Top 4 music picks for Ottawa this weekend

This week's top picks for live performances in Ottawa include Century Palm, The Visit, Catriona Sturton, Fuad & The Feztone and The Stand GT.

Century Palm, Voicemail @ House of TARG, Friday, 9 p.m., $5

If Century Palm was my soundtrack to the coming year, I'd feel OK about the future. They're celebratory, a little nostalgic, and with just enough eccentricity not to betray their catchiness. Despite being based in Toronto, the band has Ottawa roots in its frontman, Andrew Payne, who local show-goers might recognize from his Ottawa-based art-punk band Zebrassieres. Like that project, Century Palm has a similar upbeat, Devo-esque energy, but maybe with a hint of something edgier in its slightly slower pace and raw guitars. That grit might be thanks to a number of Century Palm's members from veteran Toronto garage outfit Ketamines. The band is making its Ottawa debut on Friday night with a show at House of TARG. With Voicemail sharing the bill, you can bet it'll be a night of satisfying, quality power-pop.

The Visit, Musk Ox, Please Spring! @ Pressed, Friday, 7:30 p.m., $10

The Visit are playing Pressed on Friday night. (Shankari River)
Let's go now from straight-ahead bands that punch the poppy depths of your bread basket to the atmosphere at Pressed on Friday night, where three progressive acoustic acts will be sharing their sprawling, intense arrangements. One of them is Ottawa's own The Visit, made up of cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne and vocalist Heather Sita Black, who create auditory epics that blend classical music with Middle Eastern influences, and even a bit of metal for good measure. This is music made for the dead of winter, and Friday's show at Pressed seems to have been put together with that in mind. Joining The Visit on the bill is Berlin's Please Spring! -- enchanting instrumentals by guitar and violin. Plus, there's Musk Ox, a local progressive chamber trio of which Weinroth-Browne is also a member. Stirring performances for a cold night.

Catriona Sturton @ Raw Sugar w/ Kaitlyn Zarzour, Saturday, 8 p.m., $10

Catriona Sturton plays Raw Sugar on Saturday night. (
If you planned ahead and got tickets to see Bahamas at the Bronson Centre on Saturday before they sold out, now's the time to pat yourself on the back. Otherwise, there are lots of other places worth a hangout on Saturday, including Raw Sugar, where you can join Catriona Sturton in celebrating the release of her debut album. That's correct; despite being a fixture in the Ottawa music scene, this is the first time Sturton has collected a bunch of songs and released them as a solo album. The result is Bumble Bee, a stripped-down showcase of Catriona's stellar harmonica playing, sparse guitar and aching voice. Next month will see Catriona travel to Nashville, then she's got an American tour in the spring followed by Italy in the fall, so seize the opportunity to catch her in town before she starts disappearing. Catriona Sturton's Raw Sugar show will also feature Oshawa musician Kaitlyn Zarzour.

Fuad & The Feztones @ Irene's w/ The Stand GT, The Sir John A. Macdonalds, 9:30 p.m., $10

Fuad & The Feztones are playing Irene's on Saturday night. (Allison Cordner)
Irene's Pub is always a good place to hit the dance floor, but on Saturday it'll feature a particularly dance-worthy headlining set by some advocates of old school rock 'n' roll, by way of the Nile. Take some classic party vibes, some Egyptian scales and throw in a bit of saxitude, and you get Montreal's self-proclaimed "favourite Egyptian frat band," Fuad and The Feztones. The band is made up of longtime players in the city's music scene, including members of The Gruesomes and The Stills, and while their set is bound to be a spectacle, it's not the only reason to expect a packed house on Saturday night. A rare set by local legends The Stand GT is equally as worthy of anticipation, not to mention The Sir John A. Macdonalds kicking the night off with a little Ramones-meets-Canadiana.


Thursday, Jan. 8

  • Lynn Miles @ Black Sheep Inn w/ string quartet & guest vocalist Rebecca Campbell, 8 p.m., $30
  • The Ven Dreddies @ House of TARG w/ Animal Confession, Dirty Sheep, 9 p.m., $5
  • Reggae Night w/ Roots Movement @ The Rainbow, 9 p.m., $7
  • All-Stars Blues Thursdays @ Irene's w/ Bill and Tonia, 9:30 p.m., free
  • Dallas Smith @ Algonquin Commons Theatre w/ Kira Isabella, Jordan McIntosh, 8 p.m., SOLD OUT

Friday, Jan. 9

  • Century Palm, Voicemail @ House of TARG, 9 p.m., $5
  • The Visit, Musk Ox, Please Spring! @ Pressed, 7:30 p.m., $10
  • Harea Band @ Black Sheep Inn w/ Monday I Retire, 8:30 p.m., $7
  • Dirt Cannon, Pursue the Empire, The Superlative @ Cafe Dekcuf, 8 p.m., $10
  • Crystalyne @ Club SAW w/ Us With Wolves, Missioner, Lees Avenue, 7 p.m., $12
  • Ashley Newall @ Avant-Garde, 8 p.m., $8
  • Elise Letourneau, Brian Browne @ GigSpace, 7:30 p.m., $20
  • GT and The Earthtones @ The Branch, 9 p.m., $7
  • Frank James Band @ The Rainbow, 4 p.m., free
  • Slim Moore & The New Soul Project @ The Rainbow, 9 p.m., $7
  • Al Wood/Marty Sobb IBC send-off @ Irene's w/ Matt Sobb, Steve Marriner & guests, 9:30 p.m., $10

Saturday, Jan. 10

  • Catriona Sturton @ Raw Sugar w/ Kaitlyn Zarzour, 8 p.m., $10
  • Fuad & The Feztones @ Irene's w/ The Stand GT, The Sir John A. Macdonalds, 9:30 p.m., $10
  • Bahamas @ Bronson Centre w/ Jennifer Castle, 7 p.m., $27.50 (advance tix SOLD OUT)
  • Terry Gillespie @ Black Sheep Inn w/ Bella Cat, 8:30 p.m., $12
  • Please Spring! @ The Branch, 8 p.m., $5
  • Archaic, Project Mayhem, Isometric, Elevenstar @ The Rainbow, 4 p.m., PWYC
  • JW Jones @ The Rainbow, 9:30 p.m., $15
  • Dreamer/Deceiver @ Leaky B's LaVa Lounge w/ White Fox Society, Standing On Oblivion, Obyrne, 7 p.m., $10
  • Dark Tranquility, Insomnium @ Mavericks w/ Signs of Chaos, Greylights, 7 p.m., $30
  • Souljazz Orchestra @ Le Petit Chicago, 9 p.m., $15
  • Brock Zeman @ House of TARG w/ Slo' Tom, 9 p.m., $5
  • Timotheos, Nothing, Phase 4 @ Avant-Garde, 8 p.m., $8
  • The Todd Dameron Project @ GigSpace w/ The Peter Hum-Charley Gordon Quintet ft. Gerri Trimble, 7:30 p.m., $20

Sunday, Jan. 11

  • Alex Bilodeau Trio @ The Manx, 9:30 p.m., free
  • Lynda Collins @ Black Sheep Inn w/ Larry Pegg, Allyson Rogers; Fundraiser for EcoJustice Environmental Law Clinic (U of O), 4 p.m., $10
  • Say Spirit @ Raw Sugar, IMOO #113, 7 p.m., PWYC
  • Open Blues Jam @ The Rainbow w/ Bella Cat, 4 p.m., $3
  • Kevin Shofieldd @ The Rainbow, 9 p.m., free
  • Vince Halfhide @ Irene's w/ Ann Downey, Michael Ball, 9:30 p.m., free

Monday, Jan. 12

  • Jefre, Archy & Mehitabel, A Staggering Pace, Cody Parnell @ Zaphod's, 8 p.m., free
  • Adam Saikaley @ The Manx, 9:30 p.m., free

Tuesday, Jan. 13

  • Caridad Cruz & Miguel De Armas @ Les Brasseurs du Temps, 7:30 p.m., $17

Wednesday, Jan. 14

  • Dr. Dave @ The Rainbow, 4 p.m., free
  • The OM Sound @ The Rainbow, 8:30 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.