Photo: Good Noise

I’m officially hung over. I don’t know if it was the beer or the round of shots I was coerced into, but I’m sluggish, lethargic, depleted, dazed, headache-y. But damn, that was another fun night.  I didn’t get there until nine, so I missed a whole bunch of cool events and music. I have heard the buzz around First Winter, and was hoping to see him perform, so I’ll have to put him on my to-see list in 2017.  But I did get to hear L Con and Woodshed Orchestra, who both played to a sell-out crowd.

I arrived with a few skinny bitches (sorry, that’s just what they were drinking – I found out last night a vodka and water is referred to as a ‘skinny bitch’). They might be feeling alright today, because one of the reasons to drink it is to get drunk AND hydrated.  Mental note to hungover self: start drinking skinny bitches

I also missed a cool performance by a percussion duo at Tone Studios, so here’s a little taste of Taktus.  (Clip care of Jade McMeekin)


When L Con took the stage shortly after nine, I recognized the lead singer as a woman who had recently served me at my favourite restaurant in Owen Sound. That’s because Lisa Conway works at the Mexican restaurant, Casero’s when she’s not creating music that’s a nice cross between Portishead and Feist. She also reminded me a lot of an act that Richardson booked for the very first Lupercalia years ago called Esther Grey (I have cassette tape of hers that I still listen to frequently).  L Con used two guitar players, a bassist and some keyboards/synthesizers for the live show. The beat is provided by a drum loop.

Photo: Good Noise

Lisa Conway has a beautiful voice and an unassuming presence. She didn’t say much between songs, but did make it clear at one point that “Mostly we’re just looking for friends here so talk to us after”. I think she came to right place. The Lupercalia crowd is a friendly one. I have been listening to her album Moon Milk all day, and if you haven’t had a chance to check her stuff out, I highly recommend The Distance of the Moon as an nice gateway song.

I could have listened to L Con for another hour, but my lament was soon replaced with anticipation when I saw the next band setting up. When someone brought out what I thought was a tuba, but later instructed was actually a sousaphone (named after John Philip Sousa, the ‘March King’ – thanks to Emily Edington for the research on that one), I knew we were in for some big band fun.  There were horns a-plenty when The Woodshed Orchestra took control of the night and, of course, the dance floor.

Photo: Good Noise

The band was led by a charismatic Levon Helm type, who actually even dedicated a song Levon at one point (I was told this since I was in the washroom at the time and hate missing tributes to any members of The Band because I love them all so goddam much).  His drum set was set out near the front of the stage, so he could communicate clearly, sing his heart out and throw his hands in the air at times.

Photo: Good Noise

So, while L Con had no drummer, Woodshed wouldn’t be Woodshed without theirs. On behalf of the band, he promised “We’re gonna play for you every little bit of our hearts.” I hope they kept enough after their two hour set to give heart to a few well-deserved pints.  I didn’t see them at the after party, which I did finally attend last night. Maybe it’s why I’m so tired today. But you know what’s great for quiet, recovery days – L Con’s Moon Milk.

Well, that’s Lupercalia for another year. Hope to see everyone again next February. Already looking forward to the next lineup Josh Richardson puts together in what is slowly becoming an cultural institution in Owen Sound. He definitely put together a solid two-days of diverse music from around Ontario including some great local talents. I’ve got so much new music to carry me through the rest of winter (even if it feels eerily like spring today).


Written by Jesse Wilkinson