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O Canada: Ohbijou and The Acorn bring a little slice of our neighbor to the north to Bend 

click to enlarge They don't smile much up there in Canada.
  • They don't smile much up there in Canada.
They don't smile much up there in Canada.
Think for a minute. How much do you really know about the Canadian music scene? If you think that you maybe remember hearing that Alanis Morisette was Canadian (and who can forget Snow and "Informer") then probably, like the rest of the world, you overlook Canada's contribution to the music scene. The thing is, you shouldn't. Canada has been pumping out some talented bands for the last century - some of them have made it mainstream (like Great Big Sea and Our Lady Peace) and some of them are just being discovered.

Lucky for you, two Canadian-bred promising and popular acts make their way into Bend for a show that will prove that The Country Above the United States has more talent than just Shania Twain and the Barenaked Ladies ... and Snow.

Canadian indie folk rock and pop sensations Ohbijou and The Acorn have joined forces and are co-headlining a two-month North American tour in celebration of their joint 12" vinyl. This mish-mash of covers and originals features both bands covering each other's songs and appearing as guest artists in each other's songs. So what do Bendites have to look forward to, aside from this being a free show? How about a whole heck of a lot of polished indie folk rock, for starters.

click to enlarge Acorn ain't afraid of no dinosaurs.
  • Acorn ain't afraid of no dinosaurs.
Acorn ain't afraid of no dinosaurs.Ohbijou, a seven-piece band known for its use of a wide variety of musical instruments topped with soft vocals, started as the solo project of Casey Mecija in Brantford, Ontario. According to the band's bio, Casey would show her songs to her younger sister Jennifer, who joined Casey on violin, backup vocals and the organ after Casey had performed a few solo shows. The sisters moved to Toronto and added a bass, banjo, piano/keyboards, drums, trumpet, cello, mandolin and more guitar to their sound and Ohbijou was officially born. The group released Swift Feet for Troubling Times in 2006 and has independently sold over 3,000 records, completed an artist's residency at the Banff Center last February and sold out shows in Toronto since. What makes Ohbijou stand out is its ability to interweave so many instruments and Casey's soft, melodic vocals into a cohesive-sounding unit. The ensemble never overwhelms the listener, the lyrics are smart, heartfelt and relatable and the melodies are catchy, memorable and delicate.

Similarly, The Acorn, out of Ottawa, Ontario, is known for their well-wrought lyrics and soft but addictive products. Lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Rolf Klausener is known for his poetic verses and storytelling ability. The band's first full-length album, Glory Hope Mountain, tells the story of Klausener's Honduran-born mother and her immigration to Canada. The overall sound is a blending of world and folk music into something that's incredibly subdued but still entertaining. Overall, Glory Hope Mountain is pretty darn mellow. Maybe not put-you-to-sleep mellow, but definitely more laid-back than the band's previous EPs.

The combination of Ohbijou and The Acorn works. At some points, it's hard to distinguish where one group ends and the other begins. When Ohbijou covers The Acorn's "Darcy" and when The Acorn covers Ohbijou's "Steep" it sounds like a song that each group would have written for themselves. Maybe it's because their sounds are already somewhat similar, maybe it's because they're both Canadian indie groups or maybe it's just a weird coincidence, but any way you look at it, it seems like these groups were made to co-headline. 

Ohbijou, The Acorn
7pm Saturday, October 18, McMenamins Old St. Francis School, 700 NW Bond St. 382-5174. All ages. Free.


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