“Multi-award-losing” Band Announces Canadian Tour

How’s that for a title? Is it “clickbaity” enough?

No, that’s not what I call them, I swear. I’m not trying to put this band down. That’s what you’ll see if you look for Vancouver indie rock band The Zolas on Spotify and scroll down to their biography.

Alright, alright, enough with all this negativity. Let’s look at the positives: The Zolas are announcing a Canadian tour this year, which includes 2 stops in Vancouver and Victoria at the tail end.

The band’s Come Back to Life Tour is their first set of live shows since the pandemic set in. The tour starts November 4 in Montreal and wraps up at the end of the month, with shows on Friday, November 26 at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver and Saturday, November 27 at Victoria’s Capitol Ballroom. This nationwide trip comes after the release of the band’s most recent album in June, which shares the same name as the tour.

Come Back to Life is The Zolas’ fourth studio album. Prior to the album’s full release, the band posted both lyric videos and acoustic versions for “Energy Czar”, “Ultramarine”, and the title track. The music video for the album’s second track, “Yung DiCaprio” led to a multi-cruiser police incident because someone called 911 about a possible kidnapping, according to singer and guitarist Zachary Gray. Seeing some guy tied up to the back of a tow truck while it is driving at high speed in the middle of the night doesn’t really sound the safest way to shoot a music video, does it? See for yourself.

Hopefully, this Canadian tour is just the beginning of the return of live performances for the Zolas and other B.C. bands as the local music scene attempts a “Come Back To Life” in a pandemic-ridden world. I’m sure they will be quite busy when 2022 rolls around.

 

 

Said the Whale To Play 3 Concerts in Vancouver, Plus One?

Juno Award-winning Vancouver indie rock band Said the Whale is launching a Canada-wide tour starting next March, which includes 3 concerts in 3 days in their hometown, plus a little exclusive something the following day…

So how does one gain access to this additional “something”? Well, the band says if you purchase tickets for their 3 shows on March 24, 25, and 26, you will be gifted entry to a very special afterparty/show on March 27. This sounds like a nice little deal for members of Said the Whale’s devoted fanbase, which the band affectionately describes as “SaidHeads”.

The three shows take place across different venues around Vancouver. On March 24, you can watch them perform at The Fox Cabaret. The following night, they’ll host a concert at the Biltmore Cabaret before wrapping up the trio of shows on Granville at the Vogue Theatre.

The band is also set to release their upcoming studio album, “Dandelion”, on October 22, their 7th in the band’s 14-year history. If you’re eagerly awaiting the release of their new record or are interested in supporting the local music scene, the band has numerous pre-order bundles available on their website to help promote their upcoming record. Options range from downloading digital and physical copies of the album to full-on apparel bundles, which include a Said the Whale hoodie, t-shirt, and tote bag. Each bundle gives buyers access to an exclusive Zoom listening party with the band two weeks in advance of the record’s release.

Said The Whale says they devoted themselves entirely to the production of “Dandelion” with the world was on lockdown, resulting in the most “towering, maximalist music of their careers.” In anticipation of this new release, they have released three singles, “Show Me Everything,” “Everything She Touches is Gold to Me”, and “Honey Lungs”.

Prior to their Canadian tour, the band played their first performance of 2021 at the Calgary Stampede and will join Tokyo Police Club on a short tour of the Western U.S. in early November.

Mother Mother Hosts a Marathon of Vancouver Concerts

After swarms of TikTok users gravitated to their music during the pandemic, Vancouver-based indie rock Mother Mother is back on the road again with this newfound, global success.

The band announced dates for their upcoming Inside tour, named after the album of the same name which came out June 25th. This tour includes a hometown swing with a whopping 5 concerts in 4 days.

No, that’s not a typo. 5 concerts. 4 days. Yes, that means they’ll play 2 concerts within the same day.

This musical marathon kicks off December 2nd and concludes on the 5th with all shows taking place at the Commodore Ballroom. The back-to-back performances occur on December 4th, with an all-ages show in the afternoon proceeding their typical evening gig. It sounds like quite the test of musical endurance, but considering they were unable to play live in front of their hometown fans for nearly 2 years, I’m sure the atmosphere will be exciting and energetic regardless of what show they’re playing.

Coming off a busy 2019 filled with touring, Mother Mother took a short hiatus before the pandemic hit. It was during the early pandemic days when everyone thought the end of the world was upon us and people were passing time by either binge-watching Tiger King (still haven’t watched it to date) or obsessing over the latest songs, dance challenges, and memes trending on TikTok. This is when the band started to notice rapid increases in their Spotify numbers and attributed it to Tiktok users recording videos with songs they produced 12 years ago. Soon after, they recorded Inside, their eighth studio album and first “pandemic album”.

Following their spree of shows in Vancouver, the band has its sights set on the rest of North America and Europe in 2022, which includes shows in Russia, Spain, and Norway. The latter two have already sold out.

The New Pornographers Announce Album Reissue and 2021 North American Tour.

The New Pornographers are back.

The Vancouver indie rock septet embarks on a North American Tour to celebrate the 21st anniversary of their album Mass Romantic later this year, along with a reissue of it in the form of a limited-edition red vinyl. This was the band’s debut studio album and took 3 years to complete following the band’s introduction to the Vancouver music scene.  The reissue features a 7’ vinyl featuring two rare tracks “The End of Medicine” and “When I was a Baby”, which were not previously listed on the initial release, but both will appear on this newest version and can be heard on the upcoming tour.

In addition to Mass Romantic, the band also announced they will be performing the album Twin Cinema on separate nights. The band’s third studio album celebrated its 15th anniversary last year.

The tour consists of two shows in Vancouver on December 11th and 12th at the Vogue Theatre. The first show will be a full playthrough of Mass Romantic and the two hidden tracks mentioned above. The second show contains all songs off Twin Cinema.

The band’s current lineup includes AC Newman, Neko Case, John Collins, Dan Bejar, Todd Fancey, Joe Seiders, and Kathryn Calder. “Everyone wants to be successful but, hand to my heart, I had no delusions of success for the New Pornographers,” Newman said in a statement. “To be here over 20 years later, still in the game, is something that I simultaneously take for granted (you just get used to it) and feel eternally grateful for. Been here so long that we can do one of those ‘let’s play that old album all the way through!’ gigs.”

Each concert features a guest performance from Irish singer-songwriter Aoife (EE-fa) Nessa Frances, whose recent productions include her 2020 album “Land of No Junction” and the single “Watching the Willows Burn” featuring Jack Name, released in July of this year.

Tickets for both shows are available on The New Pornographers’ website, with prices starting at $39.50. Doors open at 7:00, with the show beginning at 8:00.

 

City and Colour Announce Two Vancouver Shows

One of Canada’s biggest solo musical acts is coming to Vancouver for two nights.

Canadian singer and songwriter Dallas Green, also known by his stage name City and Colour, announced that he will be playing two shows on November 12 and 13 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre as part of his 2021 North American Tour.

Green is donating $1 from each ticket to its Indigenous Student Bursary created by Indspire, a charity that provides Indigenous people with financial needs to pursue post-secondary education.

To ensure the safety of all involved in these shows, Green is asking all staff and ticket buyers for proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative test to enter each venue. However, with the provincial government’s initiation of vaccine passports, that ask is now a requirement.

On a side note, I didn’t realize that Green sang clean vocals for the post-hardcore band Alexisonfire until I started this article. This brought back memories of 8-year-old me discovering screamo vocals for the first time and wondering how anyone could listen to this, before falling in love with metal just a few years later.

Joining the St. Catharines native on tour are Vancouver musicians Ben Rogers and Marin Patenaude on the 12th and 13th respectively. Green helped produce Rogers’ 2019 album Wildfire at his record label Still Records. This album was the solo artist’s third one. As for the latter artist Patenaude, Green had this to say about her music:

“When I first heard Marin’s music, I was immediately struck by how pure her voice was. It made me think of Cowboy Junkies, Aimee Mann or Lucinda Williams… in other words, classic.”

If you’re unable to make his Lower Mainland concerts or you live on Vancouver Island. You’re in luck as well. Green also has two concerts at the Royal Theatre in Victoria on the 15th and 16th featuring the same two special guests listed above.

Ticket prices for the Vancouver show start at $54.25. To purchase tickets and view available seating, visit ticketmaster.ca.

 

Vancouver Alternative Rock Band Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Not all bands can tell you they’ve been playing together for 40 years, but one staple of Vancouver’s alt-rock scene is celebrating that impressive milestone this year.

54-40 (or as I’ve heard them jokingly called in the past, 14) is playing 3 shows on October 7th, 8th, and 9th at the Commodore Ballroom to commemorate this lengthy accomplishment. The band formed in 1980 but because COVID took away live music for most of last year, it’s ok to celebrate in front of your hometown a year late, right? Especially when it’s an achievement as historic as this one.

The band’s 2 founding members, singer and rhythm guitarist Neil Osbourne and bassist Brad Merritt met in 1978 in Tsawassen and officially named the band 54-40 in 1980 alongside drummer Ian Franey. They played their first show on December 9 of that year, which coincidentally happened on the same night as the death of John Lennon. They followed that up with their first EP, Selection, in 1982. Franey left shortly after.

Since then, 54-40 has released 14 studio albums, 3 of which earned platinum certifications by Music Canada, another received gold. Their most recent album Keep On Walking came out in 2018. They put out their newest single “Embassy Supreme” on New Year’s Day of this year, which contains the lyrics “if you want to have a good time on a Saturday night, downtown on Granville street at the Commodore is where you’ll find us tonight”. Sounds like the band is staying true to their word by playing there on October 9.

For me, 54-40 has always been one of those bands where I would hear their songs on the radio all the time as a kid but would have no idea who the band was. I would try to remember to look them up when I get home and always forget.  It wasn’t until starting to write this article that I had an epiphany that “Ocean Pearl”, “One Day In Your Life”, “I Go Blind” were all by this band. Maybe I should feel ashamed that I didn’t know these 3 songs belong to one of Vancouver’s longest-standing rock bands. You learn something new every day.

54-40’s current lineup includes Osbourne, Merritt, lead guitarist Dave Genn, drummer Matt Johnson, and David Osborne on organ, saxophone, and harmonica. The shows feature Julian Taylor, a singer-songwriter from Toronto who won Solo Artist of the Year at the 16th Canadian Folk Music Awards earlier this year.

Lifted Hotel Festival Begins September 17

How does the idea of experiencing a concert from your own private balcony at a hotel sound to you?

It seemed perplexing to me at first. But amid a fourth COVID-19 wave, protocols such as wearing masks and physical distancing are still everyday rules put in place to keep us all safe from contracting the virus. So maybe the concept doesn’t sound so bad. In fact, that must be the safest way to experience concerts, and that is how the Lifted Hospital Festival presented by Sirius XM is taking place on September 17 and 18.

Headlined by multi-platinum award-winning musician and former Default lead singer Dallas Smith, this Festival allows attendees to exclusively view musical performances from the Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver. All proceeds from the festival go towards Lifted, a non-profit organization created by Smith that raises funds and provides support towards mental health services. The lineup also includes Jojo Mason, Andrew Hyatt, Kelly Prescott, Shawn Austin, and Danielle Ryan. Each musician will perform on a yacht docked at the hotel seawall in the Burrard Inlet overlooking the North Shore mountains.

Each ticket for the two-day event includes a one-night stay at the hotel to a limit of 4 people per room plus the full festival.

It’s truly a unique format and allows for a one-of-a-kind event, plus it provides the necessary assistance in destigmatizing mental health, which is always in need especially with the impact this pandemic has inflicted on all of us.

As the headliner and creator of this event, Smith says: “I’m honoured and so excited to host this incredible event – it’s a massive night for GOOD! I’m reminding you, to remind me, to remind everyone around you to keep focused on your mental health. Music has a way of healing and we are committed to ensuring that mental health services are accessible to anyone and everyone in need, so please join me on September 17 and/or 18 for a night filled with amazing music with some of my good friends in support of mental health – let’s make sure everyone has access to the mental health services they need.”

Collision Course Release New Single

The last few weeks have been quite busy for Vancouver musical group Collision Course.

The energetic rock band, influenced by bands such as Queens of the Stone Age, Soundgarden, and Guns N’ Roses, released their newest single “What’s My Name?” on August 27. It’s their fourth song produced since their inception in 2018. This energetic, high-octane track doesn’t let up at all from start to finish. It’s the type of song that would be a great fit on the soundtrack of the next sports video game from EA, or an excellent warmup song that would get the crowd amped up as the home team takes to the ice at a local hockey game. It’ll be sure to leave you headbanging by the end of it, especially if you’re a fan of rock such as myself. I could easily see them being the next big thing emerging from Vancouver’s rock scene if they continue to pump out hits like this.

A week prior to their new release, Collision Course performed at the Forest Cat Music Festival in Squamish. It was their first time performing since the pandemic put a stranglehold on live music, while also highlighting some new changes to the band’s lineup. Their current lineup consists of Anton Schindler on vocals, Brad Masciotra on guitar, bassist Daniel Prince, and drummer Josh Ertman, their newest member.

Last Saturday, they did a live stream show with alternative rock band Vogue Villains and grunge duo Animals Wearing Animals, both hailing from Van City as well.

Hopefully, these events are a sign of good things to come for Collision Course. These guys have a ton of potential to knock it out of the park if they keep delivering the same energetic sound they had on “What’s My Name?”. I’ll be keeping an eye (and ear) on them over the next little while. Be sure to follow them on Instagram and Facebook so you’re in the loop when these guys post more great music.

 

 

 

 

 

Yukon Blonde Announce 3 B.C. Concerts in October

Indie rock fans, I have some exciting news for you.

Vancouver-based quintet Yukon Blonde announced they are playing three shows over three days in B.C. next month. The first event goes down at The Queen’s in Nanaimo on October 21st before heading over to the Capital Ballroom in Victoria on the 22nd and wrapping it all up in Vancouver at the Hollywood Theatre on the 23rd.

This is the band’s first live performance since the release of their 5th studio album, Vindicator, in November of last year. It was their first product that was entirely self-recorded and self-produced. This do-it-yourself approach allowed the band to be more creative and experiment with sounds and styles, unlike anything they’ve put out in previous years. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that some of the album’s production took place in a closet at Younger’s home and in Innes’ kitchen. If you like laid-back, loungey vocals, atmospheric synths, and effect-heavy guitar tones, then these guys are right up your alley. They recently announced a deluxe version of Vindicator featuring unreleased tracks which is available to the public on September 22.

The band consists of chief songwriter and guitarist Jeff Innes, guitarist Brandon Scott, James Younger on bass, Graham Jones on drums, and Rebecca Gray on keys and synths. All 5 members share vocals throughout each track.

They’ve been making music since 2009 when they published their first EP, Everything in Everyway, in October of that year. A few years later, they were nominated for Breakthrough Group of the Year at the 2013 Juno Awards alongside Walk Off the Earth and local indie-pop favourites Hey Ocean.

Yukon Blonde is accompanied by Gold & Youth, another indie rock band based out of Vancouver and Toronto, for their Victoria concert. Gold & Youth are fresh off releasing their latest track “The Worse the Better” on August 27. Their second album Dream Baby is scheduled for public release on November 5.

Tickets for their Vancouver show are available here. In the meantime, give them a follow on Twitter, they post some funny and relatable tweets on their page.

Marianas Trench Visit the Malkin Bowl This Weekend

How many of us are eagerly waiting for concerts to return?

Well, now’s your chance to see a local pop rock band that’s been releasing catchy tunes since their first EP in 2001.

Vancouver’s own Marianas Trench are playing at the Malkin Bowl this coming Saturday, September 18th with Fionn, another musical group hailing from Van City. Hearing this for the first time brought back memories of 11-year-old me rocking out on my iPod Touch (does Apple still make those?)  on long, summer car rides in the back of my dad’s Dodge Caravan to songs like “Celebrity Status”, “Cross My Heart”, and “All to Myself” off their album Masterpiece Theatre.

Since then, the Juno Award-winning quartet produced three more studio albums: Ever After in 2011, which gave you the hits “Desperate Measures” and “Haven’t Had Enough”, Astoria in 2015, and Phantoms in 2019. They followed that up by releasing their hour-long documentary “My Love Is the Killing Kind” in December 2020, which is available for viewing on YouTube.

This upcoming concert is the band’s first performance in their hometown since the COVID-19 pandemic put all live music events on hold, so it’s safe to say that their stoked to play in front of their hometown fans. They previously played at the Calgary Stampede in July, which was their first time playing on stage since early 2020.

The other ensemble playing at the Malkin Bowl is Fionn, a pop duo made up of twin sisters Alanna and Brianne Finn-Morris. Fionn are fresh off releasing their 8-track EP Candid Constellations on May 21. Their bright, poppy, disco-like sound complements the energetic sound of Marianas Trench.

The two musical groups have worked with each other previously. Marianas Trench frontman Josh Ramsay helped co-write and produce Fionn’s song “Dirty Dancing”, which was released in February of this year. Not a bad choice considering Ramsay also helped write and produce Mission native Carly Rae Jepsen’s breakthrough hit “Call Me Maybe”.

Gates open at 6:00 pm, which the show beginning at 7:00. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.