There are a lot of differences between Canada and Australia. The list includes deadliest animals, which side of the road to drive on, and which country had a prime minister completely disappear while having a swim one day.
However, if you ask Australian band Oh Pep! what it’s like being back touring in Canada, they don’t see much different.
“We’re in the habit of moving around so much, especially coming to North America, it’s weird that it feels like a coming home feeling — it’s very, very familiar,” said Olivia Hally on being back on this side of the Pacific Ocean. “It’s a weirdly calming feeling, which is a weird thing to say when you’re going on tour.”
Hally is the “Oh” of Oh Pep!, along with bandmate Pepita Emmerichs, who is the titular “Pep.” The duo hails from Melbourne, and are currently in the middle of a tour that will take them all around the world.
They recently put out their debut album Stadium Cake this year, and were already in town touring it during the Vancouver Folk Festival earlier this summer. The fact that Oh Pep! recorded Stadium Cake here in Nova Scotia shows just how comfortable they feel here in Canada. They just finished playing in the United States supporting the Mountain Goats, and are now opening for Polaris shortlist nominee Basia Bulat.
“They’re both really wonderful to tour with,” said Hally. “The Mountain Goats have a very punk attitude and so do their fans, and then it’s more of like an adoration with Basia’s fans.
“They’re all very, very lovely people.”
While they’re just on opening duty right now, it isn’t hard to imagine Hally and Emmerichs securing a headline spot once their names are more recognizable, as the response to Stadium Cake has been very positive.
As the Vancouver Folk Fest said in its write-up on Oh Pep!, “There are great vocals here, stunning harmonies that make you pay attention. There’s also a bit of the off-beat, the singular, reasons why they’re already racking up noms and awards.”
Awards like the Young Folk Performer of the Year at the National Folk Festival in Canberra, which the group won back in 2014.
However, if you ask Oh Pep! what they would highlight about themselves or the tour when given the chance, they are quick to share the praise.
Asked if there was anything she wanted to share specifically, Hally said, “Our album is out, and we think Basia is great.”
When they were here in the summer, fans were treated to the group as a trio, as a drummer accompanied the women. However, it will just be Hally — who sings and plays guitar — and Emmerichs — who plays the violin and mandolin — on this leg of their tour.
Afterwards, it’ll be back to the US for a show, before travelling all across Europe before heading home for New Year’s Eve.
Fans and Vancouverites who want to catch Oh Pep! (and stay for the great Basia Bulat) will have their chance October 12 at the Vogue Theatre. Tickets are only $20, and are available for purchase via Ticketfly.