Photos and a review of Talk in Ottawa

[More from photographer Ross MacDonald and reviewer Karen Coughtrey. – AC]

Ottawa’s Bronson Centre was sold out Saturday night (April 20th) for a show featuring two local acts. Both hailing from the Ottawa suburb of Stittsville, Amos the Transparent opened for Talk as he brought his Lord of the Flies & Birds & Bees Tour home.

Amos The Transparent pared themself down to a quartet for this show for maximum rock vibes, opening with ‘Faded Blue Ink’ (a song from lead Jonathan Chandler’s solo project ‘…and the Bandwagoneers’) and ‘Anywhere But Your Side’.

The night’s two groups have a long history and the night was a love fest of sorts as the two clearly have much appreciation for the other. The history goes back a long way with Amos The Transparent guitarist Dan Hay having taught guitar lessons to Talk guitarist Connor Ridell.

Amos the Transparent has done their best to support Talk along the way and they couldn’t be more thrilled to support them by opening a hometown show, and Talk confirmed this during his set when the told the crowd how Amos The Transparent had supported him his whole career and that it was really important to him to have them open this show.

The love and appreciation between the two groups was further demonstrated with Talk guitarist Connor surprising the crowd and joining his former mentor Dan on stage for ‘Sure As The Weather.’

This would not be the only surprise of the evening, and this one was even a surprise to the band: In an unplanned collaboration, Talk, watching from the wings, decided to join Amos The Transparent on stage during their cover of Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’ and in true Talk fashion he appeared wielding a bubble gun.

Amos The Transparent may have been unfamiliar to some in the soldout auditorium but they had the crowd’s attention all the way to when they finished with a new song ‘Best Friends’ and ‘Stale Scent Of Old Beer.’

Talk begins his sets on this tour by playing a recording of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and the resulting crowd sing-along truly is a genius way to warm up a room.

The stage and microphone stands were decked out in vines and with the giant yellow/green Talk emblazoned backdrop it was all giving a jungle forest vibe, and the band appeared in muted sand coloured coveralls with name tags. Talk, like the king he is, entered the stage in bright purple coveralls (a truly regal choice), sporting a crown, and carrying a gold sceptre, and the crowd welcomed the local royal home enthusiastically.

Talk opened with ‘Fall For You’ followed by ‘How Long’ which had the audience singing along on the chorus.

This being a hometown show, Talk had many loved ones in the crowd and he would take a minute to acknowledge many of them. He waved and gestured “I Love You” to his girlfriend as he spoke about writing ‘A Little Bit Happy’ for her and how important she has been for him with her ability to make him have the confidence to believe he belongs in every space he enters.

There was a loud cheer when Talk enquired whether anyone in the audience had grown up with him and he mused that those folk likely knew he would one day be owning the stage. Talk would also take this opportunity to shout out his parents, his earliest supporters, who were also present in the crowd and played for the audience ‘Hollywood’, the first song he wrote for his mom after he left home to go to LA for the first time.

This show would also be the first time his grandmother would have the chance to see him perform ‘Afraid Of The Dark’ live, a song he wrote for her. She was given a standing ovation by the audience after he shared his love for the amazing women she is and explained how they sell bracelets she makes and give all the money back to her.

Talk is very appreciative of everyone who has helped him reach his current heights, not only thanking Amos The Transparent and his family but even publicly thanking his guitar tech.

Although Talk played much of his original music he also treated the crowd to a variety of covers including a mashup of Wolfmother’s ‘Joker & The Thief’, Foo Fighters’ ‘Everlong’, and Jimmy Eat World’s ‘The Middle.’ He would also take to the stage solo for an intimate performance of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’.

Talk has a deep love for his family but he also has a strong love for the province of Quebec and his francophone and Quebecois roots. He spoke about how his career really took off in 2021 after playing Le Festival d’été de Québec (FEQ) in Quebec City. It was the first big moment for him and since then the province has really embraced him, he feels he is now an honorary Quebecer.

Although it is well known that he performs a wicked good version of the fast paced french traditional song ‘Le Ziguezon’ the Ottawa audience will have to wait to see if he’ll play it at Ottawa Bluesfest this summer because it was a cover of Les Trois Accords’ ‘Saskatchewan’ that he treated the many francophones in the crowd to tonight.

After a short break the band reappeared to play a lengthy jam that included the Hockey Night in Canada theme and then Talk would reappear in a #11 Ottawa Senators Alfredsson jersey to perform his mega hit ‘Run Away To Mars’.

The night would end on a comedic and impressive note with Talk declaring that if you know him, you know he likes to do “chaotic shit.” He reminisced about playing guitar hero with his now bandmate Connor Ridell and how much better Connor was at it than him.

“And so I decided tonight that I’d like to do the most insane thing I possibly could to finish off the show and play the hardest song I could ever fucking chose to play.”

It was likely not a surprise that he would choose to challenge Connor with one of the hardest songs (the hardest?) in the aforementioned game Dragon Force’s ‘Through The Fire And Flames’ and he played air guitar along with him on the game’s plastic guitar.

At one point in the night Talk mentioned the waiting list for tickets to this show was 2000+ people long; it is no doubt that the next time Ottawa’s golden boy comes home it will likely be to play a much larger venue, and we can likely expect a huge crowd for his Ottawa Bluesfest performance this coming July.

Talk – vocals
Carter Peak – drums
Waylon Glintz – bass, backing vocals
Connor Ridell – guitar, backing vocals

Amos The Transparent
Jonathan Chandler – vocals, guitar
Dan Hay – guitar, backing vocals
James Nicol – bass guitar, backing vocals
Christopher Wilson – drums, percussion

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 38413 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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