This issue includes the inaugural Herd Magazine Holiday Buyers Guide. Local and Canadian boutiques and brands who sell quality goods that make wonderful gifts. From the dapper man’s dream axe, to the cozy Arborist onesies, to the elegant lady’s favourite necklace. They’re displayed within these pages and available for purchase within the Ottawa region. Happy holidays, happy new year, happy winter! Next issue: February 2015.
This year’s Arboretum Festival invited its goers to discover new parts of the city via its showcase concerts, venues, and activities throughout the week. The week of showcase events lead to the finale of the weekend in Waller Park, the event that previous festival patrons were already familiar with. The weekdays, however, each shared their own special highlights, but also appeared to present a few logistical challenges. Having been hosted at several different venues, where each location had different capacity and protocol, sometimes festival guests were turned away, disgruntled at the fact that their full week bracelet couldn’t get them into the show. But despite this kind of a shortcoming (and we know that the Arboretum team will learn from it) the weekdays indeed paved the road to discovery brilliantly. By inviting venues and other promoters in the city to take part in the week of events, festival goers learned about spaces old and new. Here is what we learned on our journey through our Ottawa.
Golden hour is the most beautiful time of day. The soft, sun-kissed glow that every person and object is subject to at this time of day is unmatched by any other natural light. On Tuesday, August 19th, cyclists met under the settling sun and prepared for a convoy, lead by Zara of Ottawa Velo Vogue, from Raw Sugar Cafe to Le Troquet in Vieux-Hull. Dozens of us rode in harmony with unwavering momentum, without worry of either traffic or inhibition. Having strength in numbers, we crowded a lane to ourselves, ruling the streets and sometimes inconveniencing automobiles. It was a welcomed role reversal in a city where cyclists and motorists can’t seem to coexist peacefully. We congregated at Le Troquet to watch Her Harbour, followed by Jesse MacCormack, and ending the night over at Le Petit Chicago for Fau Mardi.
On Wednesday we ventured to St. Alban’s to watch Bosveld, Evening Hymns, and Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars. If we had to pick the best part of this event it would be Evening Hymns, for their harmonies, their stage banter, and the humble personas on stage.
While Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars were gracing the stage at St. Alban’s, the show at Mavericks was just getting started. On the bill: Tropical Dripps, PS I Love You, and Frog Eyes. We can’t tell you how the show went because only ten Arboretum Festival pass holders were let into the venue and we certainly didn’t make it in time. We won’t point fingers, but we’re pretty sure this had very little to do with the Arboretum team and everything to do with one of the co-presenters of the night. Another lesson learned.
Thursday night was a bust for our media team because we weren’t let into House of Targ for Freelove Fenner, Blue Angel, Fresh Snow, and Ought. This was a night we didn’t want to miss, but due to being at capacity, no more people were allowed in. We hope next year Arboretum will account for media so that we are able to cover every event and give the festival the coverage it deserves. Yet again, another lesson learned.
The Waller Park portion of the festival began on Friday night with a Backlot BBQ by Murray Street x town x Rideau Pines Farm. The pig roast, mastered by Murray Street’s Steve Mitton, was accompanied by some delicious sides, including BBQ corn, which was a huge hit.
Kevin Drew closed the night, which also brings us to our WORST portion of the evening. The set, at first, seemed quite promising. Everyone was excited and amped up for it, Kevin’s energy was great, and his band wasn’t fucking up so much. Fast forward to about mid-way through their set and Kevin was pissed at his band for screwing up every thirty seconds and urged that they “get their shit together.” Regardless, Kevin Drew, we’re still huge fans, but next time you visit us please make sure to rehearse a few times first.
Saturday, from beginning to end was the BEST. Absolutely no complaints about this day. So, let’s get to it.
Up first we saw Ottawa’s weird-jazz-folk band, Pony Girl, who individually have so much talent that collectively they make up some sort of super-group that I don’t have enough music education in me to adequately describe.
Following the mystical Pony Girl was Weaves, whose leading vocal goddess truly captivated her audience. The instrumentals embrace melody, and are only interrupted by flashes of weird and chaotic brilliance. This band is not for the easy listener, but for the adventurous listener, who wishes to be both moved and shaken up.
Steve Adamyk Band, who some of our readers recognize from our 1 year anniversary party, and others recognize as Ottawa’s not-so-secret-gem, played to a much more tame crowd than they’re used to. Nonetheless, the band played as if they were on stage at a crowded basement punk show. Guys, please don’t ever stop acting a fool on stage, especially you, Davey, your stance is just too good.
Meanwhile… the EnMasse art wall was underway.
And that brings us to Chad VanGaalen, who Bryan Webb refers to as someone whose “blood flows by unrestrained creative impulses.” Chad VanGaalen is a multi-instrumentalist with a distinct voice that makes you slightly uncomfortable but simultaneously mesmerized by its eerie beauty. His performance, however, is more endearing and awe-inspiring than anything else. Chad’s aura on stage is modest in its delivery, but the content is just so out-of-this world that I couldn’t help but whisper in my mind “we’re not worthy.”
As the night fell upon is, so did the legendary Constantines. Some came more prepared than others.
The highly anticipated return of the Constantines was something you could feel in the air, and when they finally took the stage, they delivered to the people. It was a show that has left Cons fans with a lasting high, even now, weeks after their performance.
Closing off the night, patrons who purchased some of the EnMasse art wall finally got to walk away with their little slice of the pie. Below is the finished product.
This year’s Arboretum was definitely a success, on most fronts. Despite the minor set backs at off-site locations, it was by far the best event of the summer. Thanks to the Arb Team for putting so much heart into an imaginative and inspirational festival. We can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your sleeves for next year!
Don’t forget to download your free HD Wallpaper for your devices, laptop, or iMac, designed and illustrated by local artist With Love or Whatever. And for additional photos check our Facebook page.
Issue #06 is a milestone issue for us. We’ve rebranded entirely. New logo, new layout, same intriguing content. The gallery section is larger. The design is cleaner, more concise. We’d like to think of it as maturing a little but still protruding some of that rebellious nature we love so much.
So, if you’re not within the Ottawa area, please, enjoy this online copy of our 6th issue.
Words by Stephanie Vicente
Photography by Christopher Snow & Zara Ansar
We’ve had a few weeks to digest the ten days of Bluesfest mania. As expected, we’ve heard some mixed reviews of the festival this year, but here we try and establish what is important to patrons and how Bluesfest either met the criteria or fell short. Festival goers, however, are a blend of personalities who share a common landscape in the name of live music. For many, the names on the lineup and the quality of sound are the most meaningful qualities. For others, it’s the experience, plain and simple. So we opted to focus on the experience: the performances (stage presence, production quality, etc), the vibe among the fans and the reception of the crowd.
To make sure we focused on the experience of the festival as opposed to the big name attractions, Herd attended Bluesfest with the intention of exploring the full musical landscape that the festival had to offer. It was important that we discover pleasant surprises and subscribe to the eclectic roster of musicians in order to become new fans of this or that. Of course, there were acts we saw that we expected to blow our minds or at least perform a solid set. Tegan and Sara, for example, have performed the festival before and attracted the fans we expected them to once again. Their stage presence, though not core shaking, has always been consistent with their level of energy and genre of music. Not a memorable set per say, but definitely a name on the lineup that’ll be sure to attract many 14-35 year olds at 8pm on a Thursday evening.
On the same night, however, Gary Clark Jr., a Grammy-award winning artist who we may not listen to very frequently, blew us away. Perhaps some of that was his raw talent, but a lot of it was his energy and soul. Seamlessly marrying a soulful performance with a genuine love for music was his M.O. This guy is a must see if he ever comes around these parts again.
The first Saturday of the festival (July 5th) was our most anticipated day because we knew our night was to be capped off by Deer Tick and Andrew Bird, respectively. In the afternoon we caught local favourite, Kalle Mattson, who always put on a good show, followed by another local act, The Split. Unfortunately, The Split’s performance just wasn’t up to snuff. We had seen them live before in a different setting and it was energizing, fun, memorable. This time, however, they were a disappointment. Perhaps their music doesn’t translate well to the outdoor festival atmosphere. Deer Tick, in retrospect, put on the most endearing show of the entirety of the festival. The first thing we noticed, and so many noticed in the crowd, was each band member’s cup or beer holder for their poison of choice. The bassist, Chris Ryan, was singled out for his wine glass holder, while the rest of the members had beer can holders. Singer, John, and guitarist, Ian, did a little shoulder to shoulder guitar play like they were two rams ramming into one another. Damn, that was good. Not to mention the lip lock that John and Chris shared, too.
As the night progressed, it was easy to identify the Gaga fans dispersed throughout the crowds at each stage, simply killing time. But when Andrew Bird hit the stage, the more modest audience was enthralled in his spell.
After our most anticipated day, we thought it would be tough to beat the enthusiasm felt at both the Deer Tick and Andrew Bird shows. Shit, were we wrong. Sunday, it would turn out, was the day of pleasant surprises.
Lucius, a band we expected would get us dancing, actually had us hypnotized. They’re the band that we know we’ll never get to see in such close proximity again because they’re about to blow up to stardom…seriously. They played in the afternoon outside at the River Stage, which was great. So great, in fact, we couldn’t miss their second performance of the day in the Barney Danson Theatre. So much percussion, so much energy, and so much appreciation for the fans. This is an act who not only has the talent to awe, but the know-how of snagging an audience’s attention well beyond their encore performance. The most memorable moment withLucius? Probably when they had everyone in the theatre come onto the stage and huddle around them as they played unplugged. Yeah, that was flippin’ great.
Vintage Trouble was the biggest surprise to come out of left field and blind us. I don’t think anyone in that crowd had ever seen a front man with so much energy and spunk. The guy seemed to have endless amounts of pizazz. He left the stage, danced through the crowd, climbed the scaffolding of the sound booth, sang to us, danced, climbed back down, and continued the set on stage. The audience, who were eagerly awaiting Mac Demarco, caught Vintage Trouble by accident, but they were definitely picking up what this act was laying down. Ty Taylor closed off the performance with a send-off that says it best: “You didn’t know us, and now, we partied like this together!” Damn right, Ty. We know you now.
Mac Demarco, is another fella who does it all for the fans. Perhaps a little too much. His set and performance was lacking, but his interaction with the crowd pre and post show time was telling as to why he’s got such adoring fans.
Another pleasant surprise was Shovels & Rope. This duo’s southern kick, zest, and devotion to both each other and their music was so warm and fuzzy that we weren’t sure if we should be dancing or making out. They’re another must-see should they return to Ottawa again. St. Vincent, of course, was mesmerizing. But, we knew she would be theatrical.
The Killers were probably the biggest disappointment of the festival. Absolutely no care for their fans and no creativity when it comes to livening up their radio-friendly tunes, they were, to put it politely, boring. We left to catch the second half of Phantogram, which was oh-so-much better!
Photo via RBC Bluesfest 2014
The next day, Gogol Bordello was the notable show stopper. These gypsies surely know what they’re doing. While totally bizarre and eccentric, they’re capable of turning even the most skeptical of heads.
The next notable was on July 11th, when July Talk took the stage. They were boozin’ and they put it on display. Poor singer, Leah Fay, was persuaded by her bandmates (and the crowd) to chug red wine on stage after already having chugged beer.
Those were our notables: the best and worst of Bluesfest 2014. The rest were probably somewhere in between. We must thank RBC Bluesfest, however, because we did indeed experience some of the most memorable moments of the summer on the festival grounds.
After a nearly 8-month long hiatus, Herd Magazine returns with a carefully curated 6th issue that simultaneously introduces its readership to the new look and feel of Ottawa’s highest quality arts & culture quarterly.
The new logo and layout has freshened Herd’s image, while maintaining the same local and community morale. The brain behind the new look is Log Creative Bureau, an innovative team of two progressive and imaginative gentlemen, Isaac Vallentin, and Pascal Huot. Below, Log has dissected the logo to demonstrate the logic behind the mark. Additionally, a pattern is easily forged from this identity, which can be attributed to textiles and apparel, wallpaper, and other elements of product design.
In celebration of our newly printed edition and our re-brand, we invite you to let loose with us on Friday, August 8th, 2014 at the Bridgehead Roastery at Preston and Anderson.
A custom cocktail menu will be served up, among which will include Bridgehead’s Cold Brew as well as Harvey and Vern’s sodas will be mixed with something boozey and delicious. Kichesippi’s summer seasonal beer, Heller Highwater, and local favourite, 1855, will rule the taps.
Our musical guests:
Laurent Bourque, a folk/pop musician who has recently been honored with Ottawa Folk Fest’s Galaxie Rising Star Award, will warm up our partygoers and prepare them for what will surely become a night of energy, fun, and community affection. Laurent has recently completed his new album, Pieces of Your Past, which oozes with honesty and charm. Laurent will be backed by his talented bandmates, Jamie Kronick (drums) and Phil Charbonneau (bass). You won’t want to miss this set, so come early to make sure you can get in.
Capping the night off is a noisier, heavier group, Nightshades, who will transport you to what feels like a night of California dreamin’. This garage rock/indie grunge band is upbeat, fun, and kinda weird. “We can heal you, but also kill you,” is their self-made proverb. Don’t miss this three-piece-band, they’ll get you dancing circles around your pals and trying to lip sync to songs you haven’t even heard yet.
Our resident visual scientist, VJ Ina, will be displaying her weird and sometimes hypnotic video stylings, and DJ Greg Reain will be on hand to make sure that our party never runs into an awkward silence as he spins his favourite funk, soul, and old school hip hop.
Making sure the night runs smoothly, Greg Houston, stand up comedian and social butterfly, will raffle off our prizes and assure you that you’re in the right place at the right time.