Monday, 26 August 2013

Chilling on the Rooftop

This weekend, I was happy to spend some time outdoors. Saturday afternoon, G and I met up with my gal Elly to check out some live music on a rooftop. Yep, on a rooftop. This was part of the 4in1 Ottawa Music Sessions, which takes place every month in random spots in the city, featuring local bands and musicians. Great concept! The rooftop that we took over that afternoon was that of the JackPine Agency.

First up was Greg McEvoy, a singer-songwriter from Toronto. I really enjoyed his style of folk music and his lyrics were stuck in my head all day. McEvoy will be playing in Ottawa again in a few weeks at Avant Garde Bar. Go check him out! Also, he's a super chill and nice guy.

Then it was Ilvekyo's turn. The duo from Peterborough was really entertaining. They showed up a bit late, so they didn't play as long as I would have liked them to. Their music sounded like a mix between rockabilly and country. I especially enjoyed the music, especially because of the stand up bass. That usually seals the deal for me. I sure hope these guys come back to town sometime.

Afterwards, Ottawa's own StillNative performed. Their folk sound also included some elements of blues and jazz at times. It was quite interesting. The vocalist has a nice voice, kind of like Tom Petty meets Bob Dylan. I really wanted to check out the group when they played at the Ottawa Fringe Festival on Canada Day, but I had traveled to Montreal instead to see Woodkid. I'm sure I'll get a chance to see StillNative play again soon.

Finally, it was time for Fevers to jam. The electro/indie rock band gave us a tuned down, chilled out, acoustic performance. This show was part of the 24 hour fever event, in celebration of the release of the group's debut album "No Room for Light". They played a couple of shows within a 24 hour span, including a show at Mugshots Friday night, and an official album release party at Mavericks later that night. They put on a great performance, and Sarah's voice was absolutely beautiful! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to catch their show at Mavericks that evening. However, I am looking forward to seeing the group play their material in its intended form.

Here are some pictures that the awesome folks from JackPine took that lovely afternoon.

This summer has been amazing, and I've listened to some amazing music. I consider myself lucky to live the life I live. I never want summer to end...

On that note, check out "Endless Summer" from the Jezabels, a band I was lucky enough to see live last summer. This song seems quite fitting right about now. Enjoy!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Julie Goes to Heavy MTL

*This blog post is way overdue. I've been busy with work since I came back, and I've been finding it difficult to bounce back and get back to my blogging routine.*

Two weeks ago, I headed to Montreal for the Heavy MTL festival. My partner has been attending the festival for a few years, but for some reason, it never occurred to me to join him. This year, I decided I wanted to try it out. Although I'd been to quite a few metal shows, I wasn't sure what to expect. I also got some media passes for two of the three days of the festival, which was exciting for me.

On Friday, we headed out early to go to the Metropolis for the Summer Slaughter tour. This event was the kick-off of the festival. The shows began at 3pm and there were 10 bands on the bill. Kudos to evenko for putting on such a well-organized event.

Most of these bands were more hardcore than what I usually listen to. The bands that really stood out for me are Revocation, the Ocean, and Animals as Leaders.

The headliner Dillinger Escape Plan was a bit disappointing, especially compared to the amazing performances of some of the other bands. Their performance was alright, but it just didn't measure up. Also, all of the elements of their show did not work well together. The crazy strobe lights were just too much and they were so distracting during the whole show. It really took away from the performance instead of adding to it. Sometimes a little goes a long way...

Check out my French review of the show for Sors-tu here.


Saturday was a pretty chill day for me. I wasn't writing about any of the shows that day, so we didn't rush to get to Parc Jean-Drapeau. By the time we got there, Device was already playing. We listened to one song and decided it wasn't any good, so we just walked around for a bit.

Later we checked out Hellyeah, a band comprised of half of Muvayne and half of Damage Plan, including of Chad Gray, Mudvayne singer and Vinnie Paul, drummer of Damage Plan and Pantera and the brother of the late Dimebag Darrell. My partner called the style "Hillbilly Metal" and I told him I would probably enjoy that. Turns out, the only reason he used the term "Hillbilly Metal" is because the music is about drinking beers, smoking weed and looking at boobs (I am paraphrasing here). No, the music isn't groundbreaking (especially not the lyrics), but the performance was entertaining and I enjoyed it.

We walked over to see Baroness. After two songs, we left because we were not impressed with the band's lackluster performance. The sound was off and sounded very thin, compared to the full sound that we hear on the albums. I was disappointed because I was expecting so much more.

While we were waiting near the front for Black Label Society, we unfortunately had to listen to Steel Panther. That felt like absolute torture. As a woman, I felt offended by everything that came out of these guys' mouths. Yes, I realize that the band is a "joke" band that makes fun of all other hair metal band but regardless... I think the band is an absolute atrocity.

Finally, Zakk Wylde and the boys of Black Label Society came out on stage and we were right up front. The band put on a good performance. I've seen them live a few times and this was far from being their best performance but it was still really fun. They ended their set with "Suicide Messiah", my favourite BLS song. It's always great to see Zakk Wylde and his bandmates perform.

Later, we saw Danzig with Doyle. I knew nothing about this group whatsoever. Turns out that singer/songwriter Glenn Danzig is one of the founding members of the Misfits. He is joined by guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, also from the Misfits. He was very entertaining to watch. Rob Zombie came on stage to sing with Danzig for one of the songs. For the duration of the song, Zombie's mic was not working, which was unfortunate.

Finally, it was time to check out Megadeth. For years, I've purposely avoided listening to Megadeth because I am not a fan of Dave Mustaine. However, seeing as they were playing anyways, why not give them a chance at Heavy MTL? Well, am I ever glad I did! I was blown away... The group put on a great performance. My favourite part of the show was the energy from the crowd. It was contagious... I couldn't help but smile and look around during the show. Die-hard Megadeth fans were everywhere. They knew the words to every songs and were singing them loudly during the show. It was quite special, and it made the experience that much greater.

We didn't stick around for Avenged Sevenfold, who were the big headliner of the evening. Instead, we went out for some beers aux Foufounes Électriques.


Sunday, I was officially on assignment for Sors-tu and I had a big lineup of acts to cover so we headed out really early to check out Huntress. I really enjoyed the performance and their sound was inspired by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (Judas Priest, Iron Maiden). Also, the lead singer was quite entertaining to watch.

Afterwards, it was time for Fintroll. The performance started off with some technical difficulties but that was quickly resolved, and the show progressed smoothly. The band played their blend of folk metal to the enthusiastic crowd. Band members were wearing costumes and makeup, dressing up like trolls (or elves). However, their costumes were definitely not as intense as Gwar. Despite the fact that the lyrics are in Swedish and I couldn't understand anything, I really enjoyed the performance. The crowd was showing them a lot of love. Many fans in the crowd were sporting elf-like ears and costumes, which I thought was great. Their performance was a great segway for the next group.

During the festival, I saw a lot of Amon Amarth t-shirts and had no clue who the band was. I was eager to check them out, seeing as there were tons of fans around. Boy, was I ever surprised! The band members came out on stage looking like Scandinavian gods. The crowd was so intense... The energy was out of this world! The lead singer was polite and quite charming. He won me over right away. By far my favourite discovery of the festival.

Then it was time for Phil Anselmo. He's not as charming as our friend in Amon Amarth... I enjoyed Anselmo's set a lot. The only downfall was that he wouldn't stop talking between songs. This guy is cocky, and he knows it. My partner tells me that this is the brilliant thing about Anselmo: he's full of himself and he doesn't give a shit. Fair enough; I just didn't care much for it. Regardless, people really seemed to enjoy the show (including my partner who was in the middle of the mosh pit during the entirety of the performance).

A while later, I saw Machine Head. I had heard a lot about this band. I was told that Machine Head was one of the loudest band I would see in concert. For some reason, I was expecting something more hardcore than what it actually was. I was pleasantly surprised with the performance and I really enjoyed the group. I hope I get to see them play again.

I was excited to check out Havok. A nice crowd had gathered at the stage, despite the fact that the band was playing at the same time as Mastodon. The band was very energetic and so was the crowd. They played songs like "Scumbag in Disguise", "DOA", "Give Me Liberty… Or Give Me Death" and they ended their set with "Time is Up". Although the set was short, the crowd was happy. One of the best performances of the festival, in my opinion.

After Havok, I rushed back to see the last part of Mastodon's set. I had planned to listen to the last 20 minutes of their set, but I only managed to hear a song and a half. Last time the band played Heavy MTL in 2010, they started their set late. This time, they ended their set early. Also, I was surprised that there wasn't that many people checking out the show. From what I saw, there was nothing extraordinary about their show or their music.
We made our way to the front of the stage for Rob Zombie while Godsmack was playing so we watched the show from the giant screens. Honestly, I was shocked at the giant crowd that gathered to catch the show. I was under the impression that Godsmack had not released any new music in a really long time. Regardless, the crowd was really into it. The band played some of their biggest hits, including "Voodoo" and "I Stand Alone". Overall, I wasn't expecting such a good show and I was very impressed with the band's performance and with the crowd as well.

Finally, the person I had been waiting  to see all week-end: Rob Zombie. I am a huge fan of Rob Zombie and I had seen him live twice before and both shows were fantastic. So my expectations were quite high for this show, and I was not disappointed! Although his latest album "Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor" came out earlier this year, he only played two new songs: "Teenage Nosfaratu Pussy" and "Dead Radio". He also played some White Zombie songs: "Thunder Kiss '65", "More Human Than Human" and "Super-Charger Heaven". This show included everything from lights, flames, fireworks, confetti... You name it! The show ended with "Dragula", one of his most popular songs. Overall, great energy and performance from Zombie and his band members. Watching guitarist John 5 in action is always a treat! If you haven't seen Rob Zombie in concert, do yourself a favour and check him out next time he comes to town.

You can read my official (French) review for the Sunday shows here.


Me and G before Phil Anselmo takes the stage
Overall, I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed Heavy MTL. I was expecting some good shows but I had no idea how intense and dedicated the crowd would be. This definitely added to the experience, and made the shows even more enjoyable.

I also really enjoyed meeting some fellow bloggers that I know and follow on Twitter, including Montreal Concerts, the guys from Boulevard Brutal and la Musicographe. We decided to gather at the VIP tent so we could actually meet in person, which was very cool! I respect these bloggers, so it was really nice to finally meet them in person.

Again, I had an absolute blast at Heavy MTL and I regret waiting so long to check it out. See you metalheads next year!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

A Thrifty Guide to Pride

Originally published on Couch Assassin.

This weekend officially kicks off this year's Capital Pride Festival, where we celebrate all the colours of the rainbow. This event is the perfect opportunity for the LGBTQ community and its allies and friends to come together and celebrate our diversity.

This year’s festival has something for everyone! In addition, many of the events organized are free of charge! What’s better than that? There’s no excuse to stay home. Get out there and go celebrate!

Here are a few ideas of some free events you can check out during the 10-day festival:

Workshops & Discussion Groups

Our friendly neighbourhood sex shop is offering a free workshop on August 19th. Venus Envy is presenting "Sex Toys for Queers", a workshop for anyone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, or any or all of the above. Venus Envy is located at 320 Lisgar St.

Pink Triangle Services (PTS) is hosting their bi-weekly “Biamore” discussion group. The bi-weekly drop-in group aims to create a comfortable space to gather and talk about issues related to being bisexual, pansexual, bi-curious and questioning. The group will discuss the visibility of bisexuality within the queer community. PTS is located at 331 Cooper Street, Suite 200.

The Great Outdoors

On August 19th, head out to Hintonburg Park for Capital Pride's Annual Picnic in the Park for LGBT+ families and friends. This event is in partnership with the Ten Oaks Project, a volunteer organization that engages and connects children and youth from LGBTQ communities. Learn more about the Ten Oaks Project here.

Take me out to the ball game! On August 24th, the Dykes take on the Divas in a family-friendly softball game. The action takes place at Riverain Park starting at 2pm. Don't know much about softball? Doesn't matter! This is a great way to spend some time in the sunshine and cheer on the athletes.

Focus on Youth

Capital Pride will feature many events targeted to youth, and they are all free! These events include an Open Mic Night and a Cabaret Prom Night, among others. For more information on the youth events, contact

Marching Together

Of course, we can't forget the parade! No Pride festival would be complete without it. On August 25th, head downtown with your friends and family members to check out this year’s parade. At 1pm, the parade will leave the corner of Bank and Gladstone and march its way to City Hall. After the parade, there will be tons of great programming taking place on the main stage at Marion Dewar Plaza. The programming includes drag shows, burlesque performances and a performance by musical act the Cliks.

Safe to say, there are tons of free events to choose from during this year's Capital Pride. Although not all the Pride events are free, they are still worth checking out. The festival will host many events in collaboration with community organizations that work with Ottawa's LGBTQ community. Be sure to check out some of these events and find out more about what these organizations are doing for our community.

What Capital Pride events are you looking forward to?

2013 Capital Pride Festival
August 16-25, 2013
Various locations

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Friday @ Osheaga 2013

On Friday, I traveled to Montreal to check out the great lineup of day 1 of Osheaga.

Just like last year, I decided to attend only one day of the 3 day festival. Luckily for me, 99% of the acts I wanted to see were playing on Friday. Safe to say, I was absolutely thrilled.

My day started off chilling at la Scène des arbres while Ponctuation was playing. The band, comprised of two brothers from Quebec City, put on a good performance. Their style was very White Stripes meets DFA 1979, grunge style.

Afterwards I walked back to la Scène de la montagne to see Daughter. To be honest, I only heard their music the day before Osheaga. I had heard of the band previously and I was thinking to myself that I would probably like their music. And I was right. The British indie folk band, fronted by Elena Tonra, sounded absolutely divine. Tonra was charming and very humble. You could tell she was overwhelmed by the love from the crowd; she couldn't stop smiling! I would love to hear them play in a smaller, more intimate setting, where you can really absorb the sound. The crowd was way too loud for music so soft and moody.

Up next was Ben Howard. Although I wasn't facing la Scène de la rivière during the set, I did watch from the giant screens. The English singer/songwriter sounded great. He played material from his debut album "Every Kingdom", released in 2011, including this hit single "Only Love". Although the sound was great, it was the same situation as Daughter's performance: the music was too mellow and chill, and the crowd was too loud. It definitely took away from the show.

Finally, the moment I was waiting for: Alt-J. I've been anticipating this show for months, and obsessively listening to their album "An Awesome Wave". They started their set with "Interlude" followed by "Tessellate". They played most songs from their album. The band sounded fantastic! The crowd was very enthusiastic, and the energy was absolutely amazing (especially since I was near the stage). The show was as good as I expected and I was extremely happy.

Right after, it was time for Two Door Cinema Club. The crowd was very energetic, and most people were dancing up a storm. A really fun show with a really good setlist. The band played a good mix of songs from both their debut album "Tourist History" and their latest release "Beacon". I was very pleased with their set and I danced my little heart out.

Two Door Cinema Club. Image - Patrick Beaudry

Then it was time for the lovely Ellie Goulding to take the stage. She began her set with the song "Don't Say a Word". As soon as her show started, the sound was off. There was a loud crackling that you could hear through the speaker. It was beyond annoying. Near the end of her set, the issue was finally resolved. Goulding played a good mix of tracks from both her albums, including "Animal", "Under the Sheets", "Explosions", "My Blood", "Figure 8" and "I Need Your Love". She also played her latest single "Burn", which will be featured in a re-released "Halcyon" album. Her performance ended with "Anything Could Happen" and "Lights". When she spoke to the crowd, it sounded like Goulding had lost her voice. I believe this may have affected her performance. Overall, it was good, but not great.

Afterwards, it was Vampire Weekend's turn. The band started their show with "Diane Young", their first single off their latest album "Modern Vampires in the City". Honestly, it's pretty much the only song that I really wanted to hear. I also ventured to la Scène verte to meet some friends and chill out for a bit. I wasn't bummed about missing most of Vampire Weekend's set seeing as they will be playing at the Ottawa Folkfest.

I walked back to la Scène de la montagne right on time to see Phoenix. Their performance really wowed me. I was expecting a good show, but I did not expect that. It sounded like I was listening a CD; it sounded that good! The band started with "Entertainment", the first single off their latest album "Bankrupt!". They played a lot of songs from their hit album "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix", including "Lasso", "Armistice", "Lisztomania" and "1901". Singer Thomas Mars was absolutely insane! He kept throwing himself in the audience (nearly). Near the end of the set, he actually wandered into the giant crowd with his microphone. The show ended with Mars swimming his way back from the audience to the stage. It was pretty spectacular. Overall, great show, great energy. Very entertaining! By far the biggest surprise of the day for me.

Thomas Mars of Phoenix. Image - Patrick Beaudry

My evening ended with a visit to la Scène verte to check out Beach House. I don't know much about the group, except a friend of mine told me that I might really enjoy their music. And I did! The duo plays "dream pop", which makes a lot of sense. The sound is very synth-inspired and is definitely chill, ambiance music (in my opinion).  La Scène verte was the perfect venue for this performance. The weather, the night sky, the crowd and the music... It was just perfect. I decided to leave after the performance, because it was seriously the perfect way to end the perfect day.

Overall, Friday at this year's Osheaga was absolutely amazing. All the bands put on great performance and I could not have asked for a better day of music.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Countdown to Osheaga: Phoenix

Osheaga starts TOMORROW! Holy crap...

Who I'm excited to see: Phoenix.

First of all, I'm surprised I haven't seen Phoenix live yet. My best friends recommended this band to me a few years back. She also told me that they are fantastic live, so I'm really looking forward to their show.

The French band just released their sixth studio album, "Bankrupt!" earlier this year and it has been getting good reviews. From what I've heard of the album, it's great (still waiting to get my hands on it).

Their previous album "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix", released back in 2009, definitely put the band on the radar and received a lot of accolades. It even won the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album in 2010.

Check out the video for the song "Entertainment", the first single off their latest album "Bankrupt!". I can't wait to hear this live. Enjoy!