By: Steve Dool
Before the USS show started the bouncers went around reminding everyone not to crowd surf. Apparently Human Kebob didn’t get the message because before the end of the second song he was airborne.
USS – short for Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker– brought their own type of entertainment to the Observatory in September. The two-man band is made up by Ash Boshultz on acoustic guitar and vocals and Jason ‘Human Kebob’ Parsons acting as DJ, hype-man and crowd surfer.
Parsons said they first started making music in 2005 and at the time Boshultz was living in his parents’ basement. “There were four or five months of me just eating food out of his parents’ fridge,” said Boshultz.
By the time USS took the stage the crowd had been chanting “U-S-S, U-S-S, U-S-S” for 10 minutes prior to the start of the show. The energy the band brings to the stage could be felt throughout the crowd and when the first song was over it seemed like a sweat box in the Observatory. The band managed to play all six of their radio singles and gave shout outs to Ottawa’s Live88.5 and Algonquin radio broadcasting graduate Chelsea Miller.
“This song is about elephants and elephants can’t jump but you can,” said Human Kebob, as he introduced their latest single Damini.
Damini is based on the true story of Damini and Champakali– two Indian elephants. Damini was an older elephant that had been rescued from her owners and sent to live at the Prince of Wales zoo.
Champakali was a working elephant sent to the zoo on maternity leave so she could safely give birth. The two bonded almost instantly with Damini taking on the role of midwife and surrogate mother for Champakali. Elephants sometimes give birth standing up so another elephant will lay out their trunk to act as a cushion for the baby.
Champakali died giving birth to a still born in April 1999. From then on Damini refused to eat or drink. Eventually she collapsed in her enclosure and veterinarians tried to save her but couldn’t and she died of starvation 24 days after Champakali.
“That was basically just the saddest story of all time as far as I was concerned and just the parallel that everyone has felt that before,” said Boshultz.
When the band finished their last song, fans continued to chant “U-S-S” until they returned for an encore. During the encore they played some of their lesser known songs including Drop around the Clock and Pornostartrek, before finishing off the night with a cover of Hakuna Matata. Second-year game development student Byron Mayne was kicked out for aggressive dancing but says he still enjoyed the show. “It was one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen,” said Mayne.