It’s a difficult task, getting a crowd out on a Monday night in Ottawa. Especially when it’s a freezing rain kind of night. As I arrived at Barrymore’s on an especially miserable winter evening, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Ottawa was pumped and ready to party on a school night.

I made my way through the crowd to my favourite spot near the soundboard as the opening band was beginning their set. While I had never heard of Ascot Royals before that night, their performance isn’t one I will soon forget. The quintet from Toronto brought contagious energy to the stage that quickly engulfed the crowd.

As much as I was enjoying the music, I’ve got to admit that I couldn’t help but get hair envy over lead vocalist Jimmy Chauveau’s curly locks.

As the band played on, I found myself looking around the room and being overcome with the realisation that I couldn’t help but smile at the sight of a full house at Barrymore’s. Restored to her former glory, if only for the night.

The Ascot Royals worked their magic, getting the crowd revved up for a night a rock-and-roll.  

And while I may not have known who they were when I work up that morning, I was a fan by the time my day came to an end.

Me even being at the show was pretty much a fluke, only finding out that morning that I’d get to do this review. Now, I’m always excited when I find out I get to go to a rock show, but I must say that I was especially stoked because Big Wreck had released their new album since I last saw them on Canada Day in Calabogie, of all places.

As the clock ticked closer to the main event, the crowd buzzed in anticipation. The band appeared as the stage lights flooded the room. The crowd was immediately entranced.

They kicked off the set with their single One good piece of me off their newly released album Grace Street. It’s a great tune, you’ve certainly heard it on Rebel 101.7 and if not, tune in and make sure to add to your playlist.

I must say, watching Ian Thornley perform is an experience. Between the intricate guitar riffs and hypnotic vocals, I swear the man has the power to make an entire crowd quiver.

New or old material, the crowd was taking whatever the band would give them. After the show, a friend of mine said the whole night was “like hanging out with an old friend”. I don’t think I could have described it better myself.

If you missed the sell-out show in Ottawa, hopefully you were able to catch them at one of their other stops on their cross-Canada tour. The entire production was a thing of beauty.

You can check out Big Wreck’s new album Grace Street on their website

Article and photos by Natalie Fay and Dave DiUbaldo of Worn Leather Media. Keep up with them at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Until the next one.