Well, as I entered the ground on day two of the Ottawa Folk festival there was a buzz in the air with the pending Ottawa debut of Vampire Weekend. Though that was still a couple hours away, and I as arrived The Pack A.D. were rocking the CUPE stage. This two piece band, from Vancouver, consists of drummer Maya Miller and guitarist Becky Black. There seemed to be a good counter balance between the two. Black did most of the singing while Miller produced most of the in-between song banter. Another thing this two piece outfit produced was great ‘garage’ rock and roll. The guitar was loud, the drums were hard, and the rock and roll swagger was not to be missed.
I then took a walk down the hill to the Tartan Homes Stage to check out the Ottawa based group Amos The Transparent. They opened their set with a cover of The Beatles “Dear Prudence”, and absolutely killed it! Though some of their players came on and off the stage as the song required (or changed the instrument they were playing) I was intrigued right away as the band consisted of the usual guitar, keys, bass and drum combination, but there was also a cellist (who also tickled the ivory from time to time) a trumpet player, and a pair of background singers.
The songs were filled with dynamics, had great grooves and were audience friendly. The band was also very friendly. Frontman Jonathan Chandler thanked us a couple times for ‘coming down the hill’, and encouraged us to sing along. “The words are very easy,” he said, ” It’s a vowel – Ahhh.” We were also informed that we were being treated to the groups last gig in a while. “We figured it was a good way to go out,” they explained. The band will be locking themselves away and working on their third full lengths record, a follow up to 2012’s Goodnight My Dear…I’m Falling Apart, which is scheduled to be released next year.
However impressed I was with the other acts, there was no denying that day 2 of the Ottawa Folk Festival was all about The Vampire Weekend. A capacity crowd filled the lawn in front of the CUPE stage, and were cheering for the band even before they hit the stage.
A royal processional brought the group onto the stage and they quickly broke to “Cousins” and “White Sky.” Frontman Ezra Koenig then took a moment to thank the enthusiastic crowd saying, “It’s our first time in Ottawa. Nice to see you, thanks for coming.” Then the band started the widely popular “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”
When the audience was asked to sing along during “Horchata”, they were happy to oblige, so much so that a little later on they did so again without prompting on “Diplomat’s Son”. Koenig at one point made note that it was their first cold show. “Summers over,” he remarked, “… but we are all here together. Let’s loosen up. ”
Anyone who wasn’t moving to the music before couldn’t help themselves as The Vampire Weekend went into “A-Punk” followed by “Boston (ladies of Cambridge).”
Vampire Weekend delivered poppy hooks, a soaring organ, and a danceable rhythm and this Ottawa crowd loved every minute of it.
Photos by: Ryan Seyeau and Laine Gustafson -rubiconphotography.com