Published Nov 06, 2018Visiting the nation's capital for the third time in the past five years, the Dodos had to contend with chilly rains and a general Monday night malaise during their latest Ottawa visit.
The 30 people who made their way to the 27 Club early were treated to Palehound's debut performance in the city. Opening the evening with a half-hour set, the Boston indie rockers performed tracks from their 2017 LP, A Place I'll Always Go, and their terrific 2015 debut, Dry Food. Unfortunately, Ellen Kempner's whispered vocals — paired with her clean guitar sound and the absence of regular drummer, Jesse Weiss — left her and bassist Larz Brogan competing with the persistent chatter emanating from the small but noisy crowd.
With the audience now growing to around 50 people, the two members of the Dodos took the stage, immediately thanking everyone for coming out on a Monday evening, before launching into a pair of tracks ("Forum" and "Coughing") from their latest LP, Certainty Waves. Clutching a Fender Jazzmaster in place of his usual acoustic guitar, vocalist Meric Long venturing into older material — including "Confidence" and "Competition" — that was met with a cheers of acknowledgement from the crowd.
Moving to his acoustic guitar, Long strummed through the spectacular Certainty Waves track "SW3" that found drummer Logan Kroeber hammering out impossibly inventive time signatures on the drum rims, leading an awe-struck audience member to yell out, "What was that name of that song?" upon the track's completion. Reaching back to play a pair of numbers from their best and most beloved LP, 2008's Visiter ("Winter" and 'Fools"), the crowd began to warm up, as Long and Kroeber showed off their incredibly tight and resourceful stage presence that found them incorporating loops, drum machines, synth lines and effects to create a sound much larger than their head count should suggest.
Moving back to his electric guitar for the set's final songs, including fan favourites "Precipitation" and "Black Night", the duo crafted a joyous ruckus that was fuelled by Kroeber's jaw-dropping polyrhythms. Closing the night off with "Ono Fashion" from Certainty Waves, the Dodos once again demonstrated to the Ottawa crowd how much energy, charm and graciousness they're capable of bringing to the stage every night; no matter the climate, turn out or day of the week.