Operators / Legal Vertigo Club Saw, Ottawa ON, October 4

Operators / Legal Vertigo Club Saw, Ottawa ON, October 4
Photo: Ming Wu
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As bandleader of Operators and co-songwriter in Wolf Parade, Dan Boeckner has toured non-stop over the last half-decade, playing at least one show in Ottawa every year since 2015. Bringing his Operators to the tiny, but stylish, Club Saw for a Friday night performance, the BC native showed the nation's capital that he's not ready to slow down.
 
In the midst of a three-night stint with Operators, Montreal musician Legal Vertigo opened the evening's festivities. Newly signed to Dine Alone Records, the artist formerly known as Napster Vertigo and his six-piece backing band delivered a crowd-pleasing set that was equal parts humorous, absorbing and shambolic — thanks to his acerbic stage presence and his group's motley collection of musical styles.
 
After a slight delay due to some near-catastrophic technical issues, Operators hit the tight Club Saw stage looking grateful and joyous. Opening with "Days," the lead single from their 2019 sophomore release, Radiant Dawn, the trio immediately set the mood for the evening, keeping the venue lights low while relying on the backdrop video projections to illuminate their jerking bodies.
 
Playing a set that focused almost exclusively on material from their latest LP, Boeckner, keyboardist Devojka and drummer Sam Brown kept the energy high from moment one, driving the dancing crowd into a frenzy with an extended version of "I Feel Emotion" along with a rapturously-received rendition of Handsome Furs' "Memories of the Future," from the band's 2011 swansong Sound Kapital. Moving through newer tracks like "Despair", "Come and See" and "Low Life," Boeckner and Devojka made great use of the tight quarters, flailing around while keeping the onstage sound extremely tight and forward moving — even while the duo converged mid-stage for an impromptu dance-off during show closer "Faithless."
 
Returning for a lively three-song encore that featured "Cold Light," from 2016's Blue Wave and two Handsome Furs songs, "Bury Me Standing" and "I'm Confused," the three-piece showed the crowd that the secret to their energetic live show lies in how utterly infatuated and passionate they seem to be with their own material, making it simple for the raucous Ottawa crowd to join in on Operators' non-stop lovefest.