Top 4 music shows to see in Ottawa this weekend

This weekend is all about showing love for Ottawa's music scene, writes CBC Ottawa music columnist Jessa Runciman.

Zoo Legacy, the Double Pumpers, Owen Pallett, Lefty McRighty round out the top 4

Zoo Legacy at Everybody Love Everybody Festival @ U of O, Friday

On any given Zoo Legacy track, the sound is a blend of styles. What you first notice are frontman Nick Pouponneau’s vocals, with a lyrical delivery that’s part Kanye attitude, part Outkast smoothness. Meanwhile, the rest of the band creates a sense of urgency in atmospheric, Frusciante-inspired guitar riffs and skipping drums. Most of Zoo Legacy’s songs carry with them a sense of being in the moment. Even their titles ("City Light Glow," "Street Lamps," "Echo") reflect lyrics that tell of long nights and a few bad choices.

Zoo Legacy play at the University of Ottawa on Friday night. (Matt Barnes)
It’s a vibe that resonates with the campus crowd, which is why Zoo Legacy is one of the local acts on the bill for the E.L.E. (Everybody Love Everybody) Festival on Friday. The block party takes place just outside Café Nostalgica at the University of Ottawa, featuring music from Son Real, The Lionyls, City FideliaBlakDenimNDMA and more. The show kicks off at 3 p.m. and while admission is free, donations are welcome for Candlelighters to help fund childhood cancer support programs.

Jack Pine & The Fire, Bobby Dove Band, Left McRighty at O-Town Hoedown @ The Rainbow, Friday night

Then there's a veteran festival, the O-Town Hoedown, which has been going strong since 2007. It's the brainchild of longtime Ottawa country music champion Greg Harris (a.k.a. Lefty McRighty) who started the Hoedown to convert the genre's non-believers. Today it's still opening ears and is a yearly staple when it comes to showcasing and celebrating the city's tight-knit country community.

Jack Pine & The Fire play The Rainbow on Friday night during the O-Town Hoedown. (Courtesy of Jack Pine & The Fire)
If you follow the concert tour over the course of its week-and-a-half run until Oct. 5, you'll see acts like Cooper MacLaren, Uncle Sean & The Shifty Drifters, John Allaire, Matt Gower and The Backsliders (to name a few) at venues across the city, from the Ottawa Folklore Centre, to Irene's, to Maxwell's, to Pressed. One that stands out: Friday's show at The Rainbow, featuring Jack Pine & The Fire, Montreal's Bobby Dove Band and Lefty McRighty himself. 9 p.m., $10.

Double Pumpers, King Kung, The Four Frames @ House of Targ, Saturday night

This weekend is all about showing love for Ottawa's music scenes, and that includes getting nostalgic about local bands that haven't played in a while. Back in 2003, The Double Pumpers were formed by three guys whose faces are well-known in Ottawa venues: Damian Sawka, Dave Martindale and Paul "Yogi" Granger who now runs House of Targ. Their sound? Propulsive hard rock, the kind with triumphant-pose-worthy riffs best played wearing heavy boots and tight pants.

The Double Pumpers play House of Targ on Saturday night. (Kurt Xiaoyi Tang)
The self-proclaimed "passionate exponents of dude-rawk" had heads banging and beers spilling through the 2000s, but there hasn't been much Double Pumper action for a few years, until now. On Saturday night they're back with a reunion show at House of Targ alongside two other classic Ottawa rock bands: King Kung and The Four Frames. 9 p.m., $6.

Owen Pallett, Lydia Ainsworth @ NAC Studio, Saturday night

Far from the dinging pinball machines and power chords, a show at the NAC Studio on Saturday night is less rock 'n' roll, more Owen Pallett. His latest album, In Conflict, is being called a pop masterpiece, which isn't surprising considering the reputation Owen Pallett has come to possess internationally for everything from composing music for the National Ballet of Canada to playing in Arcade Fire.

With In Conflict, he takes things in a slightly new direction by exploring concepts of mental illness and the empathy and humanity involved in living with those states of being. It's complex and melancholy music, but with a constant undercurrent of the poppy sweetness that keeps Owen Pallett accessible to a wide audience. Cool fact: the album features Brian Eno on guitar, synth and some vocals. For Saturday's show at the NAC Studio, Owen Pallett will be joined by Lydia Ainsworth. 8 p.m., $33.


Thursday, Sept. 25

  • O-Town Hoedown: Uncle Sean's Hoedown Kickoff Party @ Lunenburg Pub ft. The Tenvolt Revue, Uncle Sean, Lefty McRighty, Ray Harris, Standup Steve, Peter Pritchard, Karolyne Lafortune, Ryan Barwin, 9 p.m., free
  • Drones of North America @ House of Targ w/ The Dark Plains, H. de Heutz, Mark Molnar, 9 p.m., $5
  • Linda Marie @ The Rainbow, 4 p.m., free
  • All-Stars Blues Thursdays @ Irene's w/ Luke Ambridge, 9:30 p.m., free
  • Reggae Night w/ Roots Movement @ The Rainbow, 9 p.m., $7
  • Jann Arden @ NAC Southam Hall w/ Jill & Kate, 8 p.m., $54

Friday, Sept. 26

  • O-Town Hoedown @ The Rainbow ft. Jack Pine & The Fire, Lefty McRighty & The Terrible Two, Bobby Dove, 9 p.m., $10
  • E.L.E. Festival @ U of O Campus (outside Cafe Nostalgica) ft. Son Real, The Lionyls, Zoo Legacy, City Fidelia, BlakDenim, NDMA, Eagleson, The Superlative, Sarah Bradley, C-Fresh Beatbox, DJ Dr0X, Monday I Retire, Erich Mrak, Tall Trees, 3 p.m., free
  • Destiny @ Irene's, 9:30 p.m., $10
  • Subject Sinclair @ Avant-Garde w/ The Madcooks, 9 p.m., $6
  • BARF, Insurrection, My Shadow, ...From the Deep @ Le Petit Chicago, 7 p.m., $15
  • Adesso @ NAC Fourth Stage, 7:30 p.m., $20
  • Turnover @ Pressed w/ Safe to Say, Light Years, Malfunction, 8 p.m., $12
  • Better Living Through Chemistry @ Zaphod's w/ Thunderuncle, 8 p.m., $5
  • Motorheadache: Tribute to Motorhead @ House of Targ, 9 p.m., $5
  • Frank James Band @ The Rainbow, 4 p.m., free
  • Rod Williams Band @ Atomic Rooster, 9 p.m., free
  • The Joint, Wolfie, T-Rex Marathon, Twisted Planet, Falling Against Monday, Lees Avenue @ Montgomery Legion, 7 p.m., $10
  • Jamie Anderson @ Raw Sugar, 7 p.m., $8
  • Noelle Andrews & Randy Frobel @ The Branch, 8 p.m., $5

Saturday, Sept. 27

  • The Double Pumpers @ House of Targ w/ King Kung, The Four Frames (ex-Mouthpiece), 9 p.m., $6
  • Owen Pallett @ NAC Studio w/ Lydia Ainsworth, 8 p.m., $33
  • O-Town Hoedown @ Ottawa Folklore Centre ft. Ray Harris, Cooper MacLaren, 1 p.m., free
  • O-Town Hoedown @ Irene's ft. Uncle Sean & The Shifty Drifters, Big Tobacco & The Pickers, John Allaire, 9 p.m., $10
  • Sean McCann @ Black Sheep Inn, 8:30 p.m., $25
  • Atticus @ The Rainbow, 4 p.m., free
  • JW Jones @ The Rainbow, 9 p.m., $12
  • Opium Den @ Avant-Garde w/ Eyedollz, 9 p.m., $6
  • Chris Smither @ NAC Fourth Stage, 7:30 p.m., $25
  • Sabrina Weeks @ Atomic Rooster, 4 p.m., free
  • Dub FX @ Barrymore's w/ Vilify, 7 p.m., $2
  • Celtic Sea @ The Branch​, 8 p.m., PWYC
  • Shawn William Clarke @ Raw Sugar w/ Claude Munson, Sarah Beatty, 8 p.m., $8

Sunday, Sept. 28

  • O-Town Hoedown @ Maxwell's ft. Matt Gower, James Leclaire, 9 p.m., $5
  • Country Swing Night @ Irene's w/ Alistair Dennet, Chris Breitner, Peter Newsom, John Steele, 9:30 p.m., free
  • Craig Cardiff @ Black Sheep Inn, 4 p.m., $20
  • The Distillery @ The Rainbow, 9 p.m., $5
  • Double Double @ Atomic Rooster, 6 p.m., free
  • Dynamite Motel @ Atomic Rooster, 10 p.m., free
  • The Penske File, Lost Love, Fresh Hell, Rich Chris @ Avant-Garde, 7:30 p.m., $5

Monday, Sept. 29

  • O-Town Hoedown @ Pressed ft. The Backsliders, 8 p.m., $7
  • Tales from the Backseat, Archy & Mehitabel, Project Mantra, Adam Ferris @ Zaphod's, 8 p.m., free

Tuesday, Sept. 30

  • O-Town Hoedown @ The Rainbow, Burlesque & Variety Show ft. Cooper MacLaren & The Mean-Eyed Cats, 9 p.m., $10
  • Myers Brothers Band @ Avant-Garde w/ Holly Ruth & The Bindle Band, Sea Change, 9 p.m., $6

Wednesday, Oct. 1

  • Lacuna Coil @ Mavericks w/ The Devil You Know, Starset, Incura, 7 p.m., $26
  • The Mourning Kitchen @ Pressed w/ Bailin' Hey, Micarza Camaro, 8 p.m., $7
  • DFO @ Avant-Garde w/ Tomb Dream, Emmas Ringer, 9 p.m., $6


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.