Chad VanGaalen

Arts Court, Ottawa ON, August 23

Chad VanGaalenArts Court, Ottawa ON, August 23
Photo: Kamara Morozuk
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Chad VanGaalen's headless Steinberger electric guitar easily ranks as the strangest instrument that was seen onstage throughout the entire Arboretum Festival. In what was a relatively laid-back, intimate set, the Calgary native and his two bandmates took the audience on a trip just as unique as the instrument he was commanding the audience's attention with.

After beginning his set with a noisy few moments of guitar feedback, VanGaalen pulled out a selection of tracks from his back catalogue and this year's Polaris Music Prize long list pick Shrink Dust, featuring the gentle and unsettling duality of "Cut Off My Hands" and a stripped down, harmonica-accompanied version of "Hangman's Son." Special guest Julie Fader, also known for her work with Sarah Harmer and Great Lake Swimmers, joined him for a duet on the quaint "City of Electric Light" and a few other tracks as a special treat nearer to the end of the set, a nice soundtrack to these final days of summer.

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