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Paterson Hall and Pony Girl at Zaphod’s – Ottawa Live Review

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Friday, November 15th, 2013 at Zaphod’s in Ottawa with Groenland.

Paterson Hall

Paterson Hall took the stage at Zaphod’s to open up a stacked indie rock night. The Ottawa six began to play while fans filed into the club through a large line. It was packed tight by the time their set wrapped up. They played an engaging indie sprawl, paying homage to groups like Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse without being reductive. They were sweaty and intense while maintaining a fun atmosphere. Everyone on stage looked like they were having the time of their life and the audience members could not help but pick up on that fresh enthusiasm. Paterson Hall created a great environment to kick off the evening.

Pony Girl

Next up on the bill was up and coming Canadian art rock group Pony Girl. They were virtuosic with a plethora of instruments and lots of individual talent packed into a single group. Unfortunately it was hard for them to focus and capture a cohesive sound. Their sound while not bad is undercooked with too many ingredients. The drum loops, clarinet, as well as traditional rock instruments were all pulled off completely but never quite sat right together. There were many great individual moments from the set, especially from the vocalist and the bassist. When all the elements were combined it became unfocused.

The lack of cohesion did not bother most of the people in the audience who gleefully danced and cheered. The musical precision, charisma and diversity all went over well. Again this was a group that looked like they were having tons of fun on stage. I would love to see what they do with a bit more direction and more polished dynamics. The experimentation and the art rock aspect suit the band well and bit of balance could push them into the next level.

Reviewed and written by Joe Ryan

Photos by Mac Dimanlig


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