Monday, August 22, 2016

Solo chorus

Arboretum is one of the small, well-curated festivals that have made Ottawa a more tolerable town for music fans, and if you like your listening diverse it might just be the best. My fest-going started out at St. Alban's on Thursday with a show headlined by Tim Hecker. The Montreal soundscape artist makes some of his music by manipulating pipe organ sounds, so where better than a church to perform. Arcade Fire's Jeremy Gara was already performing when I walked in (circumventing the maze of construction downtown meant I took a ridiculously long time to get there), and his modulations make a good match for the headliner.

Jeremy Gara at St. Alban's

Keyboard action!

Jeremy Gara at St. Alban's

Trails changed things up a bit from her usual performance - for this set she collaboarted with modular synthesist Space Clouds Filter.

Trails with Space Clouds Filter at St. Alban's

Modular action!

Trails with Space Clouds Filter at St. Alban's

The whole lot!

Trails with Space Clouds Filter at St. Alban's

Extra Ali!

Trails with Space Clouds Filter at St. Alban's

And so on!

Trails with Space Clouds Filter at St. Alban's

As for Hecker, they turned the lights down as low as they could go, so apart from what little light was coming from outdoors, the entryway where the bar was, emergency lighting and Hecker's own gear, there really wasn't much to photograph without turning the shutter speed way down ... so here you go!

Tim Hecker at St. Alban's

Well, it certainly sounded good.

Blog on Log

Bob Log III was one of the first live shows I saw after my serious going-to-shows phase started in the late 1990s. It was an upstairs room on Rideau St. (come to think of it, it might have been called the Upstairs Room), and the man with a monkey's paw kicked out some killer slide blues and oddball hijinks. He was just as memorable at later shows on the Birdman Stage at Bluesfest and the Dominion Tavern and doesn't seem to have lost any steps - his House of Targ set was a non-stop party. The Kevin Dockery Fitness Hour whipped the audience into shape with some quick calisthenics and minimalist synths. Kevin also did Bob's sound.

Kevin Dowling Fitness Hour at House of Targ

And so on!

Kevin Dowling Fitness Hour at House of Targ

Casa Lagarto brought their surf-garage action for a brisk set. They've had a bit of a lineup change since I saw them last, with a new guitarist and drummer.

Casa Lagarto at House of Targ

Percussive action!

Casa Lagarto at House of Targ

Johnny sings!

Casa Lagarto at House of Targ

More singing!

Casa Lagarto at House of Targ

More guitar!

Casa Lagarto at House of Targ

Bob Log III is a tireless performer; he's still playing something like 200 shows a year

Bob Log III at House of Targ

I think he's added a bass pedal to his drum-and-cymbal setup since I saw him last.

Bob Log III at House of Targ

High-five action!

Bob Log III at House of Targ

Also, he's started to enjoy stepping on balloons!

Bob Log III at House of Targ

Apart from the ever-popular Boob-Scotch number, he's still giving free knee-rides as well.

Bob Log III at House of Targ

Always a lively show!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Just a bunch of animals

After all that synthesizing at the House of Targ, it was time to crank up the guitars (and bass guitars) with some punk rock action via Slim & Popular, Goat and Cross Dog. The S&P fellows kicked things off. Here's Brendan!

Slim & Popular at House of Targ

Bass action with Larry!

Slim & Popular at House of Targ

Shirtless action with Dave!

Slim & Popular at House of Targ

Brendan sings!

Slim & Popular at House of Targ

Rhythm section action!

Slim & Popular at House of Targ

Extra Brendan!

Slim & Popular at House of Targ

Extra Dave!

Slim & Popular at House of Targ

Singalong action!

Slim & Popular at House of Targ

Dave sings a bit!

Slim & Popular at House of Targ

Goat is the one band I haven't seen live, though I've seen at least half the band perform before: Guitarist Sarah with RawRawRiot and at the Motorhead tribute, and Adam of the Big Muffs (he was subbing for regular bassist Paulie). Here's Sarah and frontman Ohio!

Goat at House of Targ

Ohio sings!

Goat at House of Targ

Adam sings!

Goat at House of Targ

Mikey hits!

Goat at House of Targ

More Sarah!

Goat at House of Targ

Goaty action!

Goat at House of Targ

Sarah sings!

Goat at House of Targ

More Mikey!

Goat at House of Targ

Cross Dog tore up the stage like they always do! Here's Mark and Tracy!

Cross Dog at House of Targ

Mark sings!

Cross Dog at House of Targ

Mikey hits!

Cross Dog at House of Targ

Feedback action!

Cross Dog at House of Targ

More Mark!

Cross Dog at House of Targ

Extra Tracy!

Cross Dog at House of Targ

And so on!

Cross Dog at House of Targ

More Mikey!

Cross Dog at House of Targ

Singalong action!

Cross Dog at House of Targ

The whole lot!

Cross Dog at House of Targ

A great night out!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Summertime synths

The House of Targ had a double-header of Switched On Synths in August; first Rational Youth headlined a show in the first week; last week Brooklyn's Steve Summers came through town, Violence and Automelodi made repeat appearances and to start things off, all the way from Denmark, queer feminist migrant synthwave combo Prison offered up some Joy Division-styled sounds. Here's singer Zosia and bassist Anika!

Prison at House of Targ

And on the left, guitarist Ale and keyboardist Cecilia!

Prison at House of Targ

Gripping action!

Prison at House of Targ

Extra Cecilia!

Prison at House of Targ

Bass action with Anika!

Prison at House of Targ

More Zosia!

Prison at House of Targ

The whole lot!

Prison at House of Targ

Automelodi put on a great show; Xavier had a guitarist along with him to add some oomf to his spot-on new romantic sounds. Also on hand, a whole lot of smoke, which is why some of these photos are on the murky side.

Automelodi at House of Targ

Keyboard action!

Automelodi at House of Targ

Guitar action!

Automelodi at House of Targ

The whole lot!

Automelodi at House of Targ

Faceoff action!

Automelodi at House of Targ

More guitar!

Automelodi at House of Targ

Tambourine action!

Automelodi at House of Targ

Violence set was just as dark and murky as far as photographs go, and a little more freeform than their last set at Targ to my ears. Here's Julie and Eric!

Violence at House of Targ

Eric puts the pressure on!

Violence at House of Targ

Violent action!

Violence at House of Targ

Julie hits!

Violence at House of Targ

Singalong action!

Violence at House of Targ

Steve Summers is one of the pseudonyms of New Yorker Jason Letkiewicz, who produces a variety of electronic music under various names; Summers is his house-oriented outlet. Here he is among a sea of machines!

Steve Summers at House of Targ

Vocal action!

Steve Summers at House of Targ

Another fine outing.