Brad Sucks / Delay the Explosion / Said the Whale / Jordan Patrick Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa ON March 10

This Monday night showed promise with Said the Whale and Brad Sucks, two bands that have gained attention through repeated spins on CBC radio, and transformed the usual "drink-and-a-band” night out into a diminutive event. As Zaphod’s began to uncharacteristically fill up around the eight o’clock mark, Ottawa’s Jordan Patrick discreetly took the stage, played a few absolutely unmemorable and uninspired songs and courteously left. Vancouver’s Said the Whale, on a stopover from their weekend appearance at Canadian Music Week, appeared as a rare four-piece, due to keyboardist Laura Smith’s school related trip home. They broke into quite a lovely set that relied on sharp melodies and a sound that impersonates the Shins just enough to remain enjoyable and not off-putting. The trade-off vocals of dual guitarists Ben Worchester and Tyler Bancroft with the resourceful drumming from Spencer Schoening promptly filled the hole left by Smith’s absence. From Kanata, Delay the Explosion’s front-man and songwriter Ben Ing made an effort to hone his group’s brand of irony-free 21st century grunge with their follow-up set. Within the course of the band’s first track, it became clear that Ing struggles to write the type of mainstream melodies his band try to mimic. The closer of the evening, Ottawa’s Brad Sucks, who recorded one of the most infectious songs of 2007, "Making Me Nervous,” forsook his great four-track electronic sound for a live guitar/bass/drums live set-up. His dependence on traditional instrumentation caused Brad’s sound to change drastically, abandoning his Beck-ish slacker vagabond delivery while draining everything that made his debut album, I Don’t Know What I’m Doing so enjoyable. The anticlimactic end of Brad Suck’s performance capped off a night that stressed the importance of a strong live performance in the post-record store era of independent rock.