Ballads for Ballets – S11E06

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It’s one of the rare times I would write about Canadian politics. Wednesday night at Babylon Nightclub was a free event of live music and getting people informed to vote for the upcoming Canadian election in a non-partisan way. The federal election is less than a couple of days away and so far, there has been a bigger turnout for advance polls during the Thanksgiving weekend and interest among the political parties vying for people’s vote.

The event, Ballads for Ballots was hosted by Ottawa Showbox in conjunction with Beau’s All Natural Brewing & Gallery Recording Studios as they brought the best in the Ottawa music scene. The three acts ranged from Folk to Hip-Hop to Pop. First to perform was Malak, who’s from the US and now based in Ottawa. Her music ranges from Jazz, Opera and Pop. Second was Ottawa’s own Jim Bryson and it’s pretty self-explanatory about him as I written so many times about his music. He did talk about politics and the place he’s living at. Last but not least was G.Grand as he’s become prominent in the Ottawa Hip-Hop scene. He made some accomplishments as he performed two times on different days at the 2015 edition of RBC Ottawa Bluesfest.

There were speeches by Jenn Jefferys (freelance writer) and Elizabeth Gray-Smith (iPolitics) as they told the crowd to get out and vote on October 19th and get their voice heard. As well, there were booths by Samara Canada and Elections Canada to show how to vote and practice come voting day.

It was good event and great to see people I know around as usual. Good job on Ottawa Showbox for holding the event as well as the sponsors that helped out to do raffle draw.
You can check the photos over at Flickr by clicking HERE.

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A Few Goodies and Polaroids from the Polaris Gala – S11E02

Polaris 2015 Goodies

The day after the 2015 Polaris Music Prize Gala had been buzzing over Buffy Sainte-Marie’s win on various sites from to The Guardian and other music sites like Exclaim. For some good laughs on Exclaim, they posted Twitter reactions for the 2015 Polaris Music Prize, go to this link. One of my tweets was on it.
Aside from that, it’s great to be back in Ottawa and the day after the Gala in Toronto, I was feeling unwell but have recovered.

Onto the goodies and a couple of more photos. It’s the second year to shoot Polaroids using The Impossible Project film. I didn’t shoot a lot this time because of the big lens for the Sony a7 camera. I was able to take a Polaroid of Sainte-Marie prior to the Gala and later becoming the eventual winner. I was able to snag a copy of The Polaris Cover Sessions #1 on vinyl and the green booklet as pictured above.

With the instant photos, I only took a photo of a radio host on SiriusXM, a photo of the band, Dwayne Gretzky at the afterparty. Those were it. You can view it below.

Due to pulling an all nighter from the Gala on Monday night, I didn’t get a chance to post more photos. Posted below are the 2015 shortlist posters. I added a couple of photos over on Flickr, just click HERE to view the album.
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The 2015 Polaris Music Prize Gala – S11E01 (Season Premiere)

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The 2015 edition of the Polaris Music Prize unveiled their winner for best album of the year and it went to Buffy Sainte-Marie for her album, Power In The Blood. Quite fitting that it’s back to back years for an Aboriginal artist to winning the prize.

To start season 11 of the blog, it was fitting to attend the Polaris Music Prize Gala for the second. This year is no exception for the prize as it’s now ten years old. The Polaris Music Prize has garnered a lot of attention in the Canadian media due in part of the 200 writers, journalist, DJs and personalities from across Canada to show the passion of Canadian music.
This year’s prize got upped to $50,000 with the sponsors and supporters of Canadian music.

Out of the ten shortlisted nominees, the ones performed were Buffy Sainte-Marie, Alvvays, Braids, Jennifer Castle, Viet Cong (who will be changing their band name). As well as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra accompanying on some of the performers and bands.
There’s other points that I left out due to the time of writing this entry.

This year’s host was Fred Penner and he sure entertained the crowd and show his love of Canadian music.
Overall, it was a great time attending the Polaris Music Prize Gala and always a thrill to see people I know. Kudos to Steve Jordan and the staff at Polaris for keeping the job done. It’s a blast to be in Toronto.

You can check the photos over at Flickr by clicking HERE.

Loon Choir at Marvest (Preseason)

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On Friday night, the nine member band, Loon Choir played at Marvest as part of the Cityfolk. Cityfolk is formerly Ottawa Folk Festival as it got renamed and a new location in Lansdowne Park.

Loon Choir played to a delightful crowd as it was their album release show on Friday night. The location of the free show was at the Aberdeen Pavilion. Their third full length, All Of This And Everything Else took them 1.5 years to make and you can listen to it over on CBC Music.

The local band mixes a variety of instruments from the keyboards to guitars and violins. You would say it’s an epic band. For anyone interested, even though the members don’t appear in the music video as it’s animated, check out their track, Bug on YouTube.
Overall, they played a great set to showcase their new album and it was fun to see some people I know at the concert. It’s awesome to see Loon Choir again and perform live.

You can check out the photos over on Flickr by clicking HERE.

Lastly, before the new season starts, I will be in Toronto for the Polaris Music Prize Gala on Monday, September 21st. Expect some updates on my social media. Get ready for season 11 of the blog.

Polaris Panel: Ottawa, 2015 Edition (Summer Special)

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On Tuesday night, the National Arts Centre hosted the Polaris Music Prize Panel at the Fourth Stage. The panel was moderated by Polaris founder, Steve Jordan and the panelists this year had Alan Neal of CBC’s All In A Day, Ryan Bresee of Whatever’s Cool With Me, Catherine Pogonat of Radio-Canada and Julie Ledoux of Voir.

This year is unique as the panel brought a juror from Montreal and brought some female representation to it. As usual, the panel discussed how the jurors picked their long and shortlist albums. Some had a difficult time putting a particular album on the list and what was considered a strong album to be on it. Another topic brought up was Francophone content being emphasized and recommended. Since Karkwa winning the prize in 2010, there’s been less recommendation for Francophone albums.
There was a good turnout for the panel compared to last year.
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Nancy Pants at Pressed [Summer Special]


Continuing the Summer entries on the blog. A concert I went was at Pressed on Sunday night, it was presented by Pop Montreal and Debaser. The lineup consisted of Raas, Look Vibrant and Nancy Pants. The photo above showed Street Meat but the band cancelled, thus Raas was the replacement.

I have been wanting to see Nancy Pants and they never played Ottawa. I missed them in Toronto during NXNE in June. The Montreal band consists of Ohara Hale, Adam Waito (from Adam and the Amethysts) and Jeremy McCuish (from various bands like Nanimal and Nightwood). Their sound brought a lot of lo-fi, garage and 60s rock & roll music. Hale showed a lot of presence with her shouting and growling vocals while Waito rocked on the bass and MacCuish bringing the heavy drumming.

Total Nancy Pants, their debut LP was released in November 2014, which is you can check at Bandcamp and Apple Music. They’re continuing to make new music as they performed new tracks from the show at Pressed. Overall, it was a good show to see the three bands.

You can check the photos over at Flickr by clicking HERE. Below is an Impossible photo of Nancy Pants. Used with the Lulu Guinness frame.

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Saturday at Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival – S10E34 [Season Finale]

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It was another exciting time at the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival. The lineup for Saturday’s concert was amazing to say the least. It consisted of Ottawa’s The Acorn, who I have been seeing a lot recently as Rolf Klausener and company released the new album, Vieux Loup. The album is also on the 2015 Polaris Music Prize long list.

Following The Acorn was Jeremy Fisher, who now lives in Ottawa. He had a good set and brought a lot of fun humour which the crowd loved. After Fisher was done, next was The Rural Alberta Advantage and they didn’t disappoint. They were rocking each songs and the crowd enjoyed it.

Last, but not least was Dan Mangan + Blacksmith, who I last saw back in February for NAC Presents. Mangan and his band returned to Ottawa for the Dragon Boat Festival. Also, his band mates were doing double duty as two of the members played as Peregrine Falls and they performed at Ottawa Jazz Festival prior to going to Dragon Boat Festival.

Dan Mangan + Blacksmith did not disappoint as they played tracks from their album, Club Meds and previous songs from Oh Fortune and Nice, Nice, Very Nice. The encore set had some favourites from Robots, Basket and a few others.

Overall, it was great attending Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival as I missed out from last year due to NXNE in Toronto being at the same time. What I love about Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival is that the concert series is all Canadian and it’s free. The organizers love and understand Canadian music. It was fun to hang out with some of the CBC Radio 3 fans as they were at the festival. It was a great to overcome my post-NXNE withdrawal. Marvellous job, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival!

You can check out the photos over at Flickr by clicking HERE. Continue reading