I had gone away from the Neil Hagerty show well entertained, but somewhat miffed at the low turnout. Well, it had been on a Tuesday ... people had to work, bit of an acquired taste and all that.

By comparison, Asteroid no. 4 had put on a super performance at Zaphod’s earlier in the year as part of the Rainbow Quartz showcase (reviewed earlier on Pennyblackmusic), and had effectively stolen the show with their denim California country rock. The show had been boosted in the local weeklies and dailies, on the local outlet of the national radio broadcaster, the CBC, on college radio and of course on the web, and were playing on a balmy but not oppressive Saturday night in a town that likes its country rock. The place would be packed, right?

When I walked in the door, I was the only one there who hadn’t played with a member of the band, either musically or sexually, or who wasn’t involved with Birdman Sound, who promoted the show. Okay, I exaggerate — there was also a bartender.

A few more people did trickle in, but it was a struggle to get attendance up into the double digits.

Damn shame, because both bands that night kicked out a mighty sound. Ottawa’s Golden Famile have an excellent guitarist in Richard Jeffrey, whose understated licks providing maximum emotion with minimal flash and an experienced rhythm section: Nathaniel Hurlow, once a guitarist with the Dead
City Rebels, is now the bassist with local garage rockers the Glads and drummer Mike Sheridan recently toured Europe with Kepler in support of Godspeed You Black Emperor!  Jennifer (Casey) Comeau plays keyboards and acoustic guitar and sang, while lead vocalist Darrell Angus also plays guitar and banjo.

(Full disclosure: In addition to writing for the Pennyblackmusic magazine, Darrell also works at the same newspaper I do).

They opened the show with a sound that drags in influences all over the country spectrum, from scratchy Okah hillbilly sides to Neil Young, occasionally flaring into Velvet Underground-style white noise.

Utterly undaunted by the low turnout, Asteroid no. 4 launched into a set mostly taken from their unreleased album 'Honeyspot' (to be released July 29 — “Or August 5th, Canadian time,” joshed A4 singer and guitarist Scott Litt).  Those songs taken from their earlier catalogue, such as 'Mercenary Man'  had been given a countryish tinge.

Though their psychedelic pop background does still colour much of the sound, the addition of three new members (notably pedal steel player Jamie Scythes) have turned the band toward the sound of early Eagles, the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield, with maybe a bit of Moby Grape.

The band was in high spirits (literally, their was a large amount of booze consumed throughout their set), with Scythes quizzing Angus about when he had written 'For California' (off GF’s 'Eastern, Cloudy' album), and proudly proclaimed he had written his own California-friendly tune a few months earlier. Shortly after a cover of Neil Young’s 'Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere', the band succumbed to the effects of alcohol and quit the stage for a pee and a smoke. They didn’t return for an encore (they were apparently seeing double by this time), but a fun time was had by all.

The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Andrew Carver











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