Kelp Records 20th Anniversary Party @ two venues, Friday and Saturday
The Acorn are just one of the many bands that are, in one way or another, associated with Kelp Records. Like a cozy comforter, it's the little label that's warmed music lovers in Ottawa for 15 years. Kelp Weekend is as much a signifier that summer is nigh as is the sight of a tulip petal fallen to the ground. Every year the record label holds an anniversary party, but this year's is extra special because it's the big 2-0. Jon Bartlett moved his label to Ottawa from Fredericton a decade-and-a-half ago. Five years later I also moved to Ottawa, from the opposite direction. Upon arriving I asked Ottawa's favourite singer-songwriter son, Jim Bryson, to introduce me to some of the musical must-knows in the city. "You need to meet Jon Bartlett," said Bryson. During that 2004 meeting, Bartlett told me how he felt about Ottawa: "I wasn't actually very impressed with it times I'd visited before, but after moving here and getting to know people — it's the biggest city you can go to in Canada and still have a small town feeling."
End of an Era
This week I dipped way, way back into the Bandwidth archives to wax a bit nostalgic. The reason is: This is my last week at CBC. You may have heard the news that Bandwidth will be cancelled with this last round of CBC cuts. There will still be a music show Saturdays at 5 p.m., but details are still being worked out, so stay tuned for more information.
This news came after my announcement internally that my family and I are moving to Holland this summer. My husband is at Foreign Affairs and it's been eight years since we took our first posting to Hong Kong, so we're due. In light of the cuts I suppose it was a fortuitous decision to go! I got a little reflective knowing that this is the end of the road both for me and this show I've had the privilege of hosting (on and off) these past 10 years.
This week's show will feature some archival clips as well as a few new messages from bands reflecting on how they got their first radio play on CBC Radio One on Saturdays at 5 p.m. Despite my last new show being packaged this week, don't be confused when you keep hearing Bandwidth in June, July and August. The CBC's Jessa Runciman and I have been madly repackaging some of the best episodes for encore plays through the summer. You're not quite through with me yet!
Please feel free to check in via my Twitter page to see what I get up to in Holland: twitter.com/amandaputz. Be prepared for a lot of parenting talk, because that's my main job for the foreseeable future!
Having only lived in the post-Bartlett Ottawa myself, I have surmised these past 10 years that Kelp and Bartlett are part of the reason for that community feeling. When he moved Kelp Records from Fredricton to Ottawa he moved more than a record label. He created a virtual home for a rag-tag bunch of music makers whose music would have languished in their own computers or never moved beyond the ephemeral space of a live stage. Twenty years is a long time for anything in music, so this is a birthday worth celebrating!
Friday night's events are at Avalon Studios in the Glebe. It's all DJs and dancing for $5. Saturday night features almost all the bands that have been part of the label over the years: The Acorn and Jim Bryson, plus Hilotrons, Evening Hymns, Andrew Vincent, Chris Page, Andy Swan, Recoilers, Banditas, and Jon Bartlett's own project Rhume. I admit I'm a little sad not to see one of my favourite Kelp bands on the list: Greenfield Main. Maybe if all the members are there they can spontaneously give a round of "Matilda" for us. It promises to be a big love-in for both the bands and those of us who have watched them grow up in this community. St. Albans Church is on Daly, west off King Edward. Tickets are $15 in advance and doors open at 8:30 p.m. There is a wonderful in-depth story about Kelp's history in a recent issue of KickAssCanadians.ca.
Asinabka Fest Fundraiser with The Gallop & more @ Gallery 101, Friday, 7 p.m., $PWYC
In the same spirit of the Kelp night Saturday, an event on Friday features a bunch of bands doing shorter sets. Asinabka Festival is holding a fundraiser party at Gallery 101 in Little Italy. Drum group Frazier Whiteduck and the Capital Warriors will perform along with CBC Searchlight sweetheart Erin Adair, Dynamite Motel, Elizabeth Riley Band and The Gallop. The Gallop released their latest offering back in February. The band boasts a triple songwriting threat of brothers Paul Ross and David Gervais, along with Michael Holmes. This means the tunes are unified by having the same five people play the same five instruments, but the listener gets an adventure in songwriting depending who penned any given track. It's a solid EP of deftly-crafted retro-pop. All five performers promise a great night of live music at Gallery 101 Friday. The cover charge is pay-what-you-can and I might suggest dropping at least $10 for the kind of talent you'll witness. Gallery 101 is in Little Italy at 51B Young St.
Ark Analog @ Mercury Lounge, Friday, 10 p.m., $10
If you begin your evening at Gallery 101, I might suggest ending it at Mercury Lounge in the ByWard Market. Things get synthy after 10 p.m. Friday night with Toronto duo Ark Analog. It's made up of Maylee Todd and Dan Werb. I first met these two energy-phenoms when they played together in a giant band called Henri Faberge & the Adorables. Since those Adorable days Maylee and Dan have done lots of other projects, including Woodhands for him and some jazzercise-infused solo stuff for her. This partnership really finds the common ground in their musical landscapes and as performers they never disappoint. Ever. Bring dancing shoes.
Various other hot tips: Lynne Hanson + Lynn Miles, Matthew Barber, Ann Vriend
The greater Ottawa area has some terrific shows this weekend, including Lynn Miles and Lynne Hanson (the two Lynn(e)s) at the University of Ottawa's Draft Pub Friday and in Burnstown on Sunday night. I was lucky enough to be part of the intimate audience at Comfort in Kemptville last Saturday night for Lynne Hanson's two hour acoustic set. Her new songs are her best yet so be sure to catch her as soon as you can! Matthew Barber's new stuff turns him in an almost unrecognizable indie-folk direction, but it is still the highly musical, solid lyricist Barber you know and love. He's at The Blacksheep Thursday. Edmonton's Ann Vriend has poperatic (an adjective I invented combining pop/operatic) voice and she plays a couple shows in the area: Raw Sugar Thursday night and then The Branch in Kemptville on Friday.
Thursday, May 29
- Dreamer/Deceiver + The Prestige + Terra Firma @ Luneta Cafe, 7 p.m., $12
- Matt Barber @ The Blacksheep Inn, 8:30 p.m., $20 advance
- Irene's All Stars Blues Thursdays w/ guest host Conor Gains @ Irene's Pub, 9 p.m., free
- Tommy Tonic's Open Mic @ The Rainbow, 4 p.m., free
- Shane Philips + Roots Movement (11 p.m.) @ The Rainbow, 8-10:30 p.m., $7
- Ann Vriend @ Raw Sugar Café, 8:30 p.m., $TBD
Friday, May 30
- Tara Holloway @ 8 Locks Flat, Colonel By Drive (on the Rideau Canal), 7 p.m., free
- Meg Legrand, Ma Petite & Irsidae @ Atomic Rooster, 9 p.m., free
- Suns of Stone + Blast from The Sun + Sick Sick Sicks @ The Blacksheep Inn, 8:30 p.m., $7 advance
- Ann Vriend @ The Branch in Kemptville, 9 p.m., $TBD
- Lynn Miles + Lynne Hanson @ Draft Pub (University of Ottawa), 8 p.m., $25
- Asinabka Fest Fundraiser: Erin Adair + Dynamite Motel + The Gallop + Elizabeth Riley Band @ Gallery 101, 7 p.m., $PWYC
- Jonathan Becker & The North Fields + Scoop Trumbull and the Wrong Notes @ Irene's Pub, 9 p.m., $5
- Ark Analog (Dan Werb & Maylee Todd) @ Mecury Lounge, 10 p.m., $10
- The Frank James Band @ The Rainbow, 4 p.m., free
- Maria Hawkins Band, Triple Threat, Nancy Desmarais band @ The Rainbow, 9:30 p.m., $10
Saturday, May 31
- The Owl Eyes Project (acoustic) @ 8 Locks Flat, 4 p.m., free
- Low Ball Bidders @ Atomic Rooster, 4-8 p.m., free
- Slo' Tom's Birthday Bash with Left McRighty @ Atomic Rooster, 10 p.m., free
- Jamsquid + Scarecrowz @ Avante Garde Bar, time and cost TBD
- Scott Nolan s/g Brandi Zdan (Twilight Hotel) @ Blacksheep Inn, 8:30 p.m., $10 advance
- Ross Neilsen Band @ Irene's Pub, 9 p.m., $10
- Ariana Gillis @ NAC Fourth Stage, 7:30 p.m., $19+
- Chasing Dreams and Crossing Jane @ The Rainbow, 4 p.m., free
- Tympanic (Record Release) @ The Rainbow, 9:30 p.m., $10
- 5th Birthday Celebration: Pardon My French + Amanda Rheaume (games for kids, theatre) @ Shenkman Arts Centre, 9-5 p.m., free
- The Living Deads @ Zaphods, 8 p.m., $8
Sunday, June 1
- Buck Tingley and the Hard Lookin Tickets @ Irene's Pub, 9 p.m., free
- Lynn Miles + Lynne Hanson @ Neat Cafe, Burnstown, 8 p.m., $25
- Amber Bromby (Spirit of Rasputins) @ Pressed, 3 p.m, $TBD
- Atmosphere: North of Hell Tour + Prof + Dem Atlas @ Ritual, 9 p.m., $25
Tuesday, June 3
- Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings + James Hunter @ Algonquin Commons Theatre, 8 p.m., $25-$32.50
- Sneezy Waters and his band @ Irene's Pub, 9 p.m., $20