On the first Sunday night in February, Ottawa music aficionados turned off the Super Bowl, bundled up and faced the Canadian winter to enjoy some warm folk music.
As music lovers showed up they were pleasantly surprised with the news that the intimate show, featuring three singer/songwriters, had been moved from the large main floor venue, Mavericks, to the cozy upstairs room known as CafÃ© Dekcuf.
The show began with Jonathan Becker, a local singer/songwriter who was performing on the heels of his band’s recent EP release under the name Jonathan Becker and the North Fields.
As Becker played, the holes in the crowd slowly began to fill in and audience members migrated toward the stage. “I appreciate you all coming early, it means a lot,” Becker humbly said between crass yet cathartic acoustic songs.
The opening set came to an end and the room clamoured with excitement as the stage was prepared for Dave Hause. Hause is originally a punk rocker from Philly but more recently he has found success through his solo and acoustic music.
He came to Ottawa as a part of the Devour North American Tour accompanied by Matt Goud as Northcote. The tour is promoting his second full-length release last year, Devour.
Hause started his set as a two-piece, performing alongside his younger brother Tim.
The Hause brothers juggled between acoustic, electric guitars and pianos, not playing the same instrument twice in a row. The room was then packed and audience members fell victim to the precise melody of Hause’s voice mixed with the brothers’ duelling guitars.
The audience was rewarded for their dedication and appreciation as Goud came out to sing an emotionally purgative song with Hause.Â
Hause demonstrated his articulated talent as a musician and his practiced stage presence. Unfortunately, he could not help to exhale a breath of arrogance and conceit with every word he spoke to the fans. They did not seem to mind as they revelled in his jokes about the cold weather, people from Montreal and Bruno Mars.Â
“Watching the Super Bowl has made me realize one thing, I will never be as young or as good-looking as Bruno Mars,” Hause said before his last song.
For the past six years Hause and Northcote have been tour buddies and friends. They have done tours together across the world and anywhere they land Hause headlines while Northcote plays support, usually. However when they cross the border heading north and roll onto one of the 400 series highways, Goud takes the wheel and becomes the main attraction.Â
Northcote is entirely a product of Canadian winters, late night folk songs, summer days with your friends and the uncompromising duet of flannel and beards.
They played, as they usually do, a three-piece band set up; Goud singing, playing guitar and harmonica with a bassist and drummer beside him.
As was explained by the musicians on stage, Goud is Ottawa’s newest resident. Having recently moved to the city, he humbly thanked everyone for their support and expressed his excitement in being a part of the capital.Â
“We should all get together this summer and play some punk rock baseball,” Goud suggested, and the crowd welcomed the invitation.
The final set of the evening saw that every square inch of the room was occupied with a body, and every body was dancing or singing along. Goud’s powerful music and laconic mannerisms make him one of the most honest and goodhearted musicians out there. Truly representing the Canadian ethos.
When the final song was played the crowd fermented in their own emotional releases for a few moments then finally chanted the musician back on stage for an encore. Goud appear with Hause and the duet performed two last songs acoustic and unplugged.
While Broncos fans were sulking, Ottawa’s music scene was flourishing.
Words and pictures by Griffin Elliot
Photos of Dave and Tim Hause from Joey Fitzmaurice: