By David Sklubal
Every Thursday night from 10-11 p.m. on CKCU 93.1 FM, Ottawa Live Music features the newest sounds in the Ottawa scene. Hosted by Charles Anthony for over 12 years, the show continues to be at the forefront of Ottawa’s musical exploration, showcasing live acts from across the nation’s capital.
Live music is the lifeblood of any music scene, and Ottawa’s Blve Hill truly embodies what it means to be a live band. Combining the ferocious presence of an early Red Hot Chili Peppers with a more modern psychedelic feel, the band continues to stride forward in both sound and performance.
From their recorded tracks, you may not discern that they are, in fact, an energy-fuelled act, ready to unleash an array of killer choruses and spaced out jams. According to lead singer/songwriter Cody Parnell, breaking this assumption with new music and more shows is the next goal of the band.
“I think people totally expect it to be a little laid back and a little loose. Because of that people come up to us after shows all the time, and they are like ‘Holy shit where did that come from?’ and I have to say yeah I guess you’re familiar with all this old music, which makes me want to put out the new stuff even more,” he said.
This new-found energy takes old songs like “Cool Girl,” a sun soaked washy tune about your favourite lady, and turns them into full on live anthems. For Parnell, the change of pace was the result of his openness towards the music.
“I’m not super strict and be like, ‘I want it to be this or make it sound like the album.’ Whatever happens, happens—and I would much rather have a high-energy show. “Cool Girl” is one of my favourite songs to play live cause it’s just like a punch in the face,” Parnell said.
The natural progression of both the live show and new music also reflects some personal changes for Parnell.
“There has been some stuff in my life recently that has sadly brought out a little anger in myself but it’s okay because I think I have found another voice of mine,” he said. “It feels good to yell a bit on stage too. I’m never going to fib about anything I write, like there is nothing I write that’s a joke or doesn’t mean anything to me. This new record means a lot to me more so than the other releases, so it’s going to be cool. I just can’t wait for people to hear it.”
Catch Blve Hills live on CKCU 93.1 FM for Ottawa Live Music February 16 and headlining Live on Elgin February 17 for a MusiCounts charity fundraiser. •