Sound Seekers

SOUND SEEKERS: Where to get down Friday to Sunday — a quick-hit roundup of upcoming O-town action

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani

The Souljazz Orchestra touches down in Ottawa to celebrate their fifth album, "Solidarity." Photo by Alexandre Mattar.

Master the art of disco napping between events as most of these things go late — some go very late. Ottawa’s first Nuit Blanche event goes until 4:23 a.m.! Herewith, a quick-hit roundup of weekend O-town action. Go forth and be artsy!

With the music nerdarazzi. Four of ‘em will be on stage at the Mercury Lounge at 7 p.m. debating the merits of the 10 albums on the Polaris Music Prize shortlist. Expect a bit of boosterism for hometown gal Kathleen Edwards. Her so-called divorce album Voyageur is on the shortlist, along with Cold Specks’ I Predict a Graceful Expulsion and Grimes’ Visions. Speaking of the ladies, it’s about time a woman won the Polaris prize, says one of the panelists. Expect some more polite sparring à la Canada Reads when Guillaume Moffet (Voir/TFO), Alan Neal (CBC), and Ryan Bresee (CKCU) take the stage with moderator Peter Simpson (Ottawa Citizen) and yours truly as host. Admission is free. The 2012 Polaris Prize will be awarded Monday night in Toronto.

Patrick Gordon’s shop on Elm Street is where people go to get their artworks framed, but it’s also a party spot for the city’s art scene who gather there. Peter Simpson’s recent Portraits of Bluesfest charity event was swarming with hipsters and air-kissers drinking sponsor beer and clearing the place of a number of artworks to raise dineros for Blues in the Schools. The place heats up again Friday when the half-dressed will gather to see photos “which bravely explore sexuality and provocation with concealment and exposure,” according to the bumph. The show is called Tease and it’s part of the Festival X programming. There will also be music alongside the fleshy art. Jazz vocalist Renee Yoxon and rock singer Pia Ashley will perform. No cover.

Also: Mystery Machine! Remember them? (Think Vancouver, Sonic Unyon, 1990s….). They’re back on the tour circuit and will play Zaphod’s with Ottawa bands And What Army and The City Above.

Before taking in some of the 120 Nuit Blanche installations and events, you can warm up with shows by two of the city’s premiere soul acts.

Sound of Lions — led by former Ottawa Magazine cover gal Whitney Delion — plays Zaphod Beeblebrox. Their sound recalls Massive Attack, put through a Centretown filter.

Meanwhile, the Souljazz Orchestra touch down in their hometown in celebration of Solidarity, the band’s fifth album. (They’ll be playing Babylon at 10 p.m.) The six-piece maintains an intense European tour schedule that sees them hit France every year, and usually Germany and Italy. They also stopped in Greece and Turkey on their last tour and hope to hit parts of Africa in 2013. The new album is a nice contrast to their 2010 release Rising Sun. That was an all-acoustic afro-jazz album, whereas Solidarity goes for a grittier sound with distorted production and plenty of yearning vocals from Elage M’Baye and Gary “Slim” Moore. The songs touch on the Souljazz crew’s perennial issues: eco-justice and class struggles. But damn, if they don’t make bad times sound boomin’ with their triple-horn blast. Here’s where to get down when you’re down.

Speaking of…. The Besnard Lakes play music that is balm for those who are yearning. The Montreal band does indie rock indulgence well. See them at Mavericks with hometown pop stars The Love Machine.

In bed. Sleeping.