NAC Presents lineup announcement & playlist revealed!

This 2015-2016 season marks NAC Presents’ fifth anniversary, a milestone, to say the least. An impressive lineup, stacked with Canadian talent, both emerging and established, will certainly send Ottawa’s millennials to the National Arts Centre. Not to mention what promises to be a memorable anniversary celebration in January 2016 highlighting artists in the main lobby, a dj, and a food truck! NAC Presents has also launched a new initiative of multi-concert series to mark the anniversary.

Notable headliners & must-sees include local artist Kalle Mattson on November 5th,  Hey Rosetta! with Yukon Blonde on November 22nd, the Wooden Sky perform a Christmas Special on December 15th, Royal Wood and Rose Cousins on May 6th. While the programming is impressive, it is perhaps the concert series that perks our interest. This series is two-fold. First, the NAC has invited Royal Wood to curate five spotlight shows wherein five acts of his choice perform live, aptly named Royal Wood’s 5potlights. These are five acts that he believes are about to blow up to stardom, and will give us a chance to see them in the intimate setting of the NAC’s Fourth Stage. So, who did Royal Wood select to fill these shoes? Laila Biali, Peter Katz, The Bros. Landreth, The Weather Station, and Oh Susanna.

The second multi-concert series is PETR CANCURA ‘s CROSSROADS, a jazz-influenced series. He and a house band will  be performing with 3 local singer-songwriters (Ian Tamblyn, Lynn Miles and Jeremy Fisher). Peter will create jazz influenced arrangements for each event. It will be a great way to rediscover the songs that the fans love with a jazz twist!

For the full lineup, details, and tickets, go here!

To get a taste of the good stuff, listen to this playlist on Spotify!

Looking to buy tickets in advance? We’ve got you covered! We’re offering Herd readers a special pre-sale offer on! Enter code: MUSIK1516

*Pre-sale ends September 4th at 10 PM*

Arboretum’s logo gets way metaphoric

Each year, Rolf Klausener, Creative Director of Arboretum Festival, tweaks the logo just a tad. What began as three trees created by celebrated designer & artist, Ross Proulx, has since set to orbit the deeper metaphorical & symbolic realm of culture, history, and geography. It may seem far-fetched, but once the newly evolved logo’s story is expressed, you’ll be convinced of this logo’s ambition.

“I really got into India inks this year,” Klausener expresses, “I’m not a visual artist, and can’t draw to save my life, but I’ve always loved watching the ink transfer to the page, the quality of each stroke growing in complexity as the ink drains from the brush.” In March, Klausener began to think about this year’s design, but the festival’s new location had yet to be confirmed, which made it difficult for him to truly identify the event’s personality. Soon after, in April, the site, Albert Island, was solidified, and the festival was faced with some difficult questions regarding the location’s significance to the Algonquin people and First Nations. “That essentially halted festival planning, but I continued working on the design, and tinkering with my inks. After a few dozen less than stellar tries, the final design came together rather quickly, as most do.”


The original logo, Klausener explains, was a metaphor for an Arboretum, which in latin means tree garden, which in turn signifies diversity. Not to mention the primary role that trees (more specifically, lumber) have played in Ottawa and Canada’s historical narrative. “This year, the three trees, morphed by some hand-painted sketches, looked almost like three islands,” Rolf notes. “I pulled out the inks one afternoon and just started smearing out some triangles. It was meditative and totally unconscious.” The islands incorporated in the logo were not a conscious decision, it was when Rolf showed a friend who said that the new design looked more like three islands rather than three trees. The three trees, he says, were always meant to embody the diversity of Ottawa’s arts and culture, but the imagery of the three islands even furthers that symbolism. Albert Island, the festival’s new site, is one third of the Chaudière Island trio, which were first known as the Asinabka (“place of glare rock”). The trio of islands were a gathering place for the Algonquin people as well as other First Nations, but later, they became home to the lumber district that carried Ottawa into the industrial, economical, and political spotlight. “So this year, I feel like the logo embodies a lot; it could represent the three islands of the Asinabka; it could represent the region’s population: First Nations, settlers and new Canadians; and naturally, it embodies our varied artistic expression, whether it be punk, electronic music, or folk, painting, media art, or gastronomy,” Rolf concludes, of the new logo.


While the site raises many questions that pertain to our region and how we identify with it,  Arboretum released an educational and humble letter to the public on the topic. As a result of their new-found knowledge, the festival is hosting several discussions that will open up a much-needed dialogue between several key members of diverse communities. Expanding programming to be more inclusive is part of the festival’s mission.


Last year, Arboretum introduced Francophone programming and our neighbouring city of Gatineau/Vieux Hull, which was a no-brainer when looking to be an inclusive and an “accurate representation of our region’s culture.” When asked if this year’s challenges and insight will have an effect on future programming of the festival, Rolf responded very confidently, “Absolutely.” He elaborates, “this year’s steps forward are definitely the scope of our panel discussions with First Nations, our kick off show with the Queer Songbook Orchestra, bringing in the Indonesian community’s Gamelan group, and working to have most of our line-up be female-led or female inclusive.”

In the end, Rolf hopes that “our little city will walk away inspired, and with an expanded perception of what it means to live here.”

A Night at the High School: Kid Koala’s Nufonia Must Fall Live!

Kid Koala’s live rendition of his graphic novel, and its accompanying soundtrack, is a terse marvel. And the night commenced with one of the quickest bingo winners (I’m no expert, I swear) as the audience played on a bespoke list composed of items from the book as a warm-up to the show. I’d only previously sampled Kid Koala’s 12 Bit Blues, a warm, earthy mutant that reassembles delta blues tracks using the vintage SP-1200 drum machine and sampler; resulting in a lissom sound that lulls the listener. I chose to enter the show, hosted by—mirabile dictu—the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, blind (and by extension, deaf) to Nufonia Must Fall.

If the venue of École publique De la Salle, seemed an unlikely candidate to be nocturnally abuzz as a public venue, it’s only because its modest façade belies its excellent auditorium, the patrimony of its Centre d’excellence artistique.

The conceit of the spectacle was to animate the content of the graphic novel on the big screen, and have its soundtrack play alongside; humdrum until you dance with the devil in the details. Let’s start with the music. Kid Koala had a restraint throughout that is the mark of a mature performer whose strategy is less to overwhelm than to orchestrate with precision. His musical tandem, the Afiara Quartet, were splendid and playful in displaying their extended range. The story isn’t about the story. The narrative has an easy charm, as we watch the mostly dialogueless plot (excepting a buffoonish boss, with shades of Donald Trump) of a love story by a thoughtful, tender, ever-floundering robot and a diligent, mechanically gifted, but bored young working woman. It’s not the magnificence of the content that prevails (it’s not going to threaten to displace Tristan & Isolde), but that of its telling.

The entire stage has its miniature set-pieces from the graphic novel spread out all along the foreground of the stage, and master puppeteers’ manoeuvering and deft camerawork bring to life the characters with a satisfying vividness. It was arranged and directed by renowned production designer K.K. Barrett (who has lent his talents to a wide array of stellar films, the most recent being Spike Jonze’s Her), and produced by Rhyna Thompson.

As the silhouettes of the technicians frolicked in the dark with each transition, the overall satisfaction of the evening rested on the commitment on the part of the artists to take the road of rigour and attention to the small things that add up, with pleasures and values that resonate more humanly because they are of an ancient, analogue kind. The standing ovation that was the deserved denouement, and Chamberfest’s (which has conclusively shed its undeserved reputation as your grandparents’ jam) after-party Growler Salon with Kid Koala signing books and vinyl to the artful strains of De La Soul and Beastie Boys affirmed that Nufonia, a play on ‘No Fun’, fell indeed.

VIDEO: Owen Davies outdoes last eccentric music video

Remember that time we exposed you to the gender bending music video, Medicine Man, performed by Owen Davies and directed by Pascal Huot? The pair have once again stormed through the gates of normalcy and brought us a thought-provoking, grim, yet mystical encounter of beautiful music and eerie visuals.

Mystic is the latest single off of Davies’ new album set to release August 1st at the Blacksheep Inn, under local label, So Sorry Records.  To get a taste of what to expect at the show, head to Ottawa Showbox and stream the full album. Owen Davies will be accompanied by Bosveld and High Waters. For more info on the album release and show, head here.

Herd Magazine + Ottawa Showbox bring you A Mid-Summer Riot

Although our latest issue is already released, what would a new edition of Herd Magazine be without a party? This time we’ve teamed up with Ottawa Showbox to bring you a concert, party, social affair, and riot! Plenty of room for everyone to make it into the venue! Details below:


The time hath cometh to gather thy friends and colleagues and celebrate the season! We’re throwing another celebration, but this time nobody hath to wait in line all night for our new location hath plenty of space for all! We’ll beest celebrating summer mid-season with thee all!

Musical guests, The Cardboard Crowns, shalt grace the stage with their fartuous costumes and wacky performance! And the absolutely, positively, innovative liveth electronic project, Theaternia + Cabaal w/ visuals by Hard Science, wilt round out the night with hypnotic sounds and moving pictures!

Our resident DJ/Vj duo, DJ Greg Reain and VJ Ina wilt beest at it to provide yee with a sweet foxtrot party!

Tickets are $10 and available here, doors are at 10pm, and drinks shall be easy on the pocketbook.

Friday, July 3rd, Maker Space North, 10pm, $10 in advance, $15 at the door!