Musk Ox – Woodfall release show in Ottawa, June 6, 2014

Musk Ox Woodfall album release
Mercury Lounge, Ottawa ON
June 6th, 2014

Enchanting Ottawa – the setting was perfect for the release of Musk Ox‘s epic Woodfall.  The neo-classical trio may not seem initially to fit in with the usual suspects of the metal world, but nonetheless they delivered a powerful punch to a packed house at the Mercury Lounge, led by Nathanaël Larochette‘s acoustic guitar in an uninterrupted performance and accompanied by the incomparable Raphael Weinroth-Browne on the cello and Evan Runge rounding things out on the violin.

I was hard pressed to pull myself away from the sheer emotionality of the performance from the moment it began.  Dedicating the evening to the memory of the sorely missed Adrian Bromley (founder of Unrestrained!) and David Gold (Woods of Ypres), Nathanaël expressed his passion and sincerity, which first came through in his voice and then only grew stronger the moment his fingers touched the strings.

I’ve always enjoyed watching Nathanaël play; something about his presence on stage is immensely calming.  As his guitar formed an almost percussive background, Raphael’s cello sang out a compelling melody.  It was great to get to hear the entire album live in such a small venue.  With each new passage the energy in the crowd was re-focused, whether it was through a mellow and subtle relaxation or an intense crescendo.  Grabbing a copy of the CD on our way out, my partner and I proceeded to play it through at least three times on the drive home to Toronto.  Since then it’s been on constant rotation, and I can’t stop my memory from revisiting what was a truly unique live experience every time.