Friday the 13th may be the unlucky day for superstitious folks but I felt pretty lucky being able to finally see Vancouver’s The Pack A.D. live in Ottawa.
I had not yet seen a show at the newly opened 27 Club, which replaced the legendary Zaphod’s on York Street in September. With mixed feelings I packed my gear and headed out to the Byward Market not knowing how the club would compare to its predecessor as a concert venue.
Upon arriving to the club, it was clear that the new owner had wanted to change the atmosphere of the place significantly. Gone are the neon signs and booths and the carpet that covered the good ol’ Zaphod’s floor for years. The bar has been extended and where there were rows of bottles on the wall, there’s now an exposed brick wall with neatly written chalk board drink menu. A row of colourful, Indian style lamp shades dimly light up the bar, there are only a few spots to sit at fancy couches and old chairs by the wall opposite from it, and the club has turned more into a music hall compared to the cozy, homey feel of the old Zaphod’s.
A handful of people had already shown up for the first opener, the Ottawa two piece No Fuss, who entertained the crowd for a short set of power-pop before unleashing the night’s next opener. The Sick Things , a four man band from Montreal most likely stole quite a few more hearts than just mine. The band, who have also this year opened for Alexisonfire, put on a 40 minute set of unapologetic rocknroll, which with all the guitar solos and flowing hair reminded me of, perhaps a slightly less flamboyant, rock cocks The Darkness.
The air was already sticky and sweaty as The Pack A.D. got on stage for their set. The powerful female garage rock duo is currently on a North American tour promoting their new album Dollhouse, coincidentally released on Friday the 13th, the same day as their Ottawa show.
The band is a living proof of why you don’t necessarily need a five piece band around you when you have drummer Maya Miller’s hypnotic drums to set the rhythm to Becky Black’s roaring guitar and her smooth voice. It is empowering to see more all female or female fronted bands getting more publicity and radio time these days and seeing The Pack A.D. live, that feeling just got a whole lot stronger.
I can see the band thriving at smaller, intimate venues like The 27 Club, where sadly the sound was not the most flattering for a band like The Pack A.D., but I’d love to see them at a festival gig or a medium to large size shows where the audience could make the most of the band’s huge sound.
From the earlier material to the tunes from the new album, The Pack A.D gave their all on stage and the crowd was loving every second of it as the band’s biggest hit Sirens sent the satisfied concert goers to their homes.
By Laura Collins.