For the first year since this blog was created, Eventful Capital joins the bandwagon and brings you a recap of some of the best events to happen in the National Capital Region in 2013. As you can imagine, putting together a Top 10 list is a challenging task that requires careful consideration given the ridiculous amount of quality events that were held in this city throughout the year. It’s also a very subjective process obviously. With that being said, Eventful Capital is pleased to unveil what it considers to be some of the most entertaining events of the past year. Here are the ones that made the cut in no specific order.
Shlohmo giving a live DJ set at Ritual in April 2013
1. WeDidIt Collective founder Shlohmo and member D33J included Ottawa on their Laid Out Tour this past April and for the occasion the LA boys gave live sets at Ritual. It sure was a bold move to book the underground electronic/hip-hop DJs/Producers on a Sunday night, but it proved to be a winning decision as about 200 music lovers gathered at the downtown venue to take in the rising collective’s evident talent. Shit got weird, in a good way. This show’s surely brings epic memories to those who experienced it.
2. It’s safe to say local hip-hop heads got served a generous portion in 2013. From Kendrick Lamar and Pac Div to RiFF RAFF and M.O.P., plenty dope bars were dropped in the Capital City this past year. One of the shows that stands out the most however has got to be Joey Bada$$ and Pro Era who brought down the house at Ritual on April 6. The headliners were joined by opening acts Flatbush Zombies and The Underachievers and the turned up sold-out crowd loved every minute of it. I’ve rarely seen Ritual that rowdy and packed and that event will easily go down as one of the best hip hop shows to ever happen in Ottawa in my books.
3. When it comes to international music, Ottawa is lucky to have World Famous Music, a production house that specializes in booking renowned world artists in intimate venues. This year, World Famous Music managed to sign a show with Oliver Tuku Mtukudzi and the Black Spirits who graced the stage at Ritual on April 7. This African music legend attracted a large crowd of fans and at 60 years of age he effortlessly performed some of his greatest hits to everyone’s delight. There was pure love all around the venue that night and it was quite a humbling experience to have the opportunity to see such a talented musician in person.
Glen Hansard gave a heartfelt performance to a sea of fans as part of the Ottawa Jazz Festival’s After Dark Series © Photo courtesy of Andre Gagne
4. One of the most beautiful things about experiencing live music is that sometimes it allows you to discover amazing talent without expecting it. This can surely be said of Glen Hansard, an Irish singer-songwriter, who gave an incredibly moving and heartfelt performance in front of a packed crowd at this year’s Ottawa Jazz Festival. After a fun evening of music at the Main Stage and National Arts Centre, I stumbled upon Hansard who was closing the night at the After Dark Series. The acoustic performance was simple, stripped-down and honest and it was by far one of the best performances I’ve seen all year. Sometimes less is much, much more.
The Wu Tang Clan bringing the ruckus to Ottawa on Day 4 of the 2013 Ottawa Bluesfest
5. There’s no question about it: the fact that the entire Wu-Tang Clan (except Inspektah Deck) united to perform at the Ottawa Bluesfest this past July is an unforgettable and legendary moment when it comes to 2013 events. Everyone was hopeful, but no one thought the majority of the crew would actually take the stage in celebration of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’s 20th anniversary. That performance was crazy and it’s bound to go down in history for any Ottawa hip-hop head that was in attendance.
6. Another epic moment from this year’s Bluesfest has got to be Björk’s headlining performance. The eclectic Icelandic singer-songwriter’s Ottawa debut was by far the highlight of Day 9 and she easily attracted 9000 festival-goers which is no easy feat. It was impressive to see her move about the stage with such grace and to hear her uniquely beautiful voice pierce through the night. Although I’m not a huge Björk fan, it was simply impossible to remain unmoved by such a rare and powerful performance.
7. When it comes to up and coming indie talent, one of the best shows of the year hands down goes to Montreal-based orchestral pop group Groenland. The 6-piece, who’s gained significant recognition following the release of their debut album The Chase, gave their first Ottawa show at Mavericks on July 21 and the musicians’ refreshing sound and charming stage presence made it one of the most enjoyable shows of 2013.
Greg McEvoy and Leiki Kopvillem giving an acoustic outdoor set on August 24 as part of the 4in1 Ottawa Music Sessions. © Photo courtesy of Jackpine Co. and Ming Wu
8. The August Edition of the 4in1 Music Sessions was easily the highlight of my summer. It took place on a beautiful summer day on Jackpine’s rooftop in the picturesque Chinatown neighbourhood. The intimate afternoon of music introduced me to local musicians Greg McEvoy, llvekyo, StillNative and Fevers who each have a unique style of their own. The 4in1 Music Sessions is a great initiative that takes live music out of the clubs and concert venues and into unconventional urban settings in an effort to reach wider audiences. I’m thankful to have been present that afternoon to take in the good vibes. For music lovers like myself, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Grafitti art under Dunbar Bridge as part of the 2013 House of PainT Festival © Photo courtesy of House of PainT
9. From September 11 to September 15, Ottawa’s hip hop community joined forces to celebrate House of PainT‘s 10-year anniversary (HoPX) and it was a truly beautiful thing. For the occasion, the 4 elements of hip-hop culture were honoured thanks to some solid programming which had something for everyone. From the July fundraising show featuring the internationally renowned Hypnotic Brass Ensemble to the legendary performance by hip-hop pioneer Big Daddy Kane, the 2013 edition of this community festival was an all-around success. It’s things like this that make our city shine so much respect to the organizers for putting on such a fantastic festival.
10. Last but certainly not least, something has to be said about Ottawa-Gatineau’s Nuit Blanche. It’s impossible to leave out this fantastic project which puts Canada’s National Capital on the map with regards to arts and culture. The second instalment was bigger and better than its debut and it was a great testimony to the local cultural scene. Despite the incessant downpour, Ottawa-Gatineau residents came out in large numbers to show their love for the arts which made it a very inspiring night.
So there you have it, these are Eventful Capital’s favourite events for 2013. This list is certainly not exclusive or exhaustive as many other events could’ve easily been included, but it just goes to show the rich variety of events that we are lucky to have in this area.
With 2014 just around the corner, there’s no doubt that there will be more happening and more to cover. Eventful Capital looks forward to the new year to attend all of the fun and exciting events that are set to take place in and around Ottawa-Gatineau.