music picks

Amanda Putz: Concerts you gotta see in Ottawa, Gatineau

Amanda Putz, host of CBC Radio's Bandwidth, tells you what live shows you should see in Ottawa and Gatineau. She also shares music listings for the National Capital Region.

Local music listings for live shows from Thursday to next Wednesday

Jacqui Brown @ Avant-Garde Bar (Friday) & Point Lounge (Saturday)

Jacqui Brown performs twice this weekend, in Ottawa and Constance Bay. (Facebook)
You might be forgiven for hunkering down indoors all week with these temperatures, but now it's time to bundle up and head to the clubs for some exciting and varied live shows. First up is funk-soul singer Jacqui Brown. You might think with a name (and a voice) like hers she'd quickly know her destiny in the genre. Nope, her first musical love was metal! In fact, it's taken her over 40 years to bring to the masses this polished sound she suits so well. Jacqui was actually born in Ottawa but grew up north of 60 before hitchhiking her way across Canada in her late teens. It was Montreal that gave her the confidence to sing in front of an audience, but then Los Angeles diverted her to working in television production. It did afford some time at night to teach herself guitar and busk on the boardwalk of Venice Beach. When Jacqui Brown came back to Canada she met producer John Burton and so began a musical partnership that bore over 40 song-babies. - The denouement of this lovely "late to bloom" script is Jacqui has finally released her debut album and she's taking it on the road. She'll be at Avant-Garde Bar here in Ottawa Friday night and in Constance Bay at Point Lounge Saturday night. If there is any justice in the world, 40 is the new 20, and she's going to be a name on everyone's lips with this debut.

Wanting @ Algonquin Commons Theatre, Friday

Wanting performs at Algonquin College on Friday night. (Facebook)
Picture it (or look at it to the right): a gorgeous Chinese woman in a floor-length gown, her long hair flowing about her shoulders while she flows across a piano bench, her elbow leaning on the'd probably speculate the CD inside contains all kinds of lovely interpretations of Beethoven's piano concertos. Nope again. Wanting is more Bandwidth than Tempo, for those well versed in the CBC radio music world. I had been seeing the posters around town for this show by Wanting at Algonquin Commons Theatre. They piqued my interest, but apparently I'm way behind the eight-ball as she already has 40,000 likes on her Facebook page. Creeping that page I glimpsed photos from huge theatre shows, easily 2000 seats, filled to capacity with adoring fans. Wanting Qu was born in Harbin, China but came to Vancouver at age 16. She sings both in Chinese and English, and it's the Chinese-Canadian and American fans that were first to jump on her bandwagon. (Which, incidentally, comes is in the form of a giant pink tour bus with her head vinyled on the side.) As if her pretty face and voice weren't enough, Wanting writes all her own songs in both languages, plays the piano and guitar, and has a business degree she can always fall back on if her tens of thousands of fans decide to bail. You shall not be left Wanting at Algonquin Commons theatre Friday night. The tickets I checked out were $46.50 but there is a range in prices available.

Music in the Barns + HILOTRONS with David O'Meara @ The Blacksheep Inn, Saturday

If your tastes align closer to classical than Mando-pop, perhaps HILOTRONS' Michael Dubue's team-up with poet David O'Meara for a night of classical meets contemporary meets literary will suit your palate. While the musician is no stranger to collaboration, fronting an orchestra is uncharted water for this wordsmith. I think he pulls it off beautifully, thanks to the musical prowess of one-man orchestra Dubue. They have recorded an album together, with O'Meara reading his strikingly lyrical poetry atop the kinds of sonically inviting compositions and illustrations only Mike could achieve. Adam Saikaley will join him to make the music come alive behind O'Meara Saturday night. Although he hasn't set his poetry to anything along these lines prior to this, it has has been put to music by composer C. Scott Tresham and was performed by the Ottawa Choral Society several years ago. Opening the evening is sax, clarinet, and flute improv master Lynsey Wellman. I saw Lynsey perform last month opening for Destroyer, and he's really at the top of his game so don't be late for his set. Following David O'Meara and HILOTRONS at 10 pm is Music in the Barns Chamber Ensemble. It's a flexible 14-member roster made up of Canadian and American players who tend to perform the less frequently heard repertoire of the classical canon. For instance, George Crumb's Black Angels: Thirteen Images from the Dark Land complete with its crystal glasses and ceiling-hung gong. After I opened a press release last week a performance of the piece began to play on my computer on one of the random tabs I had open. For well over 10 minutes I couldn't figure out what it was or where it was playing from but I was loving it. It was like my PC was happily haunted! The performances will feature live visuals by Hard Science. 

Laura Smith @ NAC Fourth Stage, Saturday

Folk singer-songwriter Laura Smith performs at the National Arts Centre this weekend. (Laura Smith)
The song "Shade of Your Love" is probably familiar if your radio tended to be tuned into adult contemporary radio the summer of 1995. It was the hit that brought the singular voice of Laura Smith to the entirety of Canada. There really is no way to sum up what happened to Laura in the ensuing 20 years, at least not with any sort of brevity. Freak accidents, pain killers, addiction to those narcotics, all conspired to silence the voice that had arrested music lovers' ears while seducing brains and hearts with her poetic lyrics and song craft. Thankfully, it didn't silence it forever (Only 15 long years!). Laura Smith has come out on the other side and last year she released the best record of her career, in my opinion. Everything Is Moving is a stunning portrayal of a life, told from her own perspective at times and mingled with her interpretations of some of the finest folk songs penned by others. It may have taken a quarter of her life but yes, everything is moving for Laura Smith once again. I am honoured to be able to introduce her for this show at The National Arts Centre's Fourth Stage. It's a fundraiser for Ottawa Grassroots Festival, which I'll also be hosting April 26-27. Please come and have your spine tingled by Laura Smith tonight. Tickets are $25.

Bandwidth on CBC Radio One, 5-6 pm Saturday

We're celebrating children's music! I say "we" because I've had some extra help this week from a certain traffic reporter who's gone rogue and started covering music for Bandwidth. Dave Brown spoke to local kid-friendly band Hey Buster and I will also highlight a hip-hop duo from Kingston that goes by "Hey Kids." 



  • Claudia Salguero's IDILIO Concert @ NAC Fourth Stage, 7:30pm, $30+ (2 shows)
  • Matt Webb (of Marianas Trench) + Fake Shark - Real Zombie+ Jessica Lee @ Mavericks, 7:30pm, $15
  • Irene's All Stars Blues Thursdays with guest host Buck Tingley @ Irenes, 9pm, Free 


  • Claudia Salguero's IDILIO Concert @ NAC Fourth Stage, 7:30pm, $30+ (2 shows)
  • **Wanting + Cody Karey @ Algonquin Commons Theatre, 8pm, $25-50 
  • **Jacqui Brown + Fermented Oranges + Grand Theft Ottawa @ Avant-Garde Bar, 9pm, $tbd (debut album at age 40+)
  • Sherman Downey Band + Matt Epp @ The Blacksheep Inn, Wakefield, 8:30pm, $12
  • The Reverb Syndicate + Morgan Friend and The Blasphemers + Bad Uncle @ The Rainbow, 9pm, $TBD
  • Alvvays + Stella Ella Ola @ Zaphod's, 8:30pm, $10
  • Rock Snake @ Atomic Rooster, 10pm, Free
  • The B-Sides (Matt & Curtis Chaffey + Steve Marriner) @ Irenes, 9pm, $10 
  • Wind & the Wild + Bosveld @ Raw Sugar Cafe, Presented by Ottawa Showbox, 8pm, $10 


  • **Laura Smith @ NAC Fourth Stage, 7:30 pm, $ (International Women's Day).  
  • The Flats + No Fly List @ Irene's Pub, 9:30pm, $7 
  • AFROddiction & Tympanic @ The Rainbow, 9pm, $tbd
  • Sam Cash & the Romantic Dogs @ Zaphod's, 8:30pm, $12 adv
  • **Black Angels + HILOTRONS & David O'Meara' Record Release + Linsey Wellman @ The Blacksheep Inn, Wakefield,8:30pm, $15 adv/$20 door [This event is presented by Ottawa Writersfest, visuals by Hard Science]
  • Lucky Ron Tributes Stompin' Tom @ Chateau Lafayette, 4pm, Free
  • Big Chill @ Atomic Rooster, 4-8pm, Free​
  • Jacqui Brown @ The Point Lounge, Constance Bay, ON 8pm, $tbd
  • Nicola Ciccone - Pour toi (music, French and Italian) @ Shenkman Arts Centre, Orleans, 8pm, $38.75
  • Pat Maloney + Drover @ Raw Sugar Cafe, 8pm, $8 


  • Teitur in Concert + Pat Maloney @ The Blacksheep Inn, Wakefield, 8:30pm, $  [In Town & Out Pick of the Weekend]
  • Ball & Chain + The Wreckers @ Westboro Masonic Hall, 3pm, $15 incl food!
  • Sunday Blues with The Jesse Greene Band @ Atomic Rooster, 6-9pm, Free
  • Scott Allen's Acoustic Stew with Dr.Dave @ Atomic Rooster, 10pm, Free
  • The Lemon Squeeze @ Irene's , 8:30pm, Free


  • Glen Matlock (of Sex Pistols) + Sylvain Sylvain (of New York Dolls) @ Zaphod's, 8:30pm, $1

About the Author

Amanda Putz

CBC Radio Host

Amanda Putz is the host of Bandwidth, which airs every Saturday at 5 p.m. ET on CBC Radio One, 91.5 FM in Ottawa. (CBC)