Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ottawa Scene: Bands Undone @Canteen

BTA was recently invited to participate in Bands Undone, a series of stripped-down shows at Ottawa's Canteen Art Shop & Gallery.
The first of which featured Sudbury's Meadowlark Five, a six-piece group with several members sharing lead vocals, backed by orchestral rock arrangements. Their set was well-executed and came off sounding quite good. Their cohesive sound shines far and above their recorded tracks. Several of the recorded tracks run upwards of five minutes, with the lead singer's voice overpowering all other instruments. Fortunately, when heard live, the band comes together. The highlight of the Meadowlark set was a solid Fleetwood Mac cover. There's definitely potential for this group and it rests on their ability to rein their creativity and focus on making tighter arrangements and balancing the stronger elements with the weaker ones.

Photo by Kyle Raven

On Saturday, Silver Starling rolled in to play their own Bands Undone session. Silver Starling has been garnering a lot of press for singer Marcus Paquin's involvement in the upcoming Arcade Fire record, which he confirmed is happening (he will be assisting in production and engineering). Being completely new to Silver Starling's music I was quite excited to experience it first-hand. The band certainly didn't disappoint. They played a tight set, it appeared that every swell was natural and every note simpler than the last. Silver Starling could be categorized as "radio friendly", but that is in no way a insult, I would be proud to hear a track like the upbeat "Ghosts" or the more tragic "Love and a Broken Heart" on the radio. Silver Starling's is only building momentum for what will surely be a good year. Also, their album cover has some of the best art of the year.
Congratulations to Kara Strang and her initiative in bringing together Ottawa music journalists, photographers, and bloggers. The events have already begun to connect the community with the artists who are passing through Ottawa. I've often complained of the lack of cooperation within the community and I see this as a leap forward in terms of stimulating Ottawa's scene.