Top 4 live shows to see in Ottawa-Gatineau this weekend

Her Harbour, Hilotrons, Jean Grae and Walrus are the top picks for Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights.

Her Harbour, Kandle and more at Festival de l'Outaouais Émergent, Thursday night

Cargo Culte play at the Festival de l'Outaouais Emergent in Hull on Thursday night. (Jean-Francois Cyr)
Starting Thursday, Hull comes alive with musical performances and art installations for the seventh edition of the Festival de l'Outaouais Émergent. It's happening at La Fonderie at 211 Montcalm St., although a variety of surrounding bars and restaurants are set to host events over four days.

Besides the fact that it's got a weighty lineup (Half Moon Run, Les Trois Accords and AlexandreDesilets, to name a few) one of the best aspects of FOE is that you don't have to miss one show in favour of another. For the most part, the events follow each other from one venue to the next over the course of a night.

For example, on Thursday evening you can catch Ottawa's own Her Harbour, followed by Kandle, Mr. Rubber Finger, Cafeine, Cargo Culte and Corps a Corps at four different locations between 6:30 p.m. and last call. In that sense, not only are you experiencing a range of performers; you're also interacting with Gatineau on a bit of a cultural tour.

Day passes range from $15-$30 depending on the day, and a full festival pass is $45. On that note, it's worth checking out the full lineup at

The Split, Hilotrons @ The Record Centre, Friday night

Mike Dubue of Hilotrons plays at The Record Centre opening on Friday night. (Rémi Thériault)
It's a big weekend for The Record Centre. On Friday, they're celebrating the grand opening of their new location in Hintonburg, right next door to the old location in Hintonburg.

The new digs are at 1099 Wellington St. W, and what better way to break in the new shop than to hold a party with a soundtrack by two of The Record Centre's favourite bands?

The Split will funk things up at around 6:30 p.m. with their achingly soulful mojo-pop. Then, the explosive vocals continue when Mike Dubue picks up the mic for the Hilotrons' set at 8 p.m. — as always, a surefire way to get musical goosebumps. The Record Centre's shopwarming party starts at 4 p.m. with DJs, door prizes and cookies.

Jean Grae and more @ House of PainT, Friday night

Jean Grae headlines the House of PainT Festival on Friday night. (Craig Carpenter)
Once you've digested your baked goods at The Record Centre, there's another party worth visiting this weekend in a slightly unconventional and completely idyllic urban hangout.

All weekend long you can experience the four pillars of hip-hop at the Dunbar Bridge (underneath Bronson Avenue, near Carleton University), during the annual House of PainT festival. That means graffiti artists, breakdancers, DJs and MCs, all rolled into one family-friendly block party.

There's a long list of musical talent this year, but one highlight is Jean Grae. She's a Brooklyn-based hip-hop artist who's highly regarded around the world, but who's had to deal with her share of uphill battles, like being referred to as a "femcee," a gendered term that takes attention away from the fact that she's a great talent regardless of being female or male. Jean's fans are fiercely loyal, though, and TalibKweli has called her "one of the last true MCs left."

Besides being a prolific rapper, she's also known for her sense of humour and quirky personality. She publishes audio books and even has an online sitcom called "Life with Jeannie." Jean Grae is headlining House of PainT on Friday night, and she's also the keynote speaker at the festival's Knowledge Conference happening at Arts Court on Saturday.

This is another festival with a lot to take in between Thursday and Sunday, from local hip hop duo Buck 'n' Nice to traditional First Nation dancers and drummers, so it's best to visit to do some homework. To catch Jean Grae and the other Friday performers at House of PainT, it's $20 at the door and things kick off at 5 p.m.

Walrus, Auras @ Mugshots Courtyard, Saturday night

Walrus play at Mugshots on Saturday night. (Facebook)
Even between the two festivals I've mentioned there's a lot to take in this weekend, but I'll likely find myself at the Mugshots Courtyard on Saturday night. It wasn't a fluke that Exclaim's most recent issue named the jail bar one of the "Far Out 5" venue gems in Canada in its annual Hangout Handbook, thanks to its unique history and eerie rock-out nights.

On Saturday's bill, a band named in part because its members are big Beatles fans. If Halifax's Walrus does bear some relation to the Egg Man variety, then you get a sense of the poppy psychedelia that infuses the band's music. Walrus will be joined by Auras, from Cambridge, who'll bring their own brand of spaciness to the show at 9 p.m.


Thursday, Sept. 4

  • Her Harbour, Kandle, Mr. Rubber Finger, Cafeine, Cargo Culte, Corps a Corps @ Festival del'Outaouais Emergent (La Fonderie; various venues),, 6:30 p.m., $20 day pass, $45 festival pass
  • Trees of North America, Saint Clare, Dead Bees @ House of Targ, 9 p.m., $5
  • Battle Trance @ Mugshots, 8 p.m., $8
  • Lakes of Canada @ Mercury Lounge w/ Erin SaorseAdair, 8:30 p.m., $10
  • Reggae Night w/ Roots Movement @ The Rainbow, 9 p.m., $7
  • All-Stars Blues Thursdays @ Irene's w/ Al Wood, 9:30 p.m., free

Friday, Sept. 5

  • Hilotrons, The Split @ The Record Centre, 8 p.m., free
  • House of PainT Festival @ Dunbar Bridge w/ Jean Grae, EMC ft. Masta Ace, Dopplegangaz, Rich Kidd, Monk E, Rita Carter, DJ 2 Creamz and more,, 5 p.m., $15 adv, $20 door
  • Half Moon Run, Antoine Gratton, Madball, Gabriella Hook, AlexandreDesilets, DominiqHamel, Vander, After the Funeral, Corps a Corps @ Festival del'Outaouais Emergent (La Fonderie; various venues),, 5 p.m., $30 day pass, $45 festival pass
  • Ivan @ Atomic Rooster, 9 p.m., free
  • Grade @ Cafe Dekcuf w/ Sidelines, Sparrows, 8 p.m., $13
  • Tomb Dream, The Faps, Bikini @ Avant Garde, 9 p.m., $8
  • The Visit @ Pressed w/ Musk Ox, Nichole Lefebvre, 8 p.m., $10-20 (sliding scale)
  • Skull Fist, Midnight Malice, Metalian @ Mavericks, 8 p.m., $10
  • Bad Uncle, Riishi Von Rex @ House of Targ, 9 p.m., $5

Saturday, Sept. 6

  • Walrus, The Aurus @ Mugshots, 9 p.m., PWYC
  • The Mud Boys @ Atomic Rooster, 4 p.m., free
  • Motionless in White @ Ritual w/ Of Reverie, Of Burning Empires, Greylights, 6:30 p.m., $22.50
  • The Guggenheimer Quintet @ House of Targ, 9 p.m., $5
  • Milk & Bone, Klo Pelgag, Les Trois Accords, Alaclair Ensemble, Dead Obies, Bass Ma Boom Sound System, Deux Pouilles en Cavale, Charabia, Corps a Corps @ Festival de l'Outaouais Emergent (La Fonderie; various venues),, 6:30 p.m., $20 day pass, $45 festival pass
  • House of PainT Festival @ Dunbar Bridge w/ Ikebe Shakedown, First Nation traditional dancers & drummers, Buck 'n' Nice, Shariq Devante, Missing Linx and more,, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., $5 (PWYC), 5 p.m.-11 p.m. $5

Sunday, Sept. 7

  • Inimal, The Dying Arts, Eldorado, We Are Wolves, IllScarlett @ Festival de l'Outaouais Emergent (La Fonderie; various venues),, 6 p.m., $15 day pass, $45 festival pass
  • Zydeco Loco @ Atomic Rooster, 6 p.m., free
  • Rockin' Jimmy Cockran @ Atomic Rooster, 10 p.m., free

Tuesday, Sept. 9

  • Modern Baseball @ Mavericks w/ I Am The Avalanche, Beach Slang, Neighbours, 7 p.m., $15

Wednesday, Sept. 10

  • Ottawa Folk Festival @ Hog's Back Park w/ Foster the People, Blues Traveler, M. Ward, Timekode, We Are Monroe, 6 p.m., $45 ($129 festival pass)

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.