Chris Page and Friends at Raw Sugar

Chris Page at Raw Sugar Cafe in Ottawa

Yet another trip to Raw Sugar Cafe last week… this time to see three different acts in one night. First up was Mark Davis out of Edmonton; great voice but a little too country for my taste, but that’s me. If you like bluesy-country check him out.

Next was Lorrie Matheson who sounded like a cross between Bob Dylan and Joe Cocker; also out of Alberta he’s got a touch of country to his sound but in his own words: “I love songs… but I @#%&ing hate country… unfortunately sometimes country are songs”. Lorrie is definitely worth a second or third listen, I picked up his album, In Vein, and can’t wait to hear what he sounds like with a backing band.

Chris Page of Ottawa’s Camp Radio closed off the night. Good set… what can I say that hasn’t been said, Camp Radio is one of Kelp Records best acts and Chris held his own nicely without a band behind him. Chris will be playing another solo show at the Black Sheep Inn up in Wakefield on July 23rd if you missed the Raw Sugar set. You can see the rest of the night’s pics on Flickr.

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Luxury Pond at Raw Sugar

Luxury Pond at Raw Sugar Cafe in Ottawa

Back at Raw Sugar Cafe again… not only does the place make a great back drop for photos, they book the most interesting bands. Sunday night was Luxury Pond, a two piece band from Toronto.

I’m not really sure how to describe their music besides to say it was a kind of ambient-folk-trance sound. Quiet vocals, looped ethereal chanting, harp like guitar rhythms and all manner of bells and pedals; I think I saw a xylophone too… or something similar. Dan Goldman is the front man for the Luxury Pond project, backed by Daniela Gesundheit. But they also perform, roles reversed as Snowblink.

I can’t say it enough; it’s always a pleasure to shoot a band that goes the extra mile to put on a show, instead of just throw some music at you. The definitely had a stage presence… very hypnotic and calming… a kind of folk meditation. You don’t have to jump around to put on a show… you just have to convince the audience that you’re musicians and not just a bunch of guys with instruments here to show you their hobby. Musicians are easy to shoot, you just need decent light… it’s the garage band hobbyists that really make me work.

Dan and Daniela will be coming back to Ottawa at the end of July as Snowblink, definitely worth checking out. You can see the rest of the Luxury Pond set and other bands shot at Raw Sugar on my Flickr.

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Giant Hand at Raw Sugar

Giant Hand at Raw Sugar Cafe in Ottawa

I recently had the pleasure of shooting two amazing Canadian performers, Giant Hand and Leif Vollebekk at the Raw Sugar Cafe on Somerset. For the last few years I’ve found new music acts pretty much to be dull copies of one another, but the Ottawa indie scene is producing surprise after surprise.

I won’t go into much detail about the music; I’m there for the visuals, excellent audio is just a nice bonus. Suffice to say both Leif and Giant Hand are performers to listen to if you get the chance. They also turned out to be extremely photogenic.

Raw Sugar is quickly becoming my secret weapon… the green walls, warm lights and mismatched vintage furniture make the whole venue a stage. The only thing it’s missing is a nice soft spot light at center stage for the singers face. A little fill flash fixes the problem but I really hate using a flash during a show if I don’t have to. One great thing about Raw Sugar is nice white ceilings to bounce flash off of, although you have to be careful about bouncing off the walls as the greens and yellows will play havoc with your white balance. You can see more photos of Giant Hand and Leif on my Flickr.


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