Ottawa·Live music

Ottawa-Gatineau weekend music lineup features Listener, Birds of Paradise

There's lots of live music on the radar in Ottawa-Gatineau, from a folk music conference to the goodbye soirée of a local DIY venue.

Jessa's picks include a folk music conference and the goodbye soiree of a DIY venue

Winnipeg trio Mulligrub performs at Bar Robo on Thursday. (Eric Roberts)

Mulligrub @ Bar Robo on Thursday, 8 p.m., $8

Mulligrub is a scrappy-sounding three-piece, fronted by the band's main songwriter, Kelly Campbell — and if you hear a dash of John K. Samson in her voice, it might make sense. The fellow Winnipegers have the same affinity for poetic lyrics and regional anchors, with Campbell's autobiographical songs rooted in the city's old haunts.

There's plenty of nostalgia but the songs on Mulligrub's debut album often look back at past events and relationships with a touch of bitterness. It's a fond sort of angst, summed up in the record's title, Soft Grudge.

Mulligrub stops at Bar Robo on Thursday night as part of the band's first eastward tour.

Listener @ Le Temporaire on Friday, 8 p.m., $10

Kansas trio Listener plays at Le Temporaire in Gatineau on Friday. (Listener)

Talk-music. That's the term Listener uses to give people a sense of the band's sound.

The Kansas three-piece is a flurry of arresting build-ups and bursts of powerful guitar — but it's defined by the band's bass-player and lyricist, Dan Smith, whose rhythmic spoken word poetry drives the music.

Smith began the project as a solo hip hop effort but over time, Listener has grown into a progressive post-punk band, balancing quiet intensity with lyrical and instrumental frenzies.

Listener is in Gatineau on Friday for a show at Le Temporaire, on Rue Saint Redempteur.

Birds of Paradise @ Gabba Hey on Friday, 8 p.m., $6

This one's bittersweet. Gabba Hey is calling it quits as a concert venue, meaning you've got one last chance to take in a show at the DIY space in the back of the City Centre.

It's been a brief era for the venue, but a major one — some of the most legendary shows Ottawa has seen in the past few years have happened there. Now, Gabba Hey is going out with a bang in the form of a big, all-ages show on Friday.

Birds of Paradise is the headliner: a spaced-out, bluesy folk duo made up of Hannah Lewis and Roy Vucino (the pair behind Montreal psych-garage outfit Red Mass). They'll be joined by glitchy Toronto band Moon Eyed, and Ottawa's favourite new garage-pop trio, Telecomo.

Psych-folk duo Birds of Paradise lands in Ottawa on Friday to headline Gabba Hey's last show as a concert venue. (Facebook)

Folk Music Ontario Conference official showcases @ The Delta Hotel, Thursday to Saturday, 7:30 p.m., $20

Every year, Folk Music Ontario holds a conference focused on building and celebrating the folk community. For its 30th edition, it's happening in Ottawa at the Delta Hotel, on Lyon Street. There'll be workshops and networking aplenty — but the official music showcases are the real heart of the conference.

Performances alternate between the Delta's Pinnacle and Panorama rooms, from Thursday to Saturday night — and it's not just Ontario musicians who'll be playing. The lineup includes Halifax's Willie Stratton, Ottawa's Moonfruits and England's Fraser Anderson, to name a few.

Wristbands are on sale at the registration booth each day.

Old-timey country singer Willie Stratton brings a little Halifax to the Folk Ontario Music Conference on Saturday night. (Bandcamp)

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.