Ottawa Explosion Weekend couldn't be contained in the Arts Court, a micro music festival under a tent bordered with stone walls beside the old jailhouse. The festival can't even be contained in one weekend anymore; what was once a couple days at Babylon was this year five days, packed with bands indoors and outdoors, in pop-up shows and venues.
But what OXW can do like nothing else is show how many goddamn bands there are here. Ottawa Explosion has built a meeting post for punk and garage rock in a city known for its canal and its bureaucrats. It shines a light on the scene.
Bands are up front for each others' sets (pretty sure I pulled something in my shoulder saving the guitarist from Sonic Avenue's ass when he was crowdsurfing), Hashed Out saying we're all idiots for seeing them at Dekcuf while Ottawa power pop staple The White Wires play an all-too-rare show. At the Saw tent the packed crowd's singing every word back at them.
When Ottawa's resident shitheads New Swears jump onstage wearing shades and those paper hospital gowns, the crowd loses it. We're crowdsurfing on inflatable rafts, pool noodles and candy everywhere. It doesn't matter that it's barely 5 p.m., the tall cans of Steamwhistle are already piled on the ground. Silly string is hanging from the tent's scaffolding for the rest of the night.
When Metz tears up Ritual (few bands can make a pit that furious happen in Ottawa) Alex Edkins tells his hometown to support the local bands and shop at the local record stores (and to catch Crusades end the night back at Saw), that this festival is only going to get bigger.
It's pretty easy to believe him.
Here's Dead Weights with a track off their new 12" Dead Ends & Closed Doors. They rocked Avant Garde, the soviet-themed bar that's always projecting foreign music videos, with all of us drunkenly singing along, arms around each other. The track is "Latitude 45,"an ode to friends who have left Ottawa.