Basia Bulat with Oh Pep! review

There’s something about Knox United Church as a music venue that is absolutely magical. The acoustics of the church add to the sound of certain musicians who play there; Oh Pep! and Basia Bulat are two of those musicians.

Vamp had the pleasure of meeting Oh Pep! at Calgary Folk Music Festival this summer, and interviewed them for a previous story. Part of the reason we attended this show was because our friends at CFMF brought Oh Pep! back to Calgary with Basia Bulat and we couldn’t resist seeing the duo again.

Oh Pep! never ceases to amaze the audience. Since Folk Fest, I’ve definitely invested some time listening to Stadium Cake, which is a beautiful and detailed album that has gained a lot of international attention. The Australian pair played some of my favourites of the album, including “Bushwick” and “Tea, Milk and Honey”, both gorgeous tracks. Have you ever heard a mandolin ring out in a church? It’s an absolutely enchanting sound. We also got to chat with them afterward, and despite their quick growth, they come across very grounded, even remembering us from our interview in July.

Basia Bulat, however, though I was less familiar with her, I was pleasantly surprised. Bulat has excellent stage presence, making her shows even more enjoyable. Only briefly listening to her music prior to the show, the general feel of her newest album from conversations I picked up on was “the happiest break-up album ever”. The show truly emulated this tone, playing solo songs with an autoharp and a chillingly powerful voice to being backed by a band with a lot of energy. The vibe on stage, especially for the final songs, was upbeat and kept the crowd awake even after a long day. A well-deserved encore ended the show, with a fan favourite from 2013, “Tall Tall Shadow”. Bulat was very humble on stage, making sure to thank everyone for coming out and telling us how appreciative she was that she got to play shows as her job. There’s nothing I love more than being introduced to some peppy folk music on a Saturday night.