Ottawa·Live Music

Beirut play Ottawa Jazz Festival tonight

CBC Ottawa's Jessa Runciman shares her top live music picks for the Ottawa-Gatineau region.
Scary Bear Soundtrack bring their take on synthpop to The Rainbow Thursday night. (Denise Lebleu)

Scary Bear Soundtrack @ The Rainbow w/ Murder Murder, Thursday, 9 p.m., $7

Don't be fooled by Scary Bear Soundtrack's sugary melodies -- there's a weighty social consciousness at the root of the duo's heartfelt, shimmering synth-pop.

Gloria Guns and Christine Aye just wrapped up a final-round finish in the most recent CBC Searchlight contest for their song "Fault Lines," written for victims of sexual violence. It's one of two tracks the pair has released as an early glimpse of their upcoming album, Ovayok Road. Proceeds from online sales of the second song, "Victoria Island," support initiatives to help low-income families in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, where the band is partly based.

Ottawa, though, is Scary Bear Soundtrack's other stomping ground, and they're marking a summer homecoming with a show at The Rainbow on Thursday night. They'll join Sudbury headliners Murder Murder on the bill. 

Pang Attack @ Raw Sugar, Friday, 8 p.m., $6

Montreal's Pang Attack bring their finely-honed melodies to Raw Sugar Cafe on Friday. (Pang Attack)

This Friday night at Raw Sugar Cafe Friday night, you'll likely get a solid crowd, a laid-back atmosphere, and some misty Montreal pop courtesy of a trio called Pang Attack. The band is masterminded by Alex Hackett, who formerly fronted a Toronto rock outfit called Kill the Lights, until -- right as they were starting to see some success -- they broke up.

Moving to Montreal and embarking on a new musical career brought a lot of introspection to Hackett's music, along with a reassessment of how he wanted to involve himself with the music industry. Three releases later, Pang Attack is distinctly DIY and full of cloudy, perfectly-crafted melodies. Raw Sugar is the latest stop on a tour to promote the band's latest album, Sleepy Fell Down.

Julien Sagot @ Le Petit Chicago w/ Mastik and Bitterly Heated, Saturday, 8 p.m., $12

Montreal's Julien Sagot plays Le Petit Chicago in Gatineau on Saturday. (Sandra Larochelle)
Montreal sends more talent our way on Saturday night with Julien Sagot arriving at Le Petit Chicago on Promenade du Portage in Hull.

As percussionist/vocalist for the band Karkwa, Sagot has contributed to the Quebec rockers' Polaris and Juno wins. But his solo work is equally as impressive: if we're going to talk awards, he earned a Juno nomination last year for his album Valse 333, named for the fact that most of its songs feature 3/4 time signatures and sound like waltzes.

An experiment in electroacoustic arrangements, Valse 333 is an unlikely combination of ornateness and grit, always held together by the intimacy of Sagot's husky vocals. Mastik and Bitterly Healed are also on the bill for Saturday's show.

Various artists @ TD Ottawa Jazz Festival/Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, Thursday to Sunday

For a free outing, the annual Dragon Boat Festival at Mooney's Bay Park is as good as it gets this weekend, running from Thursday through to Sunday. Besides joining around 75,000 attendees in watching the spectacle of the boats themselves, you can take in concerts by the likes of Mounties, Yukon Blonde, Hey Rosetta, Tokyo Police Club and Dan Mangan. 

Peregrine Falls play the Laurier Avenue stage Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. (Jon Pesochin)
Then, there's the fact that it's the last weekend of the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, where they'll be busting out the big guns with headliners like the Joel Plaskett Emergency on Friday, Snarky Puppy on Saturday, and Beirut on Sunday.

Worth noting: The two festivals intersect on Saturday night with a performance by Peregrine Falls. They are two members of Dan Mangan's band Blacksmith, who turn improvisational jazz into an avalanche of chugging guitar and drums. They'll take their hypnotic, heavy sound to the Laurier Avenue Music Stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday passes are $40.

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.