Sadie Hell / Rich Aucoin / I See Rowboats Café Dekcuf, Ottawa ON March 11

Ah, charm. It’s a hard thing to quantify, but in a show it usually can be found by a sense of wonderment about the music and people in front of you, and for this night, it seemed to be full of charm. I See Rowboats, a five-piece from Halifax, easily threw themselves into their lush soundscapes that, accentuated by cello, violin and saxophone, really filled the room and worked their magic quite well. Crammed onto a tiny stage, the instrumentals were expertly done, but the passion really came when Will Robinson sang to the audience with his impassioned voice. "In Cars” brought the energy up considerably and new song "Sky Builders” left everyone with goosebumps as the band’s three-part harmonies and ghostly ambient accompaniment perfectly matched the cool air seeping through the brickwork. Next, Rich Aucoin brought out his usual Grinch-synced routine that, for never having seen it before, was extremely magical and, of course, charming. But, there’s more to him than that, as I See Rowboats backed him up on some new songs that were a little jammy, but just as orchestral as his current music. Finally, local act Sadie Hell finished the night with their effective mixture of rock, punk and, well, whatever else they were feeling that night. You see, besides lead singer Ben Welland, Sadie Hell is a rotating cast of Ottawa musicians, and each gig has its own flavour. The problem, though, is when you rotate musicians it sometimes gets a little sloppy, but Welland’s considerable charisma on the stage helped us forget. Bearer of a powerful voice and the look of a Maori doing the Haka when he hits those emotional highs, he’s the centre of attention, and, luckily, he wears the mantle well. More smiles than not, a very charming night indeed.