Photos and Article by: Adrienne Row – Smith
Ottawa, Ontario — Ottawa’s most visually stimulating venue, House of Targ, hosted the second to last date of Red Handed Denial and Vaerisa’s Canadian east coast tour. The two bands were supported by opening acts Fragile Figures and Sovereign Council.
Up first for the evening were Ottawa natives Fragile Figures, who played an energetic set, which saw vocalist Jess Bianconi navigate the stage and interact with her band members, and guitarist Tiago Underwood – Santos attempt to dominate the stage with his guitar solos and showmanship. The band’s setlist showcased songs off their recently released EP, The Truth of My Becoming, which saw the band take on a more insightful, positive performance.
Following Fragile Figures, were Kingston power metal band Sovereign Council. The band features two vocalists, which they used to their advantage to create music which appears to playoff opposition, and creates an atmosphere of struggle which was captivating to watch. This theatrical dynamic was further emphasized with their song titles, such as “Fear Itself,” and “Hunger.” To back up their theatrical personas, vocalists Lisa Thompson and Alexander MacWilliam worked the stage interacting with their band members, either by leaning on them or mimicking their strumming. Vocalist Alexander MacWilliam attempted to engage with the crowd by stepping off stage and singing within the crowd. These tactics added to their set and ended with quite a large crowd wanting more.
Electro/Orchestral rock Vaerisa were next to take the stage, drawing a large group of the crowd in close with their unique band lineup, which features a violinist, keyboardist/guitarist and no bassist. The band featured a strong variance in dynamics throughout their set, with vocalist Kierah Taylor’s vocals ringing beautifully in tandem with the work of their violinist. With each song, the crowd’s engagement grew, with many drawing in close and enjoying the music that Vaerisa had so clearly taken the time to craft. Despite the technical issues that resulted in a late start for the band, Vaersia turned the negative into positive, and left a remarkable impression on the crowd, as many flocked afterward to get their EP Heliograph. Definitely a solid first time in Ottawa.
When it was finally time for Red Handed Denial to take the stage, a large crowd was hovering around the stage. As soon as the band began to play, the crowd lost their collective minds, with half throwing themselves to the music while the other clambered over each in an effort to gain the attention of the band and sing into vocalist Lauren Babic’s microphone. While Babic handled crowd engagement duties in between songs. By fiercely running and jumping around the stage, each member of the band was their own captivating spectacle. Even behind his kit, drummer Tyson Dang was a sight to behold, as he threw in some dabs and dance movements while also keeping the band on track. Near the end of their set, some of the individuals within the crowd were so overjoyed to see the band, that they attempted to join them on stage but failed as others pulled them away. If that’s an indicator, Red Handed Denial delivered a fierce performance and made sure that if you weren’t a fan of them before the show, you most assuredly were after.