The Barracudas put their mark on powerpop with their California-inspired surf-rock singles, ‘I Want My Woody Back’ and ‘Summer Fun’, then cavorted through a series of garage-and-psych influenced albums in the 1980s that won them a devoted cult.

Canadian-born lead singer Jeremy Gluck has since carved out a career as a writer, and produced a few solo albums with collaborators such as Nikki Sudden, Rowland S. Howard and Jeffrey Lee Pierce, among others. A noted devotee of both the Beach Boys and the Stooges, Gluck has made occasional forays back into the limelight to perform Barracudas tunes, and a gig in his former hometown of Ottawa with a freshly recruited backing band.

The first band on the stage were local powerpop devotees Mother’s Children (whose guitarist Kenny J. MacLaurin Gluck has pinched for his backing band). Fresh on the heels of a new EP ‘Are You Tough Enough?’, the band was sounding exceptionally tight and fierce.

The members of the Barreracudas have largely passed the 30-year mark (or have done a lot of hard living) and were described by one of their record companies as “kicking around Atlanta for years”, but can still turn it up like a young man on stage. They are a rougher and rowdier crew than Mother’s Children, with a more scuffed up sound that owes something to folks like Johnny Thunders as well as powerpop staples like Cheap Trick, whose ‘C’Mon, C’Mon’ they closed their set with.

As for Jeremy Gluck, his set of Barracudas material started strong and ended in moderate chaos. A little roughness was to be expected, since it was the first live show with his ‘Young Barracudas’. Besides MacLaurin, Ottawa power popper Daniel Collins (of Zebrassieres, he’s also performed with MacLaurin in noted local party rockers Beach Blankets) handles bass, while the drum seat was filled by John Sproull of the Secret Lovers.

Kicking off with the appropriate ‘Surfers Are Back’, Jeremy Gluck showed off his somewhat acerbic sense of humour, bantering with the audience between tunes on a largely surprise-free setlist split by a cover of California folk-rock staple ‘Codeine’.

Gluck was an active presence on stage, flinging his microphone stand one way and his exercise jumper the other, going down on his knees for a couple of songs and making the occasional crack about performing his band’s old chesnuts.

As the performance came to a close the bus began to lose a wheel or two - jumping quickly to the encore Gluck handed his microphone off to Mother’s Children bassist Davey Quesnelle. While his stand-in made a game attempt at ‘I Want My Woody Back’ (including some improv on the tune’s spoken word bit), Gluck zipped through the crowd to observe from the back. Although Quesnelle’s version was not exactly word perfect, Gluck did say he was dispatching him to Spain to sing to the garage-rock fanatics there in his stead. A version of ‘Summer Fun’ also suffered some entertaining audience abuse, but a reprise with Gluck himself on vocals throughout set things mostly right.

Jeremy Gluck Set:

Surfers Are Back
Grammar of Misery
On the Strip
I Can’t Pretend
Middle Class Blues
Somewhere Outside
(I Wish It Could Be) 1965 Again
Violent Times
Last Summer


I Want My Woody Back
Summer Fun
Summer Fun (Reprise)

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