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Posts tagged “live

A Fortunate Return! Don’t miss it!

Santuarium @ the Rainbow

Back at the beginning of August I was present at a show out in the east-end at the relatively new Obsession live lounge. The show was sparsely attended, due in part to the fact that it was competing with at least two other shows happening elsewhere on the same evening. While I’m sure those other events were just as enjoyable, the fact remains that those who didn’t attend missed a talented band from the other side of the world. Usually, such an opportunity wouldn’t happen again.

Fortunately, Brazil’s Santuarium have stuck around our corner of the world and will be coming back to storm the Rainbow on the 16th with Tomahawk Punch and Creeping Beauty. I can’t stress enough how good this band is (check out my review of the last show) and how much they deserve a howling crowd to greet them. Their approach to Metal is one of the most unique I’ve seen, coating their hard rock core with symphonic and gothic elements without allowing those elements to diminish their punchy guitar work and headbanging compositions.

So it’s a Wednesday night. Not the most convenient thing in the world, I know. But this is a dedicated band from across the globe that deserves an appreciative crowd. What else were you going to do that night?

Seriously, don’t miss these guys again. They’re killer!

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Live!: Criticull (w/ Dissentient, Alcoholator, Screamer, Barrow Wight) @ Cafe Dekcuf, 21/07/12

It’s always worth taking part when a small band from across the world makes it’s way to sleepy little Ottawa. It’s also worth participating in any event wherein one of the most fun live acts in our fair city pulls headlining duty. So needless to say, I was pretty excited for this little event.

Unfortunately, thanks in large part to OC Transpo, I was late to the show and only managed to catch the last few songs of opener Barrow Wight‘s set. What I heard was a band working largely within a Venom-esque framework, but pouring in liberal doses of prog rock à la Jethro Tull. An interesting mix to be sure, and one full of potential. One thing the band still lacks is a true stage presence and energy. The members, in large part, just stood around looking at the instruments as if they were a little unsure of their playing. However, it was also evident that they were enjoying themselves, and that is the soil from which charisma springs. (7/10)

Screamer on the other hand, while being no older than yours truly, had the presence and passion of seasoned vets. NWOBHM by way of Sweden (i.e. Iron Maiden by way of Torch), this is total throwback Metal with dead serious intent and execution. Vocalist and Bass guitar player Christoffer Svensson is a talented frontman in the early 80s British mold, his voice reminding this writer of Tygers of Pan Tang‘s Jon Deverill, punctuated by highs reminiscent of Sin After Sin-era Halford.  Drummer Henrik Petersson is no slouche either, doing some very interesting stuff that most drummers don’t even bother with. Instead of just maintaining the beat, he throws in little flourishes and extra hits in tasteful places throughout the tunes. An extra dimension to an already rock solid force. (9/10)

Montreal’s Alcoholator is a full-on Thrash act with the philosophy that the world revolves around two things: Heavy Metal and Booze. Far from a unique approach to be sure (I can think of at least one band that has made an entire career out of the exact same concept) but that doesn’t make Alcoholator any less fun to watch and listen too. All instruments are solid and vocalist Matt Butcher is an adept in the use of that good ‘ol Thrash rasp, and the songwriting shows moments of brilliance. Some of the Thrash breaks actually gave me chills (Re: “Drink Beer… or Die Trying”). They have a long way to go before becoming masters of the mosh, but if they can stay the course and continue improving, Montreal could have yet another really special band in their midst. (7/10)

When Gatineau’s Dissentient appeared, their frontman Phil Campbell stood centre stage wearing a Fear Factory t-shirt, and that was certainly an apt comparison. This is a bruising Death Metal unit lying somewhere between that aformentioned California juggernaut and Montreal Tech-Death legends Gorguts. Standing out like a sore thumb as the heaviest unit of the evening, it was evident that this was a band who not only loves what they do, but know know their way around the respective instruments. The technicality in each members’ playing was incredible, and made moreso by the fact it looked easy. Bass guitarist Stef Stomphe is like a caveman who just discovered fire, flayling away on his instrument like he invented it. Throw in a song length Star Trek reference (specifically infamous TNG-era bad guys The Borg) and you have pretty much the perfect, nerdy, Tech-Death unit. (8.5/10)

Headliners Criticull are one of those bands who’ll never dissappoint. That has a lot to do with the fact that there’s no one else doing exactly what they’re doing. Sure there are reference points: Suicidal Tendencies, Primus, and early Faith No More are obvious influences. But, no one really truly blends Funk, Thrash, Hardcore, and a gonzo sense of humour and manages to keep it heavy and energetic. Yet despite how much they have going on, the songs themselves manage to stand-out and even become memorable, “Sabre the Flavour” and “Who Killed You?” being hilarious highlights. If you’re an open-minded Ottawa music fan, this is a band you need to see. Their is no one like them and, if they chose it, they could take their brand very far. (9/10)

Overall show score: \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ (8 out of 10)

Photos courtesy of the fantastic Gilles Landreville of GMLPhoto! If you wish to inquire as to his services, you can e-mail him at this address.


Live!: Diemonds (w/ Black Stone Hearts, Eagleson, Old James) 22/06/2012

Dirty, Nasty, and Sleazy…

Those are the best words to sum up the feeling that I had from the moment I walked up to Ritual‘s front entrance on Besserer Street. It’s a feeling that would carry through the entirety of the evening, and it was bloody excellent. This wasn’t one of the most technically awe inspiring shows I’ve seen, but it was certainly one of the most fun!

The evening started with a set from the new group Old James, a traditional Hard Rock/Southern Rock  group formed by the Stephenson brothers of Aggressor along with Spencer Levon of Fatality on Keyboard and Graham MacKrell on Bass guitar. Refreshingly different from Aggressor’s Thrash and Groove, Old James is a band that certainly knows how to get a good party started. Good Licks and tunes, coupled with the infectious energy and the jovial, almost comedic attitude of the collected musicians (especially Brian and Spencer, possibly the funniest guys in the room) all equal an entertaining band with miles of potential. The only problem was Spencer’s keyboards being nearly inaudible in the mix. Otherwise, the perfect start to the evening. (8/10)

Eagleson is a band that improves everytime I see them. Their Zeppelin-esque brand of rock continues to evolve as does their performance. This time around the band incorporated Native-American inspired, Genesis-influenced face-painting into their live and lively spectacle; a choice that could have been a bit overbearing and brow-beating had the guys not had the energy to play it off. They absolutely did, with the band members bopping around the stage and visibly having whole heaps of fun with their music. Alex De Paul’s vocals were a little muddy in the group’s live mix, but the man has enough personality to push forward the feel of his music without needing to hear every word said.  Looking forward to the next time I see this rockin’ tribal dance on stage. (9/10)

This was my first time witnessing a performance from Ottawa’s own Black Stone Hearts, and I was really unsure what to expect. What I got was a loud, raucous, sloppy, nasty joke from a group of absolute street urchins, and I mean that in the best possible way. These guys embody the spirit of Faster Pussycat and early G’NR, while channeling the blues influence of AC/DC and Cinderella. I’ve never felt closer to the Sunset Strip than during BSH’s set. Vocalist “The Surge” slithered around the stage like a reptile, spouting tales of sex, sin, and decadence, while guitarists Coup and George laid down the dirtiest riffs and the sloppiest, most drunken solos this side of Mötley Crüe (again, meant in the best way). The rythm section of Johnny (Bass) and Spliff (Drums) does a truly superb job of keeping the whole wasted, sex-addled mess from falling apart under it’s own sleaze. These guys put on a hell of a show and, mark my words, they’re a band to watch. (8.5/10)

The sleaze didn’t stop there however, as the assembled audience was in store for one more round, courtesy of Toronto rock sluts Diemonds. It’s an amazing testament to vocalist Priya Panda that she can sound 100% as crisp and clean in a live setting as on the band’s recorded output, competing note for note with her speed demon band mates. The whole group, infact, was probably the tightest of the evening, not missing a beat throughout their whole performance. This is without a doubt due to the fact that Diemonds has been a touring machine over the last weeks and months, opening for huge acts, including Slash, along the way. In any case, these guys have the feel of a fully-realized, professional outfit that I really can’t fully compare to anyone, but early Def Leppard and Australia’s Airbourne definitely come to mind at points. With a set of songs full to brimming with shout-along choruses, a high energy, booze-fueled stage show, and a gorgeous leather-lunged rock witch on the mic, well the sky’s the limit. Check ’em out before they’re selling out Scotiabank Place! (9/10)

Ultimately, if you came to this show looking for tunes that are technically challenging, ultra-heavy, or full of meaningful lyrical themes, you probably left a little dissappointed. But then you came to this show for entirely the wrong reasons ’cause this was nothing short of an honest to god rock ‘n roll party on all fronts. If it’s too loud, you’re too old!

Overall show score: \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m (8.5 out of 10)