Photos and a review of Limblifter in Ottawa

[Correspondent Ross MacDonald was on the case again. He filed this report. – AC]

Sunday nights are usually a quiet time, relaxing in the last moments of the weekend before the hectic work week starts. That wasn’t exactly the mood at Neat Coffee Shop in rural eastern Ontario as Vancouver alt-rock darlings Limblifter took the stage.

The night opened with the band performing ‘Proxima Centauri B’ off their most recent album, 2022’s ‘Little Payne’. The song had a degree of psychedelia with Greg’s keys complimenting Ryan’s single-coil strat with the reverb turned up.

One of the most memorable performances was for their hit single ‘Wake Up To The Sun’. The song opened with Ryan ringing out his guitar, then Eric laid a thumping beat on the drums, Megan joined in with the beat of her bass, and finally Greg’s guitar joined in with Ryan to a beautiful euphony of sound. On the choruses, both Megan and Greg provided beautiful harmonies on backing vocals. And not to be left out, everyone in the hall helped sing the chorus a few times at the end acapella.

The sold-out crowd was very appreciative all night. And one of the best things about watching a concert at Neat is the intimacy. It is like a VIP experience with the band, they are just a few metres away. At one point someone in the audience asked the band if they had any stories. Ryan wasn’t quite prepared for that and didn’t have anything at the moment. But a few songs later he did recount a story about setting up a frisbee-golf on his property.

It was an evening for all ages; there was even a toddler in her mother’s baby carrier. It looked very happy sitting in front of her mother with big headphones. At one point the toddler sounded like it was trying to make a request between songs. At this point Ryan grabbed Megan’s bass for the next song ‘Hya’. While Ryan was playing the bass, Megan did a beautiful slide solo on Ryan’s strat.

‘Ariel vs Lotus’ is a hugely popular hit for Limblifter, so it was met with a great reception from the crowd. But nobody was prepared for Ryan’s guitar solo. It was a showcase of his prowess that is not limited to power chords or the pentatonic scale, Ryan plays with expertise and innovation that is similar to Tom Morello or Ian Thornley, with a plethora of tones and effects that leaves one wondering how he creates such sounds.

And then again a few songs later while performing ‘Sorry Sorry Sorry’, Ryan was playing dueling guitars against himself, flipping the distortion pedal on and off with his foot. Judging by the crowd’s reaction, he won.

For the song ‘Bottle Tops Off’ the rhythm section took the lead for the solo with Megan’s bass line and Eric’s thumping floor tom. For the grand finale of the song, Ryan climbed on a speaker stack to perform his solo. Meanwhile Eric was pounding his bass drum so hard he broke the pedal. Surprisingly Eric didn’t put a stick through his snare drum as he was pounding it so hard.

Limblifter played another new song ‘Haystack’ that is very upbeat and fresh. So don’t dare try to pigeon-hole the band. Over the years they have evolved from a post-grunge alt-rock band into some softer melodies, yet haven’t lost their edge. Probably going back to one of their earliest hits ‘Tinfoil’ sums up the band well; with its varying intensities and beautiful harmonies, alongside ever-present guitars and rhythm section.

Indeed, a Limblifter concert was the best way to close out the weekend.

Ryan Dahle – lead vocals, guitar
Megan Bradfield – bass, vocals
Gregory Macdonald – keys, guitar, vocals
Eric Breitenbach – drums

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.

Alan Cross has 38542 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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