Monowhales at Club Saw in Ottawa: Review and photos

[Another concert report from Ottawa correspondent Ross MacDonald. – AC]

Recent Juno-award-winning alt-rockers Monowhales are winding down their cross-Canada tour, and on Saturday night they stopped in Ottawa for one of their last concert stops.

Two bands opened for Monowhales. First on the tight-packed stage was the Montreal trio Group Project. Jacob, Jeremy, and Alex brought along a bass player and drummer to fill in the rhythm section. This was not Group Project’s first time playing in Ottawa, they performed at Bluesfest in July.

Group Project

Group Project has a very upbeat sound with catchy original songs that had the crowd dancing right from the get-go. It was unfortunate that the stage at Ottawa’s Club Saw wasn’t larger as everyone could see that singer Jacob Brown and guitarist Alex Remington were itching to move about.

Next up was one of the Ottawa area’s favourite local rock bands: Rebelle from Wakefield. This hard-rocking quartet wasted no time in getting the audience moving after the quick stage change. Their sound definitely has a grunge-style influence with David’s power chords in the verses and shredding guitar riffs in-between along with Rylee’s keyboard solos.

Group Project

The band started fast with their first single ‘Hide’ and never slowed down. They closed out their set with their newest single ‘Head On Fire’ followed by a dark song ‘Rapture’ that David wrote during the pandemic. Rebelle are definitely living up to grunge and post-grunge influences.


2022 has been an extremely busy year for Monowhales. First they supported fellow alt-rockers Mother Mother on their cross-Canada tour. And now Monowhales are touring in support of their new album Tunnel Vision. The album was officially released at the beginning of September, and a couple of weeks later they embarked on an 18-city cross-country tour.


Monowhales concerts are a treat. The band, and especially singer Sally Shaar, engage with their fans from start to finish. When opening for Mother Mother earlier this year, one would best describe a Monowhales show as “energetic”. But somehow they have evolved and “intensity” is now a better description. All three members LOVE performing live. Sally, Zach, and Jordan sing and play to every member of their audiences, and they are extremely appreciative of their fans, continually thanking them for their support.


Monowhales have grown musically as well. They have been writing and performing powerful alt-rock songs, but now they have more of an industrial-rock feel. They opened their set with their new hit ‘CTRL^^^’ (pronounced Control), and you can hear a Trent Reznor influence, especially in the bridge and chorus.


The band mixed their set with new material off Tunnel Vision, but also fan favourites like hit songs ‘Take It Back’ (their first single), ‘All Or Nothing’, and ‘Out With The Old’, which all lead to sing-alongs with the crowd. And in a surprise move, for the new single ‘New Threads’ Jordan came out from behind the drum kit and shared lead vocals with Sally (but he doesn’t have her moves yet).


Zach took the opportunity to highlight his shredding prowess with a jaw-dropping solo in their hit song ‘Real Love’ which closed out Monowhale’s main set. But wait, that wasn’t the end. For an encore the band came back with ‘RWLYD’ (Really Wanna Let You Down) and then closed out a nod to one of their biggest influences: Nine Inch Nails’ ‘The Hand That Feeds.’

Monowhales always perform a memorable show and they are a must-see!

Sally Shaar – lead vocals, percussion
Zach Zanardo – guitar, bass, keyboards, backing vocals
Jordan Circosta – drums, backing vocals

Touring member:
Dylan Burrett – bass, backing vocals

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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