When Chains of Love released their first CD, ‘Strange Grey Days’, it drew complimentary reviews that praised its 1960's style girl group sound and comparisons to the Shangri-Las, as well as modern followers such as the Dum Dum Girls and Saturday Looks Good to Me.

Live the band proved a somewhat different proposition. The travelling quintet also had something to prove, sandwiched between garage and new wave devotees the Ketamines and Zebrasieres.

The Ketamines have garnered some acclaim in underground rock quarters for their skewed, punky blurts. Their current fame is, however, largely due to the notoriety around frontman Paul Lawton’s controversial 'Slagging Off' blog, which garnered mainstream attention due to its no-holds-barred criticism of many current Canadian acts and the way government assistance is doled out to bands.

Their was no talk of that when Lawton took the stage accompanied by guitarists Alexander Hamlyn, Andrew Payne and drummer Jesse Locke, all veterans of various Canadian rock combos.

With the vocal reverb pumped as high as it would go, the quartet buzzed its way through a set including infamous rock innovator Kim Fowley’s ‘Bubblegum’. It was quite a credible performance for any band, let alone one that had been stuck in a car for fifteen hours on the drive from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Next up were Chains of Love, who made a fair claim for being the actual headliners by tearing up the stage with a furious performance reminiscent of Ike and Tina Turner in their heyday. On disc, frontwoman Natalia Pizarro is accompanied by singer-guitarist Rebecca Law Gray. Live, she carried all the vocal weight herself with some powerhouse pipes. Cutting a most striking (and incredibly leggy) figure in short shorts and black top, she charged through the band’s searing garage-soul originals. After mixing in a slower jazzier number, the band turned up the heat again with a blazing cover of Shocking Blue’s first single, ‘Send Me a Postcard’. By set’s end, several of her much-abused tambourine’s discs were littering the stage.

The Chains of Love are of course more than one person; guitarist Felix Fung’s playing and posing and bassist Al Boyle’s running about also boosted the energy level.

Headliner Zebrassieres were a much-loved Ottawa act before Calgary expatriate front man Andrew Payne left for Toronto. Local affection aside, their placement at the top of the bill might also be explained by the group’s new line-up: Paul Lawton, Alexander Hamlyn, Andrew Payne and Jesse Locke. Yes, Zebrassieres and the Ketamines have the exact same staff, right down to missing keyboardist, Sara Ford. The only difference was that Payne sang, Hamlyn jumped to bass and Lawton shifted over to wring some sci-fi sounds from the band’s synthesizer. The resulting sound is hooky pop with a heavy dose of Devo in its DNA.

While Zebrassieres’ set demonstrated quite well why they were Bytown faves, it was the Chains of Love who undoubtedly earned the lion’s share of acclaim.

Related Links:


Commenting On: Pressed,Ottawa, 9/6/2013 - Chains of Love, Zebrassieres and the Ketamines

ie London, England

tick box before submitting comment

First Previous Next Last