Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review: Streets of Hastings @ Avant Garde Bar, March 23 2012

On Friday March 23, 2012, Streets of Hastings held their official release party at the Avant Garde bar in Ottawa, ON.  I went there to do a show review (and to take in the show for personal enjoyment as well).  If you've never been to the Avant Garde bar, let me paint you a little picture.

This is a small bar - definitely part of its charm as a venue for artists to perform.  The stage / bar area is at the front, and is a very narrow area.  It opens up at the back, beyond the washrooms, where there is a fairly large seating area with a couple of couches.  There is Russian Communist-era art hanging all over the place, featuring some funny looking posters advising "No Foul Language", or for movie buffs, a movie poster for Battleship Potemkin.  The one thing you should take away from this though, is that it is small.  This is important to my review, but I'll get to that shortly.

I decided to drive downtown, thinking that with a show starting at 8pm, if I got downtown by 7:45 I'd be able to quickly find a parking spot and get a nice table for my friends who were showing up later after 9:30.  Not so much.  It took me the better part of 15 minutes to find a spot, and another ten minutes (which felt like five, I swear!) to walk back to the bar.  I ended up snagging some seating at the back, which unfortunately resulted in not being able to see the stage.

Still, I could get glimpses of the stage when I went up to order a $3.75 can of Diet Coke, so I was not completely oblivious the entire night.  Because the venue is so small, you could pretty much see all of the stage when you got up (even if the area in front of the stage was super crowded).  Remember how I said that it was important that the bar was small?  The band's guitarist Phil likened the place to a house party, and I have to say that's exactly the vibe I got while they were playing.

When I got to the bar, I was immediately able to find the band and talk to them, and even got into a conversation with a couple (whom I assume are related to one of the band members) about the terrible score of the Sens-Habs game (let's just not talk about it here.  It was an ugly game).  Throughout the show, people were gathered into little groups and chatting away, while occasionally mingling through the crowd to check out another part of the place.  Hands were clapping as the show progressed, and in general, the small-venue atmosphere was great.

The opener was Mark Kenny, a singer/songwriter also based in Ottawa.  I didn't get a good look at his stage presence, but from what I could tell it was Mark and a guitar on stage.  He had a great mix of genres, playing everything from alternative, to folk, to celtic, and also some blues mixed in there.  He did a few covers, and I think my favourite was his City and Colour cover - you could swear you were listening to Dallas Green if you didn't know better.  I had a couple of live tweets about him while I was waiting for my friends to show up.

As for Streets of Hastings, these guys were excellent - especially when you consider Phil told me later he was downing spoonfuls of honey and throat lozenges.  They thought they weren't the greatest, but hey - you're always your own worst critic, right? (Aside: I thought that the interview didn't sound technically as good as it could have, but everybody who's heard it says otherwise)  The live show is definitely an experience to take in - the songs are a bit looser than on the album, and the crowd really got into it.  Like I said, I didn't get too many chances to get up to the stage because of the density of the crowd in a tiny area, but they seemed to be in their element and having a blast.

And really, if you've heard my interview with them (check out Podcast 46!), that's what they're in this for: to have fun.  And above all, that's what the band was saying after the show, that they were just having some fun up there.  What more could you ask for?

All three guys - Peyts, Phil, and Trucker - are great guys and as much as they're looking for exposure for their band, they've really helped me out as well.  I really appreciate their work ethic and their music, so I hope to get out to some more of their shows in the future.  Sláinte!

Friday, March 23, 2012

#46 - Streets of Hastings Interview

The bulk of this podcast is devoted to an interview I did with Rockland band Streets of Hastings (, so I didn't put a lot of effort into picking the rest of the music.  They have a CD Release party tonight (March 23rd, 2012) at 8pm at Avant Garde (, so if you're in the Ottawa area be sure to check them out.  It's only $10 at the door.

  1. Crete Boom - Evil Brother | Website
  2. Justin Townes Earl - Mama's Eyes | Website
  3. Gringo Star - You Want It | Website
  4. Streets of Hastings Interview | Website
  5. Great Lake Swimmers - Everything is Moving So Fast | Website

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Weekly Airwave #32 :: Streets of Hastings Interview

This isn't a traditional Weekly Airwave this week; instead it's a preview of their full-length interview that I did with them last Saturday.  The full-length version will be up on the podcast this week (fingers crossed, some time before Friday), but in the meantime, enjoy this 6-minute nugget before checking out their show on Friday March 23rd.

Go to to buy their album, Three Streets to the Wind, or buy tickets to their CD Release party.

Download the Weekly Airwave

Sunday, March 11, 2012

#45 - The United93, Barreracudas

A short podcast to follow-up the ridiculously long 'cast from two weeks ago.  I had some issues with Jamendo when it came time to put the podcast together, so a couple of artists had repeat songs.  If you want to check out the artists I would have played, links will follow the playlist.

  1. The United93 - Plastic Heart (EP of The United93, March 2010) | Bandcamp | Facebook Twitter
  2. Barreracudas - Diet Coke (Live at WFMU on Terre T's Cherry Blossom Clinic, Nov 12, 2011) | Douchemaster Records
  3. Shark? - Down Low (Live on Beastin' the Airwaves with Keili on WFMU, Oct 23 2011) | Bandcamp
  4. The United93 - Kung-Fu Fighters (See above)
  5. Jackie & the Cedrics - Red River (Live at WFMU on Three Chord Monte with Joe Black, Nov 10 2011)
  6. Stray Dogg - Break (Almost, May 30 2011) |
  7. Peter Case - House Rent Party (Live on the Cherry Blossom Clinic with Terre T on WFMU, Oct 8 2011) | Website
  8. Barreracudas - Promises, Promises (See above)
  9. The United93 - Over the Rainbow (See above)
To buy a copy of the Barreracudas' new album, Nocturnal Missions, head to their record label Douchemaster Records (link above).

To purchase The United93's latest album, Yellow Fever, you can do so from their Bandcamp webpage (link also above).

Check out these bands on Jamendo: Cinemon57jackbraves.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review: Streets of Hastings - Three Streets to the Wind

Streets of Hastings bills themselves as "just a drinkin' band with a little rock n' roll problem".  As a result, I was ridiculously drunk when I reviewed their debut album, Three Streets to the Wind.  Actually, I was 100% sober while I listened to the album, but I can tell you, I very much enjoyed their 11-track album.

Streets of Hastings is a three-man band, with Phil Alexander on lead vocals and guitar, Jason "Trucker" Bedard on bass, and Larry "Peyts" Peyton on the drums, bodhran, and rubboard.  Yes, I had to look those last two things up; basically, they're Irish percussion instruments.  Their music is mainly a fusion of rock and Celtic punk, but fortunately that doesn't tell you all you need to know about the sound of their music.

Yes, they do have a few songs that sound like your "traditional" Celtic punk outfit, but I think that it's the songs that don't conform to that standard formula that are their best.  I also find that with any Celtic punk band, a lot of what makes any particular song good is what the band members bring to their craft.  Streets of Hastings are definitely excellent musicians, and you can hear some awesome guitar solos throughout the album.

I also really liked the drums throughout each track, so kudos Peyts for keeping a steady beat to keep the other guys in line. 

I was searching around their website, and they make mention that they're a band best seen live - and I completely agree.  While listening to Three Streets to the Wind, I couldn't help but feel I was listening to a live set.  They seem to have unbelievable energy, and I could just picture them drenched in sweat as they move from song to song (insert joke about me imagining three sweaty men here).

Speaking of seeing them at a live show, the band will be playing in home town Ottawa at the Avant-Garde bar on March 23rd, 2012.  I will be checking it out and doing a show review - and from the sounds of things, it will be a very energetic night.

In the meantime, you can pick up Three Streets to the Wind on March 17th - St. Patrick's Day!  Details are at their website.  They're currently offering a free preview of their track "Sea Bag (La, La, La)" on their audio page.

Streets of Hastings Official Website
Streets of Hastings on Twitter
Streets of Hastings on Facebook