San Francisco’s Royal Baths are part of that city’s burgeoning garage-psych scene; along with bands like the Fresh & Onlys, Girls, Thee Oh Sees and Sonny and the Sunsets, they put a woozy take on the rock and pop of the 60s.

While most of San Francisco’s acts incorporate a healthy dose of the the 1960s scene’s sunnier side, Royal Baths investigate murkier, paranoid sonics - The Velvet Underground is frequently and aptly cited as a touchpoint.

There were a few wrinkles in their Ottawa appearance.

The first was that by a strange coincidence, several of the personnel for the Ottawa bands that might have opened for them were down in California (for AwesomeFest, among other events), so the promoters made the offbeat choice of local electronica performer Adam Saikaley to open.

The second was that as Saikaley began his set around 9:30 there was no sign of the headliners. Fortunately the affable Saikaley is an able improviser, and after a couple of long pieces he threw in a few improvisations based on a recent fascination with dabke - Middle Eastern wedding music.

After an hour amp and guitar-toting Royal Baths members started making their way into the club, with only thirty five minutes to go before the club was supposed to be turned over to the dance night.

The trio of Jeremy Cox, Jingmae Baer and Eden Birch quickly soundchecked, then launched into some blistering fuzz.

With two guitars and Birch’s floor-tom-heavy, Moe Tuckerish thump the band sounds quite a bit like groaning buzz-merchants Heavy Meadow.

While the late arrival curtailed their set slightly, Royal Baths still wrung forty minutes of feedback-laden pop from their instruments, just enough to satisfy a small but dedicated crowd.

















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