New York's the Figgs have soldiered through the trenches of powerpop for more than two-decades. Like contemporaries the Sloan and the Smithereens, they’ve flirted with wider popularity and garnered plenty of critical plaudits. Their long service hasn’t brought them a large audience, but it’s certainly sharpened their talents as performers.

Their show at Ottawa nightclub Zaphod Beeblebrox only attracted a few dozen people, mostly in the early-thirties-to-forties demographic, but provided a lot of bang for the buck.

Ottawa’s BushPilots opened things off with a solid set of rock’n’roll that is firmly perched in the same week that Gram Parsons dropped in to visit The Rolling Stones while they were recording ‘Exile On Main St.’ at Nellcote. The band’s past leans more toward country rock, which explains their concluding run through of the Flying Burrito Brothers’ ‘Sin City’.

As for the Figgs, their set was occasionally rough and ready - “Can you tell some of this is new material?” joshed guitarist Mike Gent after one energetic tune. But none of that detracted from the band's punchy tunes and showmanship sharpened by stints with idols like Graham Parker and former Replacement Tommy Stinson. It was also full of such crowd-pleasing antics as jumping on and off of amplifiers and drum risers, and a farcical a capella turn from drummer Pete Hayes. “I have a van ... that’s why I’m in this band” he sang in a somewhat cracked voice before returning behind his drum kit.

Their set ranged throughout their recorded career, and included a rousing audience singalong of the Beatles’ ‘Bungalow Bill’.

They finished off their encore with a boozy sounding version of ‘The Bar’ from ‘Hi-Fi Society’, leaving their small but devoted local fanbase more than satisfied.

















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