Ottawa Buzz: Siobhan Set To Drink To Their Last Call

There will be no more Celtic kicking of asses in Ottawa after Saturday night. Siobhan, the band of merry punks, Irish melodies and much profanity, have decided to pack it in. They may be getting sick of playing ramped-up versions of "Home For A Rest" and "Black Velvet Band," but the main reason is singer/instigator Nick Smyth's impending Master's work in Vancouver.

- Jul 29, 2005

There will be no more Celtic kicking of asses in Ottawa after Saturday night. Siobhan, the band of merry punks, Irish melodies and much profanity, have decided to pack it in. They may be getting sick of playing ramped-up versions of "Home For A Rest" and "Black Velvet Band," but the main reason is singer/instigator Nick Smyth's impending Master's work in Vancouver. Siobhan began six years ago when multi-instrumentalist Ben Young heard Irish music wafting through the tunnels of Carleton University. It was Smyth, James Beninger and Joe Bougher, and Young pulled out his pennywhistle to play along. Dave Telka eventually joined in, as did Michael Munnik after Young's departure. There has been a rotating cast of drummers — "Spinal Tap syndrome," explains Munnik. After a year-long residency at D'Arcy McGee's, Siobhan played most of the other pseudo-Irish pubs in town. They also scared off the more timid audiences at folk festivals with alcohol-themed songs "Drunkard's Lullaby," "I Got Drunk In Europe" and "Box Of Wine." The debauchery continued until Siobhan sold out Barrymore's in town and headlined tours in Europe."We got as far as Helsinki and we managed to check out a pro hockey game there during North America's strike and also stickhandle our way through a drunken Finnish barfight," Munnik reminisces. Whether or not Pogues-inspired rock is your thing, Ottawa will surely miss Siobhan's frantic energy on stage. "We got away with so much," Munnik says. "Farting our way through songs we didn't even know, shoddy playing, bad tuning, tech problems. Because a show like that is mostly about presence and attitude. We engaged the audience and gave them a good time and that is the most important thing." Your last chance to be given a good time, Siobhan-style, is this Saturday at Barrymore's Music Hall. Next week, Synaesthesia launches its "experiment in overlapping artistic disciplines" at Club SAW. Organizer and spoken-word artist David Emery explains that the event is meant to help build a community where artists of all kinds can get their work seen and heard, both as individuals and as part of a collective. "The collective vision of these shows seems to be a movement towards an integration of art forms that will open new directions of art," says Emery. To that end, Synaesthesia features spoken-word performers, bands and visual artists. Each performance overlaps with the next for five minutes, forcing the artists to collaborate and create something new. The mix of performers on the bill includes rockers The Bridegroom, electronic/ambient/experimental duo Akisakila, poet Esther Splett and photographer Ren Bostelaar. It all happens at Club SAW on August 5, from 7-11 p.m. For full details check out www.capitalsyn.com. Although Ottawa has its fair share of punk, rock and singer/songwriter types, one genre severely lacking is R&B. But if you've been paying close attention, at occasional Disorganised parties or at a weekly residency at Fresco Cielo, you've noticed that Maya And Alanna are working hard to fill the void. Maya Ethier and Alanna Stuart are two R&B singers who can belt out Aretha Franklin, Danzig and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with equal style and soul. Stuart especially loves indie rock as much as dancehall and pop, as she's working with members of Local Rabbits to produce an EP. Maya And Alanna have already opened for K-OS, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Xzibit and others, so they're pretty close to the tipping point. To push it right over, the duo headlines a show at Babylon on August 6, along with the Souljazz Orchestra. Other ways to rock your long weekend and beyond: Bobcat Gray plays the Hard Rock Café tonight and Saturday. The sixth Judges Juries Executioners, a night of music and art with an experimental bent, happens Sunday with Dead Bush, Amathea, Joshua Bastien and others at the Avant-Garde Bar. Conscious punkers No Other Way hit Zaphod Beeblebrox on August 3, and Double Pumpers rock Mavericks on August 4. World Beats and Eats offers samples of local food and DJs Emily Jones and Lance Baptiste at Mercury Lounge on August 5. The Setbacks and The Bella Bombs play Zaphod on the 5th, Greenfield Main open for Magnolia Electric Co. at Barrymore's on the 6th, The Empiricals and The Flaps hit Babylon on the 10th, and Million Dollar Marxists play a Ladyfest fundraiser at Café Deckuf on August 12. —Caitlin CrockardSend Ottawa music news, releases and trashy magazines for long-weekend reading to cscrockard AT hotmail.com.

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