NXNE is spreading its wings outside of Toronto and into Ottawa this year. As a result, the festival’s 2013 edition brings its eclectic celebration of arts to the National Capital to the delight of many.
Ottawa’s Mercury Lounge has partnered with NXNE to showcase a variety of artists from Canada and abroad. For the occasion, Little Sun and Heidi Happy performed live at the downtown venue this past Saturday, June 8. A crowd of roughly 40 people gathered at the Mercury Lounge to check out the two featured acts.
Heidi Happy, a folk-pop singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Switzerland, opened the show with a solo set. On tour to promote her latest album On The Hills released this past March, she started off with a song fittingly-titled Canada, that she sang while playing the guitar. She then admitted to being rather nervous as she’s normally accompanied by a live band. Regardless, the crowd didn’t seem to notice the difference as her smooth mellow voice captivated the audience right from the start.
The set list included the tracks Ooh-Oh-Oh, the soothing Now, My Love Won’t Wait For You, Escape and Dance With Another, which can also be found on the new album. She concluded her set with an acapella cover of a delightful German-Swiss song and humbly thanked the audience for their presence and applause.
Throughout the 30-minute performance, Heidi Happy played the guitar, the xylophone and used her versatile voice to create a variety of melodies and sounds. It was a refreshing performance and the audience clearly enjoyed each composition.
Following Heidi Happy, Montreal-based group Little Sun took to the stage as the headlining act in an effort to promote their new EP Normal Human Feelings.
Ironically, the six-piece band, originally from Ottawa, has less material and experience than the Swiss singer-songwriter and should’ve technically opened the show, but ended up being headliner. Having said this, Heidi Happy’s music turned out to be more appealing to me although Little Sun undoubtedly gave a solid performance full of high energy and enthusiasm.
Comprised of a cellist, a contrabassist, a drummer, a clarinetist and saxophone-player, a tubist, and an accordionist and lead singer, Little Sun offered a lively mix of folk, indie pop, dance and funk styles alongside upbeat rhythms and beautiful melodies. By then, what had started as an intimate show suddenly turned into a dance party to the band’s great pleasure. At the crowd’s request, Little Sun finished with an encore leaving the audience wanting more.