The Bellrays’ ferocious musical attack is well known to Ottawa audiences and a good-sized crowd ventured into Babylon on a Wednesday night to hear their rock and soul testimonial.

The opening act was to have been Montreal trash rock combo the Sunday Sinners, but they failed to make it – due to an excess of sinning, no doubt – so local trio Four’n’Giv’r appeared in their stead.

A new band of experienced local punk and garage rockers influenced by bands like the Velvet Underground, Wire, and garage rock oddballs like Nobody’s Children, the Monks and the Hombres, they put on a powerful set of extra-rhythmic garage punk.

Of course, no one can upstage the Bellrays – Lisa Kekeula is one of the most powerful vocalists in rock, and is able to handle the band’s shifts between rock, soul and jazz with aplomb. Her three bandmates are as capable, if not as singular as Kekeula : Bassist Bob Vennum’s already punishing attack is abetted by the hard-hitting style of drummer Craig Waters, while Tony Fate can dish out anything from R&B to Detroit-style rock.

The band was very focused at this show. Sometimes the group lets its occasional jazzy interpolations get away from them, or spends a little too much time on between-songs testifying. There was a mini-lecture or two about the vital importance of change and the like (well, it wouldn’t be a Bellrays show without them), but for the most part the group launched a relentless blast of soul and punk-flavoured rock, including such classics as 'Blues for Godzilla' with songs from their new album.

Even though the show stretched on for what seemed like two hours the band kept up a blistering pace, leaving their many local fans more than satisfied.

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Commenting On: Babylon, Ottawa, 19/10/2005 - Bellrays with Four’n’Giv’r

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