Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but not the easiest when it comes to music. Cover Bands are the life of any event or party they are booked for; their musical talents are second only to their ability to read a crowd, match its energy, and adapt. We asked Ottawa who their favourite local cover bands were, and here are some of the top picks.
The Paperboys (Darwin Demers, Kevin Little, Scott Milks and Charles McInnis) are known for their powerful vocal delivery in a varied repertoire of classic and newer rock tunes. Appearing regularly in establishments, corporate and private bookings in and around Ottawa, the band has also recorded and performed with Alanis Morrisette, The Cooper Brothers and Eight Seconds.
New Vintage (Angele Desbois, Tony Vrhovnik, Michael Gauthier, Lucien Picard, Sacha Nagy) is a high energy cover band that takes you on a nostalgic journey with old and modern hits. The band delivers an extensive repertoire spanning many decades and various genres, and are a top choice for any event seeking a nostalgic and engaging musical experience.
Sticks ‘n Stones
The Sticks ‘n Stones Band have been performing to sold out audiences around Eastern Ontario, Canada region for over 25 years, as well as other regions of Canada and international venues. The band consists of 5 males and 2 females, and offer a range of tunes (70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s) catering to any crowd. They’ve opened twice for Canadian hall of famer Tom Cochrane, Nazareth, Trooper, Stampeders, Chilliwack and last year Kim Mitchell, country sensations Tim and the Glory Boys and Tebey. They also had the honour of performing for the Governor of Canada and the JTF2 Military branch at the Canadian War Museum. On July 15th, they will be hosting a large fundraising event on the Rideau River in Kars.
Otis Strange (Dave MacLachlan (Mug) Jonny Olsen (Jonny O) Nelson Hursti (Nelly) and Dave Matsukubo (Kubo)) is an original Canadian Rock band that formed in 1992 in Ottawa. The name derives from a line in Shakespeare’s Hamlet “O’tis strange the night…” The band’s present-day style is an eclectic funky acoustic vibe with a percussive twist, which they define as ‘Urban Roots Rock’.
Formed in 2014 as an excuse to get out of jury duty, The Retrogrades (Mary Gellner, Jon Coote, Dave Milliken, Brady Mofatt) began playing clubs and private events in the Ottawa area, covering your favourite bands of the 80’s and 90’s such as Duran Duran, The Cars, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie, Green Day and Weezer.
Though this dad-rock dance band officially kicked off as a “party band” in October 2019, their origins can be traced back to Cornwall, Ontario, in 1997. The Chesterfields pride themselves in exceptional musicianship, vocals that can make your heart skip a beat, and a song selection that’s like a musical time machine, spanning five glorious decades. Weddings, galas, corporate shindigs, private parties—name it, they’ve got it covered.
The Vandura’s (Jayla Kirkey, Alex Mastronardi, Alex MacFarlane, Scott Reeves, Mitch Mainville) is a 5 piece cover band from Ottawa that performs regularly at Heart & Crown locations as well corporate events and weddings.
The band covers a wide range of genres, from classic rock to pop to country to funk to contemporary, and are known for their energetic stage presence and entertaining live show. All the members are full time musicians and play in several musical outfits in the city, and truly love what they do.
Big Love (Rebecca Noelle, Rob Patterson, Michael Goyette, Jeff Steel, Matt Babineau, Brent Hultquist) brings some really big love to the stage with their wildly energetic performance that pays tribute to the music of Fleetwood Mac. The band does not aim to clone Fleetwood Mac, rather, they dive into the repertoire with precision and explore the essence of what Fleetwood Mac brought to the stage. Big Love takes you to the show that you would expect to experience in Fleetwood Mac’s early years with soaring vocals expertly folded into harmonies and dancing over grooves and melodies that have stayed the test of time.
Formed almost 25 years ago, Ottawa’s Disco Inferno Band Canada is composed of ten highly seasoned musicians who capture the undeniable and contagious sound and rhythm of the 70’s disco era.
The Start (Graeme Weeks, Marianne Dumas, Martin Newman, Nathan Hoedeman, David Little) was formed in 2009 to get people dancing and singing. Playing the classics across all genres and decades, mixed and mashed up into perfect, smooth medleys, the setlists are given a fresh sound that keeps you guessing, and keeps you on the dance floor. As founder Graeme says, “If you’re going to be a cover band, be an original cover band!”. Image credit: Cailie & Shannon Clement
This Ottawa-based five-piece rock band takes you on a musical wave, traversing the realms of the 70s, 80s, Nineties, and Now. They know the musical rules but are bent on busting them to create an unforgettable live music experience. Jill (Keys) blends vocal harmonies with her musical soulmate Dan (strings) while Jeff (drums) and real-life brothers Gene (bass guitar) and Todd (lead guitar) provide a rock-solid backbone. It’s a true family affair!”
Now rocking the capital for 10 years, Sussex is a go-to band in the nation’s capital for amazing vocals, skillful guitar playing, and popular tunes. Their performances are so captivating that they’ll send shivers down your spine. Sussex has graced some of Ottawa’s largest stages, including the Grey Cup in 2017 and TD Place, where they’ve rocked out to the biggest hits from renowned artists like Journey, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, and many more. Be sure to catch Sussex Sept 1st supporting Canadian Icons BIG SUGAR at the Shawville Fair!
The Young Bucks
Getting their start playing small local bars around The Ottawa Valley, The Young Bucks (Randy Frobel, Rory Mayhew, Tim Anderson, Corey Sullivan) have grown into an in-demand band in the Ottawa area and abroad. Their high energy, do-it-yourself approach to Rock and Country music gives them a unique sound most bands spend decades developing. In 2022 the band was
contracted to open for Canadian country music star Jade Eagleson and multiple CCMA nominee Aaron Goodvin, along with a string of performances on the local fair circuit. The band can be spotted at venues like the Heart & Crown pubs, The Pour House and Aulde Dubliner, D’arcy McGee’s Sparks, and at festivals like Ladysmith Oktoberfest.
UNO (Androcles, Greg Szepietowski, Rafael de Los Reyes, Israel Martinez, Juan-Luis Vasquez Ceron, Andrew Ferderber, James Arif, Szymon A. Szańczuk) started back in April 2016 when Androcles (Andro), a singer from Venezuela, decided to make Ottawa his new home. UNO blends the fiery energy of salsa with wicked chords and crazy distorted guitar solos, and they even throw in some classic rock feels while focusing mainly on Latin music. And get this, they can go from something as simple as maracas or bongos all the way to the intricate sounds of pure jazz or disco. The band hosts UNO Rock en Español, a special concert series, a few times a year, and it’s been a game-changer for Latin music in two provinces since it started in 2017.