Prism / Gamut @ Brass Monkey

Arts Coverage

Prism rocked Ottawa’s Brass Monkey Thursday night.

The Vancouver rockers took the stage with their sci-fi inspired hit, “Spaceship Superstar.” With space-y keyboards, seventies-style guitar and drum solos, and occasional use of a talk box, the band struck a balance between prog and rock-n-roll on songs like “Comin’ Home” and “Mirror Man.”

Other highlights included love song “Virginia” and timeless eighties anthem “Young and Restless.”

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Singer-guitarist Allen Harlow was an energetic and engaging frontman, grinning ear to ear as he cavorted around the stage, often hopping into the crowd during guitar solos. He frequently paused to reminisce about the band’s early days, with stories about getting their first record deal and hanging out with a young Rod Stewart in British Columbia.

He also reflected on finding out that “Spaceship Superstar” had been played on the Space Shuttle Discovery; when he called founding member Jim Vallance with the news, Vallance quipped, “I guess we finally made the charts on Mars!”

He dedicated proggy deep cut “Open Soul Surgery” to Vallance, explaining that it was one of the first tracks the acclaimed songwriter ever wrote for the band, and the one that won them their first recording contract.

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He later paid tribute to late lead singer Ron Tabak with the power ballad “Take Me Away.”

“I wrote this for his voice,” Harlow said, reflecting on the melancholy experience of taking over as sole vocalist after Tabak’s death.

They closed the show with “Armageddon,” before returning to the stage for an enthusiastic encore of “Take Me to the Kaptin,” perhaps the catchiest apocalypse song ever written.


Opening Act: Gamut

Local foursome Gamut warmed up the crowd with a set of covers that ran the gamut (sorry, couldn’t resist) from Tom Petty to Alice Cooper to The Tragically Hip.

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