Molnar + Topon Das @ Pressed Cafe, 8 p.m., $tbd.
- Carleton University Choir: Requiem by Gabriel Faure accompanied by orchestra, with soloists Julia Brown and Jack Harries @ Centretown United Church, 507 Bank, 7:30 p.m., $10-20.
- Steve Berndt Trio @ Options Bar, Brookstreet Hotel, 525 Legget Drive, 8 p.m., no cover.
- Whitebrow @ The Branch, Kemptville, 9 p.m., $6.
- Laurent Bourque (CD Release) + Robin Moir @ The Blacksheep Inn, 8:30 p.m., $10 adv.
- DJ Dave @ Kaffe 1870, Wakefield.
- Sarah Slean @ Neat Cafe, Burnstown, 7:30 p.m., SOLD OUT.
Sunday, April 6
- Megan Landry (The Next Stage by Spirit of Rasputins) @ Pressed Urban Gourmet Sandwich Bar, 750 Gladstone Ave, 3 p.m., Pass-the-hat.
- Cloud of Rock @ Irene's Pub, 8:30 p.m., no cover.
- Buddy Guy @ Centrepointe Theatre, 7:30 p.m., SOLD OUT (2nd show added Monday).
- Ian Tamblyn @ The Blacksheep Inn, 4 p.m., $15 adv.
Monday, April 7
- Buddy Guy @ Centrepointe Theatre, 7:30 p.m., $82+.
- Exalt + Old Wounds + Contempt @ Luneta Cafe, 7:30 p.m., $10.