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Monday, 24 June 2013

ultra mega

Ultra Mega & Grand Chevy  |  Casa Del Popolo

A TIME WITH DEEP AND MEANINGFUL FEELINGS  |  SEAN ZUMBUSCH

I was excited to finally get to go to Casa Del Popolo, as it is a highly-appreciated venue amongst the people that I know. In fact, for some it is their favourite place in the city to go watch bands perform, and they will go on and on about how much they like being there. I have to admit that I, too, was seduced by its wily charms. I like its two-room (and outdoor terrace) layout, as it grants the patron the option of either listening to the band, hanging out in the other room where there might be a DJ or something similar, or perhaps the chance to stand outdoors and take in some nicotine. The space itself is nice and rustic in that its interior is mostly covered by painted wood panelling and posters from previous shows that took place there. There is a decently sized stage, and a minimal, but quality PA system. While the stage room is smaller than places like Divan Orange or La Salsa Rossa, it is still a comfortable space to be inside. There was a surprisingly large audience for a Wednesday night (very nice), and there were two bands for the evening. Grand Chevy was the opener.


Grand Chevy are a local power trio. They perform songs in both French and English, and the guitarist and bassist share vocal duties. The shimmering guitar tones the guitarist utilized did great justice to his raw, and often noisy guitar riffs, and he made creative use of pedal effects such as phase and delay. That guy had one intense-looking pedal board, and I’m jealous. Not to be outdone, the drummer also employed some rather out-of-the-box ideas for ambient sound in the set. At one point, for example, during an instrumental break, he pulled out cymbals from a bag behind the kit and threw them across his kit to create ambient noises for the song. It is clever little bits in their set like that which set Grand Chevy apart from the rest, and I would love to see them again. Ultra Mega came next.

Ultra Mega are a four-piece from Winnipeg. This band’s music is seriously chill and relaxing. I would not recommend operating heavy machinery while listening to their EP, The Dart. At times I heard some Pink Floydian moments, and other moments were reminiscent of Crosby, Stills and Nash. There were some rather lush vocal harmonies to be heard. I enjoyed their dirty tube amp guitar tones, and was taken by that their front man uses a more off the beaten path guitar amp, an AIMS amp. Most of the bands I see for Soupe Kitchen use either Fender or Vox combo amps, so it’s always a treat whenever I see something different on stage. After some googling following the show, I found out that AIMS was a company founded in the early 70s by disgruntled Fender amp technicians that did not last to see the end of that particular decade. As such, I have to say that it’s a hell of a find and a pleasure to the eyes and ears. That bit of gear geekery aside, their set was a great thing to behold both in the music and the social realm. Everyone there took this band’s music in like sponges, and everyone rode chill waves for the entirety of the set. Ultra Mega’s shows are a great place to be and I highly recommend seeing them if you can.

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