Edmonton, Alberta’s Shout Out Out Out Out have been carting a pair of see-through plastic drum kits, several bass guitars and a plethora of moogs, synths and drum machines across Canada for many months. Somewhere amid their frequent touring, they found time to record an album, ‘Not Saying/Just Saying’.

That done, they embarked on another round of touring, landing in Ottawa on a cool September night to perform in front of a full house at Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Opener Vitamins For You is a one man act. A music composer with a few film credits to his name, Bryce Kushnier sounds a bit like Manitoba and the Junior Boys (both of which he admits are influences) and a slew of other loop-and-laptop-loving dance-pop outfits. Kushnier managed to be fairly active, bobbing and weaving while manipulating his sound with a mouse and singing his vocal parts into a pair of microphones and a broken headphone.
He drew some fans of his own and fulfilled a request in his lengthy set.

Following a brief break to allow for the movement of various electrical appliances, Shout Out Out Out Out took the stage. Band leader Nik 7 kicked things off with an introduction “Let me tell you my routine ... every day I drive 12 hours, get out of my van, do a little sound check, then swear into a vocoder and have a total dance party for 45 minutes.”

And so they did.

The band features two members of duo Whitey Houston, the Canadian band most
likely to be compared to DFA 1979, and like Whitey Houston they feature a lot of high kicks, heavy rhythms, and a lyrical bent that seems to focus on the group members’ chronic inability to get their financial situation together. Also, they had a set of giant white letters lined with light bulbs that spell ‘SHOUT’ and some strobes that lit up at strategic moments.

Drummers Snarf and Gravey anchored the sound with tandem drumming on kitty-corner plastic kits (and copious self-congratulatory high-fiving and stick twirling). Their simple patterns, combined with the bass playing of Jamie Wolfskin and fur-hatted Whitey Houston form the base on which bandleader Nik 7 and keyboardist Jaycie Jayce base their brutalist disco melodies. And if that wasn’t enough rhythm, there was always a drum machine or two to fill things out.

There was much fist-pumping from a front-and-centre quartet of drunken louts, and most of the audience jumped and screamed along with the band with marked enthusiasm.

The thunderous rhythms, distorted bass (or two, or three) and 7’s gymnastic performance didn’t really add up to more than the sum of their parts (I personally found the stripped down Whitey Houston to be the more inventive and engaging act).

An overstuffed attempt to entertain, but a successful one.

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