Pipahauntas St. Alban's Church, Ottawa ON, February 2

Pipahauntas St. Alban's Church, Ottawa ON, February 2
Photo: Ming Wu
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As concertgoers armed with popcorn and beach balls took to their seats in the pews at St. Alban's Church on Tuesday (February 2), relative newcomer Pipahauntas delivered a strong set to start this year's Megaphono fest off right.
 
Vocalist Sam Pippa was backed by a proper DJ, who spun sample-based beats into a glittering web. Pippa makes self-described "bedroom R&B" but for all intents and purposes it seems pretty conventional. That's not a slight — it was refreshing to hear — but there were sound issues that marred the otherwise pleasant performance. Pippa's soft vocals were occasionally lost in the mix, a problem that arose throughout the set but was most evident during their last song, as the backing track — complete with vocals — sounded louder than anything else, tangling itself up in Pippa's live vocals and completely overwhelming whatever the DJ was doing.
 
Still, it was a good set. The songs that worked the strongest were those that most closely aligned with hip-hop and R&B style production, working to ground Pippa's dreamier, expansive vocal performances.