The Acorn / Timber (The New Gentleman's Shuffle) Babylon, Ottawa ON - March 1, 2006

The geographic closeness of Ottawa to Montreal is such that you'd think it wouldn't be too much trouble for Montreal's Timber (the New Gentleman's Shuffle) to make a jaunt over. Since it apparently is, this show was highly anticipated, as their recent album is absolutely heart melting. Ever so delicate and subtle, with the perfect banjo wisps complementing the Neko Case strength of Katie Moore's voice, the opening chords of "Bloodhound" beckoned people to get in close. Not too close, though, as the guitars were definitely plugged in, thus giving a few rousing guitar solos in some energetic reinterpretations of songs off their album. Although somewhat disappointing in the lack of intimacy, they did not hit one false note in a thoroughly satisfying performance. Of course, they were just openers to Ottawa's best local pop smiths, the Acorn. Rolf Klausener and company might have been playing to the converted, but they didn't show it. Using every devastating hook and ounce of melody that made their recent EP, Blankets!, such an incredible listen, the Acorn delight those who like their indie rock catchy. The only complaint, and it's minor, was that there was a change in energy every time Klausener finished a rousing song, standing, to then sit down. Your dogs must be barking after standing for most of the night, but the songs the Acorn excel at are not ones that make their best impression in a coffee house atmosphere. Indeed, when they stood up for their EP's title track, all seemed right with the world. The catchy chorus and infectious melody filled the space and made for not only the highlight of the Acorn's set but of the entire evening. I'd like to think it was purposeful, but, really, I don't think anyone could stay seated to that mighty slice of pop perfection.