The Acorn / Missing Children Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa ON March 11

In 2006, the Acorn resolutely supplanted themselves as one of Ottawa’s brightest bands; receiving a great deal of love from the local media, a record deal with Paper Bag Records and flattering reviews for their December released EP, Tin Fist. It seems fitting that the band would decide to kick off an ambitious cross-Canada tour with a scaled-up home show, serving as a benefit for University of Ottawa station CHUO 89.1 FM (which employs vocalist/guitarist Rolf Klausener) and as a thank you to the city that has supported them. Montreal two-piece Missing Children provided the opening entertainment, displaying an aptitude to intermingle British dream pop and American freak-folk with a style that can only be described as "timid-core.” Playing only their second show, the duo contemplatively delivered the manifesto of a promising group supplemented by resourceful songwriting and instrumentation. The uneasiness of Missing Children’s performance greatly contrasted that of the Acorn’s, which would prove to be a lesson in on-stage confidence and charm. Paul Kearns and Jake Bryce joined the nominal five-piece on dual percussion (the latter of local heroes Fiftymen and regular Acorn contributor) giving those very familiar with the Acorn’s music an inimitable new sound. Klausener provided the breadth of the night’s entertainment with a sample of his increasingly crafted songwriting — mostly noticeable on songs written for their upcoming LP — with witty in-between song banter as well. The light atmosphere of the night was supported by keyboardist Keiko Devaux’s humorous coaching of Kearns, who had not heard most of the band’s songs before the performance. Guitarist Howie Tsui’s guitar often outpaced Klausener and Jeff Debutte’s folk-based style, and their overtly comfortable stance trumped the music’s natural propinquity. For those who were in attendance though, there was a feeling that we were experiencing a band destined to become Ottawa’s finest export.