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10 Live Performances to Check Out This December in Ottawa’s Original Downtown 

December 5, 2023

There’s always a lot on everybody’s plate whenever the holiday season rolls around, both literally and figuratively! Literally, the citizens of Ottawa’s Original Downtown are gearing up for their delicious holiday dinners, many of which are being provided by Chef Ric and The Ottawa Mission (read our latest blog about them here!) while figuratively, there’s plenty of shopping to get done at the CF Rideau Centre and holiday programming to enjoy, like performances of The Nutcracker at the National Arts Centre. 

If you manage to find a break in between all the holiday hi-jinks and merriment, be sure to fill it with a visit to one of the many music venues along Rideau Street to catch a live performance! With holiday-themed shows to stoke your Christmas spirit as well as general shows that offer more of a change of pace, there’s no shortage of reasons to stop in at any of these ten concerts that are taking place this month in Ottawa’s Original Downtown! 

Root Cause, Guest Room Status, Heavy Sweater, Backseat Dragon 

You might remember Guest Room Status from their appearance at Club SAW last October, when they put on a Halloween-themed concert party with attendees dressing up in costumes. This month, they’re back with fellow Ottawa natives Root Cause and Backseat Dragon as well as Toronto’s own Heavy Sweater! This show will be celebrating the recent release of Root Cause’s recent EP and is certain to be a celebration of all things reminiscent of early 2000s emo pop punk music. If that style of music is up your alley, this is a show you can’t afford to miss! 

📅 December 2 

⏰ 7:00 p.m. 

📍 Club SAW 

🎟️ Tickets 

Root Cause has asserted their position as “Ottawa’s premier punk band.” (Image: Root Cause) 

Damien Robitaille 

Pour ceux qui veulent ressentir l’esprit de Noël, il faut absolument aller voir Damien Robitaille et son performance au Théâtre Babs Asper chez le Centre national des arts pendant le mois de décembre ! Damien est un artiste francophone primé qui a connu du grand succès ces dernières années sur les médias sociaux, où il fait plus de 300 spectacles composés d’interprétations de chansons populaires chaque année. Ici, il présente son nouveau spectacle « Bientôt ce sera Noël, » qui vous donnera l’impression d’être au milieu d’un vrai « winter wonderland ! » 

📅 6 décembre 

⏰ 19h30 

📍 Théâtre Babs Asper, Centre national des arts 

🎟️ Billets 

Les talents de Damien Robitaille provoqueront l’esprit de Noël chez n’importe quelqu’un. (Image: Felix Renaud) 

GOAT!, Matt Luloff, Oddeline 

You can always count on Ottawa’s favourite Eastern European locale to deliver the goods when it comes to showcasing local talent, and this show is no exception! Local punk rock veteran Mike Mitani will be playing alongside his bandmates as GOAT!, delivering a set of loud and fast garage punk that’s sure to wake the neighbours. Joining them will be fellow local acts Oddeline and Matt Luloff, the latter of whom also happens to be City Councillor for Orléans East-Cumberland Ward here in Ottawa. All proceeds from the show will be going towards the Ottawa Humane Society, so you can help make a difference in the community while enjoying a night of great music! 

📅 December 8 

⏰ 8:00 p.m. 

📍 Avant-Garde Bar 

🎟️ Tickets

GOAT! have long been staples of the Ottawa punk scene, with frontman Mike Mitani having had a presence for 25 years. (Image: GOAT!) 

The Brokes 

Everyone’s favourite mid-2000s indie rock outfit will be making an appearance in the ByWard Market this month…in spirit, at least! Since their formation last year, Toronto’s The Brokes have been committed to celebrating the prolific works of legendary indie band The Strokes. Armed with an extensive repertoire of songs spanning every major release the band has put out in decades past, The Brokes always deliver a performance that evokes every aspect of the spirit of the band to which they pay tribute. If you’re looking for a high-energy concert in the Market and end up asking yourself “is this it?”, then don’t be taken for a fool because the answer is almost certainly “yes!” 

📅 December 9 

⏰ 8:00 p.m. 

📍 27 Club 

🎟️ Tickets 

Fans of The Strokes are in for a treat with this tribute act’s high energy interpretations of their work. (Image: The Brokes) 

MONOWHALES, Rebelle 

Here’s your chance to catch of Canada’s fastest-growing alternative music acts! Having been a band for over six years now, MONOWHALES rocketed to stardom with the release of their single “RWLYD (Really Wanna Let You Down)” in 2019, which hit the #2 spot on the Canada Alternative Rock Chart and made them the only self-managed, unsigned band to accomplish such a feat. They would later follow this up by winning the 2022 Juno Award for Breakthrough Group of the Year. Flanked by their indie rock peers, Wakefield’s own Rebelle, this concert constitutes a can’t-miss opportunity to see some of the finest indie rock acts that Canada has to offer right now. 

📅 December 15 

⏰ 8:00 p.m. 

📍 Club SAW 

🎟️ Tickets 

MONOWHALES are one of the fastest-rising stars in Canada’s indie music scene. (Image: MONOWHALES) 

Sharlee, Zen Station 

Café Dekcuf will be hosting two local bands this month that are certain to keep you dancing throughout the night! Sharlee is an Ottawa-based singer-songwriter that has steadily been growing her audience in and around the Ottawa area for a while now, particularly with the release of her EP “Uneasy” earlier this year. She’ll be accompanied by Zen Station, another local outfit that will be playing a selection of original tunes and early 2000s pop rock hits. Check them out and get a taste of what the local music scene in the Nation’s Capital has to offer! 

📅 December 15 

⏰ 8:00 p.m. 

📍 Café Dekcuf 

🎟️ Tickets 

Sharlee released her debut EP “Uneasy” earlier this year and hasn’t looked back since. (Image: Sharlee) 

Céleste Lévis 

Y a-t-il quelqu’un d’autre qui a besoin d’un peu d’aide pour ressentir l’esprit de la saison ? Si oui, vous êtes assez chanceux d’avoir l’opportunité de voir Céleste Lévis quand elle joue à le Centre national des arts ! Cette chanteuse francophone a remporté de nombreux prix au cours de sa carrière musicale, qui a débuté avec la sortie de son premier album en 2015. Depuis, elle a fait plusieurs tournées à travers le Canada et gagné le respect et l’admiration de ses pairs partout où elle passe. Le 16 décembre, elle se produira à la Quatrième salle et chantera des pièces originales de son album de Noël ainsi que des hymnes classiques de la saison. C’est l’événement idéal pour les personnes qui ont la « fièvre de Noël ! » 

📅 18 décembre 

⏰ 20h30 

📍 Quatrième salle, Centre national des arts 

🎟️ Billets 

Le talent de Celeste Levis lui a valu de nombreuses récompenses à travers le Canada. (Image: Céleste Lévis) 

4DAYWKND, Blank Notion 

For another heaping helping of outstanding local talent, treat yourself to a show at the legendary Rainbow Bistro on Murray Street and see 4DAYWKND and Blank Notion bring the house down! Both of these local bands have made an impressive name for themselves by playing high-energy alt-rock for anyone who will listen. 4DAYWKND advertise themselves as having a “stylistically unique” approach to making and performing music. Find out just how unique they are by grabbing yourself a ticket to this show today! 

📅 December 22 

⏰ 8:00 p.m. 

📍 Rainbow Bistro 

🎟️ More Info 

Taken from their web page, “the members of 4DAYWKND have been singing, performing, and playing in sync as if they’d been together their entire musical careers.” (Image: 4DAYWKND) 

Kellylee Evans 

Kellylee Evans’ appearance at the National Arts Centre’s Babs Asper Theatre is a date that jazz and R&B lovers simply must mark on their calendars. Since exiting the pandemic, Kellylee has pursued her musical interests with a renewed passion and determination for making music that connects with people on matters of mental health, isolation and more. In doing so, she has received overwhelming praise for her efforts including a Juno award for her tribute to the legendary Nina Simone. Experience the power of Kellylee’s voice for yourself when she takes to the stage at the NAC this month and performs a mix of holiday classics and original pieces. 

📅 December 23 

⏰ 7:30 p.m. 

📍 Babs Asper Theatre, National Arts Centre 

🎟️ Tickets 

The Latin Jazz Network describes Kellylee Evans as having a “gorgeous voice [that] rises to the heavens in rapturous wonder.” (Image: Kellylee Evans) 

Mecca of Stank, NitroTurtle 

Lastly, improvisational jazz and funk is always an incredible spectacle to behold, and hardly anyone in the Ottawa does it better than Mecca of Stank! This band consists of a conglomerate of highly-skilled jazz musicians brought together by frontman Mark Leo for the purpose of “playing extended interpretive jams to induce musical euphoria (i.e. the stank face)” in audiences. Since then, they’ve been nominated for awards by OMIC and have performed at Canadian Music Week in Toronto. Joining them will be local funk, hip-hop and jazz band NitroTurtle, making this the funkiest way to spend the last few days of 2023! 

📅 December 30 

⏰ 8:00 p.m. 

📍 Rainbow Bistro 

🎟️ Tickets 

“Stank face” is the facial expression associated with musical euphoria, and Mecca of Stank are able to provoke this reaction in their audiences without fail. (Image: Mecca of Stank) 

Worried about where you are going to park? Click here for a handy tool to find all the parking options and rates in the downtown!

Be sure to also visit our Events page to keep on top of everything going on this month in Ottawa’s Original Downtown!