Off the Couch Blog

Welcome to our blog! This is where you'll find longer previews and profiles on upcoming or ongoing events in and around Ottawa. We've got fresh tips on what's new and exciting in town, as well as interviews with local movers, shakers and party makers. If you're into it, you too could join our team of volunteer bloggers!
By — Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - 2:00pm
There’s no doubt about it: the Ottawa-Gatineau music scene has been gaining momentum and the Ottawa International Music Conference (OIMC) is here to prove it. Riding on the wave of the first MEGAPHONO showcase, this new gathering will bring together music enthusiasts, industry professionals, promoters and musicians in an effort to showcase “groundbreaking acts, share knowledge to stimulate the growth of the music business and solidify the local network by creating opportunities to connect through events, seminars, workshops and business panels”. Sounds ambitious and a tad bit risky and that’s certainly a good thing because that’s just what Ottawa needs: driven, innovative and passionate influencers who come together and join forces to improve the state of the local music scene. Endeavours... Read More
By — Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 2:37pm
This Friday, Ottawa gets treated to a special night when local enchantress Riishi Von Rex unleashes her new EP Shed Your Helmet to an innocent (well, mostly innocent) crowd of onlookers.   Normally an RVR (Riishi Von Rex) show would be reason enough to get one off the couch, but a chance to experience an EP release event charged by a set of newly invigorated material is bound to be one for the books. In her distinct brand of ‘Riishi Von Rock’, Von Rex (guitar and vocals) blends the best of blues, ska, punk and soul with undertones of western-swing revival and Eastern European influences. The feel of Von Rex’s music is authentic and spellbinding with the power to conjure up places and scenes previously only existing in our minds. Whether it’s a smoky desert town bar, the stone... Read More
By — Monday, May 18, 2015 - 10:21pm
The motel: a potent symbol of all things sordid and desperate. The no-tell motel, hotbed of illicit activity, home to desperadoes of all stripes, the place where civilization goes to die. All of this makes it the perfect setting for George F. Walker’s The End of Civilization, a black comedy mystery from his six-part Suburban motel series of plays. Same Day Theatre has brought the play to Ottawa for the first time in their excellent production now playing at the Gladstone theatre. It is here in the last chance motel that we meet Henry Cape, out of work for two years, on the brink of bankruptcy and forced to move into a cheap motel. We witness the strain of fruitless days searching for work. Joining him is his wife Lily Cape who’s left the children with her sister so she can support... Read More
By — Monday, May 11, 2015 - 8:32pm
Tom West has often been called a ‘musical troubadour’. With his distinct sound of atmospheric acoustic and thoughtful lyrics, one could make the argument that each part, or his material as a whole, is akin to musical poetry.  Still, something about that analogy seems wrong, if not a bit pretentious and off the mark. After first listening to the music of West, even weeks later, there is something elusive, mysterious, but yet uncomplicated and honest that makes you almost feel guilty for analysing, rather than simply listening and enjoying. His songs beg the questions of ‘What makes this former lawyer turned artist tick? Where does his music come from, and lead to? Am I getting too philosophical and contemplative already? Whatever the answers, I knew Tom West could help set me straight... Read More
By — Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 3:46pm
The best thing about Ontario Scene isn’t the chance to see the acts you already know and love as much as it’s the discovery of new favourites. This brings me to smoky-voiced songstress Alejandra Ribera who plays with Ron Sexsmith on Saturday night. Confession: I’ve only started listening to Alejandra since I found her name when flipping through the Scene program some weeks ago but I was captivated by her sound right away. Alejandra’s music is pretty tricky to describe except to say there’s a complexity of influence to the sound like the layers of flavour in a good wine or coffee. When speaking of her influences she mentions artists who defy convention and revel in a creative fearlessness, people like Rufus Wainwright, Bjork, and Jane Siberry. Alejandra writes lyrics in English, French and... Read More
By — Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 3:34pm
I remember the first time I heard Jadea Kelly one summer afternoon at a small town festival. It was one of those special moments where you’re completely taken aback by a new musical discovery. The first thing that hits you is her voice. Some describe it as angelic. I would say it’s a voice glowing in its purity, a voice you’d follow into the dark. However you describe it, she has a sound you can’t help but be drawn to. Other artists have noticed too. She has appeared on albums by Catherine MacLellan and even Canadian metal band Protest the Hero. But the vocals are only part of her charm. She’s also a talented songwriter whose work is built on rich storytelling, beguiling turns of phrase and an overall earthy aesthetic. This Saturday you can hear for yourself when Jadea plays St. Alban’s... Read More
By — Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 12:12pm
As we get older, we start to reflect more on time and how it is spent. Are we with the people we love or living our passion? Have we come face to face with our personal truths and decided we will go forth living them with honesty and vulnerability? Cody Allen will be celebrating the release of his fourth album Ignite at Irene's on May 2nd. The album was recorded at Steve Foley’s at Audio Valley Studios and features a bevy of local talent.  He is looking forward to headlining this venue for the first time and showcasing his heartfelt and honest new work. “This album is about having the strength to do what makes you happy in your life.  Whether it be creating music, art, changing jobs or going to school.” The album reflects his decision to pursue his music career in earnest. "If I... Read More
By — Sunday, April 26, 2015 - 7:33pm
Ottawa, you're in for a treat! This week, the National Arts Centre  presents Ontario Scene. The festival starts Wednesday and ends on May 10. During the 12 days, there are over 90 events that will feature over 600 artists. The events will happen in over 30 venues across the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Very impressive!  Ontario Scene is the seventh event in a series of multidisciplinary festivals showcasing the work of artists (both established and emerging) from a specific region of the country. The festival will feature music, dance, theatre, visual and media arts, film, literature and culinary events. Although the event focuses on the best of Ontario artists, there are many local acts that will be featured during the festival, including Zoo Legacy, Boyhood, Big Dick, Kalle... Read More
By — Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 9:53am
Ottawa guitarist extraordinaire Lucas Haneman has a new project, the Lucas Haneman Express and this Friday April 24 they’re releasing their album, Welcome Aboard. Lucas is a guy who lives and breathes music. Playing the guitar since he was six, he was an ambitious player from the start, sitting down to figure out Eric Clapton’s Unplugged album by ear when he was eight and performing at the Ottawa Bluesfest when he was still in high school. Since graduating from Concordia’s jazz program he’s been working as a session musician, performing and recording with all kinds of projects from jazz trios to the folk-pop group Go Long. I met up with Haneman and his fiancé Megan Laurence (herself a vocalist and teacher in town) to hear more about the new band, the making of the album and what to expect... Read More
By — Saturday, April 11, 2015 - 1:34pm
“Vinyl is back?” “Are people really buying vinyl again?” “Oh, this is neat.”  These are just a few things you may have heard if you were in a record store during the past five years. Yes people, vinyl is back and has been for a while, a long while. For that matter, did it ever really leave, considering how many records are out there? There are possibly more K-Tel compilation records that survived the vinyl purge than original copies of the Beatles’ White album. Now, that is weird. This Fall and during the Christmas season, a friend working at a local music outlet said that people would come into the store, walk around, pass the vinyl, look at it, continue walking, circle around the store, come back and look at it again, stare at it for a moment and then ask a clerk, “Is vinyl really... Read More

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