In the Dead of Winter: Night one

IDOW: Night one

I always get excited when covering music festivals. This is my first time covering IDOW; I was drawn to it because of its intimate nature, the fact that it aims to shine a spotlight on new and emerging songwriters, and because I’m fairly sure it’ll cure my winter blues for a few nights. Considering the word “winter” is part of the name of the festival, the light snowfall this afternoon had to be a good omen. Let’s get to the music.

Megan Nash at the Timber Lounge. (Photo: John Sandham)

Megan Nash at the Timber Lounge. (Photo: John Sandham)

Megan Nash:

Pretty sure I’m in love with Megan’s voice. Scratch that – I’m almost entirely certain. It’s versatile… and deceptive. Megan’s first two songs showed the sweet side of her voice… and then the next two really showcased its fire and raw power. Check out a song called “Wait” for proof. Hailing from small town Saskatchewan, Megan’s recorded albums in some interesting places (like a 102-year-old church or a building that was once a funeral home). She’s an exceptional storyteller; I admire that, especially at festivals like IDOW whose smaller venues encourage audience interaction. “How I long to be invisible tonight,” Megan sings, from a track called “Vampire.” She was anything but invisible tonight (the bright red guitar didn’t help her on that quest…).

I’m also glad Megan acknowledged the axes hitting the other side of the wall to her right at the Timber Lounge, because someone had to. It was an interesting venue, but I’m looking forward to moving to the Carleton tomorrow night.

Julie Doiron:

I came to the Timber Lounge tonight specifically to see her; I’ve been listening to her music since I heard her on the Strombo Show earlier this month as part of its Hip 30 episode. She can really make her guitar sing, which resulted in some terrific extended musical interludes. Her voice is haunting, which paired well with her desire to play some darker tunes. A few missed lyrics aside (which she played off with ease), her charm put a spell on the crowd. To state it simply, her music and performance were genuine. It was real. Even though she only gave herself a 75% grade on tonight’s performance, I’d argue it was much better than that.

Kurt Inder (left) and his band. (Photo: John Sandham)

Kurt Inder (left) and his band. (Photo: John Sandham)

Kurt Inder:

To the Seahorse! I was somewhat worried when I saw four band members on stage for Kurt’s set, as I assumed it’d be a departure from the environment I’d just experienced at the Timber Lounge. Not so. Although Kurt wasn’t as chatty between songs as the artists I’d just seen, he and his band were laid back and played a good set. His brand of slacker rock very much fit the vibe of what I’d seen so far at IDOW. I was impressed by the progression of his set; it rose in tempo and intensity over the 35 minutes he was on stage. Kurt played solo on the first song, and the entire band played more up-tempo songs near the end.

Luke Kuplowsky of LUKA. (Photo: John Sandham)

Luke Kuplowsky of LUKA. (Photo: John Sandham)

LUKA:

Impressive. A self-proclaimed “warrior of the romance ballad” (from LUKA’s Bandcamp page), Luke Kuplowsky, Kurt Inder, and Bianca Palmer put on a killer set. Luke’s lyrics are poetic; they’re almost conversational (actually, during the intro to “Why Don’t You Go to Her,” Luke explains that it’s a “conversation between me and my heart.” This explanation is also on the recorded version). Two songs that I really dig topped off LUKA’s set: “Love is the Eternal Weight” and “O, My Heart is Full.”

I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that Luke and Kurt’s sweater game was on point tonight. Great clothing choices for a music festival taking place in the middle of a Canadian winter (in the dead of a Canadian winter…? I see why they named it what they did…)

All puns aside, I had a great time today. I’m already looking forward to tomorrow.