Last time Outrageous Cherry came to town, they played for a sparsely attended Rainbow Quartz showcase, a few months later (and several degrees warmer) the turnout gathered a respectable turnout for a Tuesday night, and one that ran the gamut from early 20s to mid-50s in age.

Holy Hell are a relatively recent addition to the Ottawa music scene; original members “Holy” Bob Whitmore (voice and guitar) and Heather Hell (drums) are frequent faces on the scene, and songs like 'Rock Hound' and 'The Room Downstairs' (also the title of an upcoming album) draws on their love ofstomping garage rock and the Velvet Underground, both lyrically and musically.Their simple but effective sound is now rounded out by Ottawa garage rock veteran Pat Shanks on bass.

After their energetic and well-received set, Outrageous Cherry began their set with 'Young and Miserable' from their latest album 'Supernatural Equinox'; like many of the band’s songs it draws on thetraditional boy-meets-girl, misery-results (or not) formula beloved of pop musicians since time immemorial.

Musically, the band is driven by the low end rumble of Carey Gustafson’s floor tom and bass drum kit (occasionally abetted by a tambourine she stomps with her foot) and new bassist Courtney Sheedy. Over this, Matthew Smith’s wah-wahed Fender Jaguar and Larry Ray’s Gibson Les Paul turn seemingly simple chords and single note runs into a fantastic tangle of reverberating, space-bound electric freakout. (As with openers Holy Hell, a certain VU influence is evident). Ray’s aggressive picking style — he had knocked off a pair of lower strings by the end of the night — adds considerable force to the tunes.

Among the highlights was 'Saturday Afternoon', a song according to Smith, about growing up in Detroit — “Godzilla movies and riots” as he described it. Smith broke out the acoustic guitar to accompany his strong drawl for 'Desperate Times, Desperate Measures', which seems to be about personal disillusionment, perhaps with the political climate in the U.S., plus werewolves and vampires. Their set was primarily composed of 'Supernatural' songs, with a few , like'Astral Travel Authority' and 'Georgie Don’t you Know' from earlier releases.

A very satisfying performance drew to a natural close around 12:30, with the band quitting the stage and Ray hurrying outside for a cigarette (we had a lot more encores in this town before the smoking bylaw came into effect, I tell you).

The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Andrew Carver











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