Words by Nilabjo Banerjee / Photos by Tiana Feng Ottawa’s Kelp Records celebrated its 20th birthday Thursday night at the Horseshoe. Short sets courtesy of artists on the indie label were the entertainment for the evening. There was no cake, sadly. Glengarry’s own Chris Page, armed with an electric-acoustic, has a seasoned resonating voice that was a good compliment to his slick guitar play. The energetic set closer had more of a punk-rock feel, perhaps an homage to his punk roots as member of The Stand GT. The song drew a more rowdy applause from the crowd that was filling in the venue gradually. A Date With A Smoke Machine by Chris Page — Starting out solo, and then bringing out the impromptu backup trio (comically named Cat vs Baby), Vincent sang songs about driving around in scenic Ontario and going out to have a good time. The recovery from the miscues playing the song was endearing, and added to the jovial nature of the evening: it wasn’t a concert; it was a birthday party. Some Songs (1998-2011) by A Free Andrew Vincent Sampler! — By the time Andy Shauf began his set, the area around the stage was filling up, setting up for a cozy set from the Regina-based singer/songwriter. Shauf forgot the words to the middle verse to the first song. “It sucks even more, because the song is a story”, drawing laughs from the crowd. The complex fingerpicking and a calming voice made for a pleasant listen. The affable sarcasm was an endearing contrast to his sheepish demeanour. I love this man! The Bearer of Bad News by Andy Shauf — Andy Swan, played through his short & melodic alt-rock numbers. His songs would make for a pleasant soundtrack while driving to Ottawa, Swan’s current hometown. His animated back up band kept the energy level up relative to a subdued Swan. Lou Reed by Andy Swan — Jim Bryson (Kathleen Edwards, The Weakerthans) is one of the better storytellers, whether it is through the songs or his engaging banter on stage. One of Canada’s most underrated singer/songwriter, Bryson played more of the ‘conservationist/environmentalist’ portion of his discography, and threw in some jokes for good measure. Whether you like his songs or not, you are bound to be entertained when Bryson graces the stage. Instant Holiday Album by Jim Bryson — “Haven’t played a show in a while, so might be out of shape”, confessed Jonas Bonnetta of Evening Hymns. He was in the usual form by setting up intricate loops and being his brilliantly awkward self. With help in bass from his back up band GG (Gavin Gardiner) & BB, Bonnetta previewed newer material (“Walk Again”, “Evil Forces”) before closing the set with an oldie “Asleep In the Pews”. Spectral Dusk by Evening Hymns — Playing their first Toronto show in 3 years, Rolf Klausener and co reminded us why we fell in love with The Acorn by playing the hits.. Maybe you loved the looping harmonies in ‘Darcy’ or the love ballad ‘Misplaced’. Either way, the consensus remains that The Acorn are criminally underrated. At least, we can be grateful to Kelp for giving the space to such glorious talent. Cheers to 20 more! Unfortunately both Tiana and I had to leave before Rhume’s set but we heard great things!