Every now and then, a new group emerges onto the local music scene and impresses concert-goers with its originality, unique sound, and professionalism. This can surely be said of BlakDenim, a new ensemble that appeared on the Ottawa music scene this past year and who’s since established itself as a group to watch for. The hip-hop, funk, rock fusion 10-piece placed second at this year’s Live 88.5 Big Money Shot Finals, which allowed the musicians to gain significant exposure and radio airtime. It seems that BlakDenim has only been gaining momentum since, performing at Nationless Nights and opening for Chali 2Na of Jurassic 5 during his stop in Ottawa. Eventful Capital had the opportunity to see the group live for the first time this past July when the formation opened for the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at Ritual (check out what Eventful Capital had to say about the performance).
This time around, BlakDenim performed live on November 28 at the Mercury Lounge as part of the Up & Up Concert Series. The group had centre stage since there were no opening acts to warm up the crowd. For the occasion, vocalists Precise Kenny Creole and Erin Tomkins were joined by their bassist, drummer, keyboardist, flutist, bassist, tubist, trumpet player and percussionist. Having said this, the tuba, one of the most impressive instruments, was unfortunately barely visible as it was tucked away to the side probably due to a lack of stage space. Although the performance started an hour behind schedule, the venue was full and buzzing with good vibes. Several of the musicians wore matching BlakDenim toques, while the group’s emblematic bird logo was proudly projected onto the red curtains positioned behind.
BlakDenim performed a mix of originals and covers providing a rich blend of genres over two sets. However, there were many covers and it would’ve been nice to hear more original material. Then again, considering the group’s relatively new existence, it’s understandable that the musicians are progressively building their repertoire. The set list included the original songs I Can’t Go To Sleep, Persevere, and It’s Cold Outside along with covers of Ni**as in Paris by Jay-Z and Kanye West, So Fresh So Clean by Outkast, Gin and Juice by Snoop Dogg, Do For Love by Tupac, C.R.E.A.M. by the Wu Tang Clan, and Skyfall by Adele among others.
Aside from projecting tons of energy and great stage presence, the group involved the public on numerous occasions, inviting freestylers, beatboxers, and dancers on to the stage in the name of “inclusiveness”. The crowd clearly enjoyed it as everyone cheered and danced along throughout the entire performance. BlakDenim concluded their show with Intoxicated, the catchy song that helped them win second place during the Live 88.5 Big Money Shot competition.
It’s safe to say that BlakDenim is an up and coming force to be reckoned with and that this group of hard-working musicians is bound to have much more in store for the National Capital Region sooner than later. Be sure to keep an eye out for this band with lots of potential and keep up with what BlakDenim is up to via their Facebook page and Twitter account.