By Ted Simpson –
Introducing, your musical headliners of the first night of the first ever, Westboro Fuse festival. Coming to you direct from a psychedelic dimension that may, or may not, exist outside of your own time, space or even reality. They are, The PepTides.
Their sound is a mad blend of R&B, jazz, funk, soul and pop hits with a modern electronic edge and delivered with a flair for the dramatic and a sense of impending doom. Their look is a Technicolor 1950’s cocktail party in celebration of a fast approaching apocalypse, as seen through LSD goggles.
All together, The PepTides total nine members, five vocalists and four instrumentalists. After five years together and three albums, they have been universally praised as one of the best live bands that Ottawa has to offer.
Vocalist and band founder, Claude Marouis, gives some insight into the group’s performance mantra: “The songs lend to something more dramatic, I think we have to come up with stuff to do if we’re not instruments,” he says. “And it’s more fun for us to come up with that crazy stuff, and I assume it’s more interesting for the audience too.”
While describing anything about The PepTides in words is a challenge, putting them into a single genre is nearly impossible, and yet it all comes together in the end product.
“Our musical DNA is very diverse, we have a lot of stuff to draw on,” says keyboardist, Scott Irving.
Writing sessions at The PepTides’ camp take on a similar, chaotic yet natural genesis. “It’s like an oral tradition, we sit around in a circle and build the chords, it comes into existence when we sing it and it’s never written down, it’s very much internalized,” explains Scott.
“It’s so organic, when we get the five singers together,” adds Claude.
And they’re bringing all that to the streets of Westboro on a Friday night. It’s not their first time playing the ‘boro, and they’re big fans of the neighbourhood.
“I like the friendly aspect of the whole area,” adds Claude.
Westboro Fuse crowds will be getting a live sampling of The PepTides’ newest recorded material, a six song EP being released this fall. They might even throw out surprise covers of an old favourite or two.
“We love music, and paying tribute to the musicians you love is always fun for us,” says Claude.
The PepTides will be bringing their show to the Fuse Street Party Stage on June 10 outside Avenues Garage near the corner of Richmond Road and Winona Avenue. The madness begins at 8 p.m. Expect to be inundated with colours, funky beats that will drive you to dance and lyrics that delve into love, sex and death all delivered with a level of vocal virtuosity that begs to be seen to be believed.
If by some chance you’re not convinced yet, let Claude sum up: “If you’re gonna have five people up there, they better dance, they better have fun, put them in a costume of some sort, make it cohesive… and show time!”