Pif Paf, Brendan Canning among shows to watch in Ottawa this weekend
There's lots of music to be found on Ottawa stages, from francophone pop to walls of guitar
Pif Paf @ Bar Robo on Thursday, 8 p.m., $8
Pif Paf is two guys from Montreal with an affinity for bouncy melodies and solid, tropical rhythms.
They've been around since 2011, but there used to be four of them and they went by Pif Paf Hangover. After slimming down to a duo, the name-change was partly a symbolic gesture, to signify the evolution of the band. It was also for personal reasons — one half of the band quit drinking entirely, so "hangover" felt a little incongruous.
In its new incarnation, Pif Paf is about clear heads and catchy hooks. They've also made a return to their first language, recording material in French for the first time.
The band's single, "Panthère," is a hint of what's to come when Pif Paf releases a new album in early 2017. Expect more fresh material when the band takes to Bar Robo Thursday night alongside Fire Antlers.
Mad Ones @ House of TARG on Thursday, 9 p.m., $7
Rock 'n' roll from the heart, with a scuffed-up intensity. That's what you can expect from Mad Ones' show on Thursday.
The Toronto band hammers out pop choruses with the power-chord oomph of vintage Weezer — but with a kind of melodic, rough-diamond feel more in line with The Replacements.
Despite a few years of playing shows, it might be Mad Ones' newest album, Sanciety, that finally allows them to break through to a wider audience. It sounds like a classic — made up of compelling, original rock songs from start to finish.
Before Mad Ones take the stage at Targ, locals Mushy Gushy and Ornaments open the night. Lots of bang for your seven bucks.
Mehdi Cayenne Club @ Babylon on Friday, 8 p.m., $10 (PWYC)
The album reflects on all the things that happen during those early hours: waking up from dreams, starting fresh, being in bed — with someone else, or newly alone. As we've come to expect from Mehdi Cayenne, a youthful energy punctuates the songs and drives them forward to places you wouldn't expect.
The local singer-songwriter has just gotten back from a tour in Switzerland, France and Italy — and he's got new songs to play for the crowd tomorrow at Babylon. Amanda Lowe joins him on the bill.
Ten dollars is the suggested cover, but no one will be turned away.
Brendan Canning @ Zaphod's on Saturday, 8 p.m., $15
There's a lot going on around town on Saturday — from Gordon Lightfoot at the NAC, to The Balconies' hometown appearance at Targ, to The Split's free afternoon set at The Record Centre.
One show you won't want to miss that night is happening at Zaphod's, where Brendan Canning will be playing songs from his new album, Home Wrecking Years.
Canning — best known as one half of the founding duo behind Broken Social Scene — hasn't lost his touch on this third solo effort. The new record is a wall of sound, with swirling, swelling rock-outs balanced out by sexier, jazzy moments.
With a backing band made up of BSS members and guys like Liam O'Neil (who's played with Kings of Leon and The Stills), it'll be an impressive show. Show up in time to catch openers Shy Kids, and American Lips (featuring Sebastien Grainger of Death from Above 1979).