Take 5: Couch Assassin Edition

Introducing Take 5, where someone whose business it is to know gives you the lowdown on their most anticipated shows at Jazz Fest.

Couch Assassin LogoTaking a figurative Tommy gun to your literal couch, Couch Assassin styles itself as Ottawa’s Good Times Guide. They have been among the most active online presences in the city’s cultural scene, ably curating an extensive listing of upcoming events of all sorts.

We asked co-founder Daniel Spence to give us a veteran concertgoers’ guide to the must-see artists at this year’s Festival.


Tower of Power (June 22, 9:00pm Main Stage Confederation Park)

TOP is one of the great soul/R&B ensembles from the 70s, and it’s a privilege to finally have a chance to hear them live in Ottawa. Their sound is literally towering – stacks of horns piled with precision on top of funky driving bass and percussion. It’s amazing that they’re still touring, and we’re really looking forward to experiencing them in full effect on an outdoor stage.

Jaga Jazzist (June 30, 10:30pm Laurier Avenue Music Stage, Marion Dewar Plaza)

We were blown away by this group when we first saw them more than ten years ago. Another horn-heavy band, the term “experimental jazz” definitely does not paint the right picture. They expertly blend so many different genres and musical elements, drawing heavily from electro and analog, jazz, prog and rock… but in an amazing way, in spite of how that description may sound.


Mackenzie Rhythm Section (June 28, 12:00pm Laurier Avenue Music Stage, Marion Dewar Plaza)

These local boys put on a fantastic live show. Watching Conor Kehoe jump and strut is as close as you’ll ever get to seeing what a young James Brown must have been like on stage. Their fast and funky soul is infectious and invigorating, compelling you to dance. This is a band that goes all out for the audience.

Groenland (June 27, 10:30pm Laurier Avenue Music Stage, Marion Dewar Plaza)

To quote from our blog piece about the band from last November, “Groenland is more than just indie pop.” Their melodic energy is conveyed by sweet vocals, deep and varied instrumentation and catchy rhythms. They are a seriously fun band to watch live.

Timber Timbre (Jun 21, 10:30pm, Laurier Avenue Music Stage, Marion Dewar Plaza)

Swooshy, mellow, sweet and spooky — great music if you’re looking for a calmer vibe to balance out your festival experience. They’re well-liked by people who know their stuff, with their last few albums having made the Polaris Prize lists. It will be fun to see how their ethereal, cinematic sound plays on the festival stage.

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