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Wintersleep at Mavericks- Ottawa Live Review

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Who: Wintersleep

From: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Where: Mavericks Bar – Ottawa

When: Friday, June 14th

TOTAL SCORE: 9.5/10

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Style: Indie-folk-prog-rock – tame and collected at times, unabashedly loud and celebratory during others.

Crowd: From the moment they stepped on stage, the Ottawa crowd was enthralled by the music and performance of Wintersleep. The fact that it was a sold out show spoke volumes as well, with Mavericks bar packed to capacity. The band had those in attendance singing along to their favourites and moving energetically to the music the entire duration of the show.

Technicalities: Aside from a malfunctioning overdrive pedal on guitarist Tim D’eon’s pedalboard nearer to the end of the show, Wintersleep put on a very clean, polished performance. From the front of the stage, frontman Paul Murphy was clearly audible on all fronts with both his lead vocals and rhythm guitars. Drummer Loel Campbell was a forced to be reckoned with on the skins, combining well-executed drum fills with moments of unbridled intensity and volume. Multi-instrumentalist Jon Samuel was switching feverishly between multiple keyboards, guitars, and percussion instruments with each song. Inaudible at a lot of points, it’s a shame he wasn’t a bit higher in the mix.

Sex Appeal: The group of women standing to my right the entire evening could not get enough of frontman Paul Murphy. Whether that was for his musical talent or slight scruffiness remains to be seen. Murphy was quick to praise and thank the crowd when he had a moment between songs, perhaps causing those in attendance to fall in love with the band even more over the course of the evening.

Memorable Moment: Upon breaking into their 2007 standard “Weighty Ghost”, the entire crowd began to sing along. A few hundred voices singing in unison in a tiny space such as Mavericks is quite an experience.

 Overall: Feeding on the energy of a packed house is crucial in any live performance situation. That is exactly what Wintersleep did with the sold-out Ottawa crowd, and delivered a powerful show in the process. Everyone in the audience was hooked by the display of talent and musicianship on stage. The band was truly dynamic from a performance standpoint, with their onstage energy adding that much more of a kick to the songs. With the setlist comprised primarily of selections from 2007’s Welcome to the Night Sky, the show was an excellent opportunity for both longtime fans, and those looking to further discover the band. Paul Murphy even went as far as to say that this was their “best Ottawa show ever”. With a statement like that, you can bet Wintersleep will be back in the nation’s capital as soon as possible.

Review by Calum Slingerland

Photos by Kristen Cochrane


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