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Abraxas at Luneta Cafe – Ottawa Live Review

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Who: Abraxas

From: Ottawa, ON

Where: Luneta Cafe, Ottawa

When: Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Total Score:  9/10

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Style:  Abraxas brings a fresh progressive sound to the hardcore scene. Hinting at a metalcore vibe, the sound is so original it becomes hard to put your finger on a genre. They bring something different yet very appealing to listeners of metal music.  With melodic riffs, a heavy undertone, hard-hitting percussion and a vocalist that sure packs a punch, this is a band that will catch your attention.  They have definitely mastered a sound like no other, take notice metal heads.

Crowd:  With a good crowd on hand at Luneta Café it became evident that this show was highlighting some of Ottawa’s best local talent and attendees were far from disappointed.  Many friends and family came out on the Sunday night to support the music that the Ottawa metal scene has to offer. Abraxas did nothing short of bring the house down.  With kids bouncing of the walls, two steppers a plenty and even a drunk mom in the crowd the atmosphere of this set was phenomenal.  Not only was this one of the most receptive crowds I’ve seen at a local show, Abraxas managed to keep the energy of the crowd going the entire set which is not as easy as it seems.  Arms and legs flailing everywhere vocalist James Cairns did his thing, interacting with fans and friends alike, and even cracking a little laugh at the drunken mom trying to mosh, dance, we’re not quite sure, but it was damn hilarious.  These five individuals owned the stage for their half hour or so set and the crowd reaction was nothing short of receptive. 

Technicalities: Five guys that like heavy music, and they love playing it. This radiates during Abraxas’ performance.  The band originates from Ottawa and they are bringing another element to the table.  A progressive, hardcore, metalcore mash-up with heavier and even melodic elements this band is one to look out for.  Employing a unique tone and song structure, Abraxas provides metal heads with a whole new experience. I cannot even put my finger on who this band could be compared to.  Does this take anything away from their music? Not in the fucking slightest. Abraxas rips the stage with technical upbeat guitar riffs, the skills of a very talented drummer, and powerful vocals that reverberated throughout the venue, you better keep you eyes and ears open for Abraxas.

Image/Sex Appeal: Do you like to party? Abraxas likes to party.  These guys are those goofballs who everyone wants to know cause they’re going to show you one hell of a time.  Some of the members have tattoos and piercings; some members are a little cleaner cut. They have a few things in common: they love heavy music, they love being in Abraxas and they want to get silly whenever possible.  So ladies, if you want to live that musician lifestyle look no further.  I even heard some of them are single, head out to a show why dontcha?

Memorable Moment: In the middle of the set vocalist Cairns asked the crowd: “Hey, does anyone like covers?” He was met with the sound of crickets.  While this might fluster some bands he just responded, “Well, were gonna play one anyway.”  Then Cairns thought he’d try his luck again, “Well, does anyone remember or like Thrice?” Once again, crickets.  James looked back at his band then rose the microphone to his lips, “Well, we’re gonna play it anyway.”  With nearly no crowd reception going in, Abraxas made everyone in the venue a Thrice fan by the time the last note was strummed, they not only did the song justice but we’re able to make it their own.  The fact that they played the song despite the negative reaction, whilst still holding a confident attitude shows that at the root of it all Abraxas plays music for themselves, because they love it. 

Overall:  In my personal opinion, Abraxas is currently the best hardcore act in Ottawa.  So unique while appealing to a wide audience, Abraxas’ sound is certainly not one to be overlooked.  With an amazing live performance, to go along with on point recordings, this band is going places and I suggest you hop on for the ride.  A bunch of dudes that love metal and love to party, it becomes almost infectious being around them.  You do not want to miss out on this band, they just released an EP and a new music video, so be sure to check them out.

Reviewed and written by Jonathan (Jono) Del Pozo

Photos by Joey Fitzmaurice


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