Festival Guide: Ottawa Explosion Weekend

Where: Ottawa, Ont.
When: June 15-19

What it is: The best showcase of local Ottawa music, along with other imports from across North America, takes place every June at Ottawa Explosion Weekend. The festival, heavy on DIY punk, rock and experimental music, takes place at Club Saw and a few venues nearby. With an outdoor tent, an indoor performance space and an infinitely long merch table inside, you don’t have to move far to have all your music festival needs met.

With 88 performances over five days, OXW rolls at an unrelenting pace. It’s a pace that matches the energy of the artists. Put in your earplugs, grab a well-priced pint of Beau’s and go all out.

Headliners: Scattered Clouds, Bad Sports, Phèdre, Mikey Erg, Urochromes, Vacation, Soup Cans, The Dirty Nil, Goms, Colleen Green

Full lineup and schedule via Ottawaexplosion.com

Mix picks:

If you’re from Ottawa, chances are you’ve seen many of the local bands a handful of times. Some of Mixtape’s favourites are playing including The Yips, Baberaham Lincoln, Bonnie Doon and Boyhood.

There are also a handful of Nova Scotia bands making the trip, including Future Girls and Crossed Wires making their Ottawa debuts. Here’s a couple we recommend checking out:

Heaven For Real

On Saturday night, Heaven For Real kicked off a tour that takes them from Halifax to Los Angeles and back. The Grundy brothers stand closer to the front of the stage with guitars while Cheryl Hann and Nathan Doucet are a little further back adding fun and intricate rhythms. The lyrics are like little arrows, covered in interesting thoughts and observations, circling the mind and passing by the heart. The new album Kill Your Memory comes out on July 15 via Vancouver label Mint Records.

Heaven For Real plays Club Saw at 9:30pm on Wednesday, June 15. Members of the band also play in Quaker Parents at the same venue at 8:30pm. Cheryl Hann also plays in Old and Weird, another Halifax band playing Saw at 10:45.

Crossed Wires

Make sure your shoelaces are tied securely and prepare to get hit with a barrage of fuzzy guitar tone and relentless drumming powered by chocolate bars. The pop punk trio released a new four-song EP last month and have a split tape with Ottawa’s Creep Wave available just in time for the festival. Crossed Wires songs are the anthems for indecisive people held back by bad weather, the desire to take a nap but also ready to conquer the world one song at a time.

Crossed Wires plays Club Saw at 3:30pm. Two thirds of Crossed Wires plays in Future Girls, playing the Club Saw at 8:30pm the same day.

Mix Tip: Along with music, t-shirts and other merchandise items at inside Club Saw, be sure to up your pin and patch game by checking out some of the offerings from Bruised Tongue. The pins and patches feature excellent designs and dark humour that rings a little too true sometimes.

About Jonathan Briggins 71 Articles
Editor-in-chief of Mixtape magazine.