Ritual Nightclub, Ottawa ON, February 4

SocalledRitual Nightclub, Ottawa ON, February 4
Photo: Calum Slingerland
Only bringing two keyboards, a sampler and a microphone to the stage, Josh Dolgin taught those in attendance at Ritual Nightclub to expect the unexpected and not judge a performer at first glance. What followed from the man better known as Socalled was a set that was nothing short of musical insanity, created by his furious fusion of hip-hop, pop, folk and klezmer music. Jumping between instruments while singing, rapping and even outright yelling, his energy knew no bounds.
Though it took a bit of time for onlookers to figure out what they had gotten themselves into, Socalled encouraged audience participation of the first degree, first getting to know the crowd by taking a trip to the back of the room all while playing a solo piece for accordion. He later enthusiastically asked them to join in on call and response chants, even getting one audience member onstage to rap with him. Looking past his over-the-top stage presence, the man's skill as a musician was a pleasure to hear, demonstrating incredible agility in his keyboard and accordion playing, shifting vocal registers at the drop of a dime and keeping his lyrical delivery as precise as possible during his bursts of instrumental energy. Finishing his tour-de-force some time after midnight, it was hard to believe he had any energy left at all.
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