Photos and Article by: Adrienne Row – Smith
Ottawa, Ontario – This past Saturday was host to an intimate crowd enjoying a 7 band bill at Cafe Dekcuf, with headliners The New Electric and Courage My Love. Other acts for the night included Rachel Stiles, Project Mantra, Taylor Angus, and a CD release show for Nolan Hubbard.
Up first for the evening was Ottawa local Rachel Stiles, who played a collection of original songs such as “Raw Bones” and “Kids Again,” which she said she wrote about someone who brings out the inner child in you. Overall, her set was an intimate look into her experiences and was a good segway for the following sets.
Following Stiles, was folk – punk band Project Mantra, of Brockville who helped to create a memorable evening. Although they played an acoustic set, the band were able to get the energy boosted in the venue, which they did with the help of some jokes in between songs. The band played some great tunes, such as “Dark of the Dawn,” an ode to the superhero Batman, and a great cover of “Blister in the Sun,” (Originally by Violent Femmes).
The duo known as Taylor Angus followed Project Mantra, transitioned back in the soul and jazz with a hint of folk atmosphere, with their opening cover of “Valerie,” a song written by The Zutons. Following the lead of Project Mantra, the couple also made jokes throughout their set between songs like “Blow My Fuse,” and “Say Goodbye to Yesterday” but also had a tendency to make jokes during their songs. This made for a uniquely comical performance, but at times took away from the emotional impact of their music.
Following the dynamic duo, Hamilton native Nolan Hubbard took the stage to showcase his newest release, Luminosity. While playing an acoustic set was the theme for the night, it was clear during his set that the songs he played are meant to have a full rock sound, but going acoustic worked within the more intimate nature of the show overall. Hubbard also spent time encouraging the crowd to participate, especially during the song “Stars in the Sky,” which got most of the crowd to clap along, even the members of the bigger touring bands to join in.
After Nolan Hubbard, it was time for The New Electric to grace the stage. The band got the crowd moving and dancing to their rock-pop sound. The band supercharged the crowd with energy, featuring a host of antics, such as members completely switching instruments which had drummer Adam Casey switch from playing the drums to keyboard/synth for their covering of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”, or using glowing drumsticks made for a really unique experience. During the song “Inside Out,” which lead vocalist Kyle McKnearney used the lyrics from for his wedding vows, saw Mercedes Arn- Horn of Courage My Love come up and join the band to sing along. Even though this show felt extremely intimate, the band knew just how to get the crowd going, definitely a band to see if come to a city near you.
Closing out the evening was Courage My Love who took the stage playing songs from their latest release Synesthesia. For the song “Two Headed Monster,” lead vocalist Mercedes Arn – Horn got extremely close with the crowd and encouraged those who knew the lyrics to sing with her into the microphone or she would put her arm around and sing with them. This showed that even though the band have spent more time in the United States and Europe playing to large crowds, they had no problem coming into the crowd and showing off their Canadian roots. By allowing such an openness with the crowd, where they felt comfortable to dance and hang out with their fans, it made for a very personal experience, and an excellent memory for those that were there. During their encore of two songs, bassist Brandon Lockwood was hoisted up in the air by members of The New Electric, and he attempted to climb a metal pillar in the venue, which added a fun spectacle to their set. This show emphasized the bands’ capabilities, and that for anyone who missed them, they will be back in September with Simple Plan.