The Wooden Sky might hail from Toronto but there is no love lost for Ottawa. The four piece indie folk band speaks fondly of the city and plays here often.

Releasing their 5th album, Swimming in Strange Waters, in April of this year, they wasted no time getting out on the road to promote it. The tour started in North America with their friends, Timbre Timbre, before crossing the pond and visiting the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Mallorca. The band took a short break from touring, in September, for the front man Gavin Gardiner to get married…just outside of Ottawa. Did I mention how fond they are of this city?

The Wooden Sky at NAC. Photo by Laura Collins.

On Friday October 27th, they played to a crowd of about 250 people in an intimate setting in the Azrieli Studio at the NAC. The evening was filled with great music, tributes and even a few dance moves.

Opening the show with a couple of their earlier songs ‘Child of the Valley’ and ‘Bit Part’, they mesmerized the audience from the start. As the night continued the evening quickly turned into a love fest. The crowd loved when Gavin brought his harmonica out for the first time, the new songs were a huge hit, and as the band finished their first set, they unplugged for a couple of acoustic songs that absolutely wowed the crowd. This is also where the tributes began.

The Wooden Sky at NAC. Photo by Laura Collins.

Acknowledging what a difficult year it has been for the music industry, they wanted to pay tribute to Tom Petty, one of their idols, by covering his song ‘Wildflowers’. The harmonies between Gavin, Simon and Andrew were beautiful and left the crowd in silent awe as they went off for a short intermission.

The Wooden Sky at NAC. Photo by Laura Collins.

When they returned, the love fest continued as did the tributes, starting with favorites like ‘My Old Ghosts” and, the only song ever written in the van on tour, ‘Baby Hold On’.

Up next was the smooth ballad ‘Take me Out’, a song that is easy to get lost in and one that Gavin dedicated to his new wife and her family, pointing out that some of them were in attendance. Following the theme of the evening the band added a second cover to their set, ‘Trick Rider’ by the late Gord Downie.

Sharing a story of where they were when the last Tragically Hip concert was playing, a story that seemingly everyone will have their own of as his passing still weighs heavily on us all.

The Wooden Sky at NAC. Photo by Laura Collins.

The evening came to an end with a standing ovation that brought the band back out for a well appreciated encore. Finishing the night off with performances of ‘Something hiding for us in the night’ and one final acoustic performance by Gavin and Simon of ‘Oslo’.

The evening ended as intimate as it began. If you missed the show, not to worry! These guys can’t wait to get back here and announced we’ll all be able to hang out again in March when they play at the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec.

By Jen Derbach.

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