Hearts & Mines are Back on the Scene

April 15th, 2014 by  |  Published in Concerts

Hearts and Mines

Hearts & Mines returned to the stage at Rainbow Bistro on Saturday night, after an extended break from the Ottawa live music scene. Blues-rock two-piece Bearshark and acoustic reggae-rock solo act Ty Hall were on hand to open.

Ty Hall and Hearts & Mines are both former Live 88.5 Big Money Shot development winners, and Bearshark has gained a decent following in their first three years as a band. With all three bands drawing a crowd of their own (that often overlapped), the Rainbow filled up quickly.

A late addition to the lineup, Ty Hall opened the show. He utilizes pleasantly familiar chord structures and old-school influences in a marriage of reggae and modern acoustic-rock sounds. A naturally gifted entertainer, Hall seems at home on the stage, engaging the crowd with his fun personality. He was the perfect open—he got everybody involved and out of their seats.

Bearshark was an unexpected treat. I’d never heard of them, but after a few songs, I was scratching my head about that. Bearshark is a very tight two-piece blue-rock outfit, and although nobody else is mentioning it in their online profiles, I would venture that there is an element of desert-rock in their sound.

Unless I imagined it, they had a long set for a penultimate band. It was a welcome change. Frontman Jeff Coghill has a classic blues voice, but with an urgent, youthful energy that many blues bands lack. Bearshark is a lot of fun, and I’ll watch for them in the future.

I had the chance to talk to Matt and Rob from Hearts & Mines before the show. They’re nice guys, and both of them talked about how much they loved Rainbow Bistro. The Rainbow loves them back—the crowd showed their appreciation in decibels when the band picked up their instruments.

Although they credit influences like Nirvana and Foo Fighters, their music reminded me of Canadian alternative bands like Our Lady Peace and I Mother Earth, with a bit more speed. At times, their power-chord song structure also reminded me of emo-rock outfits like Jimmy Eat World.

In any case, they like to play pop-rock chord structures with fast tempos, an extremely catchy combination that makes their dark and political lyrics universally palatable. There are complex emotions and substantial lyricism here—don’t let the catchy melody fool you.

Add a few more bands to my recent string of good luck. Every time I’ve gotten out to the rock bars lately, Ottawa has rewarded me with a deep pool of talented, weathered musicians.

Turn it up.

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