From old time rock and roll to contemporary alt-rock quintets, it's all happening this month
1. Arkells at Pacific Coliseum – Saturday, February 2
Facebook/ArkellsIt’s difficult to argue when Arkells describe themselves as “road-tested, energetic and soulful.” This Hamilton alt-rock quintet has certainly paid their dues on the highway, traversing this great nation of ours from coast to coast pretty much non-stop for the past decade. Five albums in and four Junos later, they’re headlining a tour that’ll see them hit their fair share of arenas across Canada before they dip down below the 49th to show United States-ers that “Oh, The Boss is Coming!” Expect to hear selections from the band’s latest politically charged release Rally Cry, one which is almost all but guaranteed to garner them another Juno nod.
Tickets from $54.95
2. Richard Thompson Electric Trio at Vogue Theatre – Wednesday, February 6
Facebook/Richard Thompson MusicIt’s pointless to dispute the major influence of Richard Thompson on the British folk rock scene. As co-founder of the groundbreaking U.K. group Fairport Convention back in the ’60s, he basically invented the genre. The Los Angeles Times went so far as to call him the finest rock songwriter after Bob Dylan, and the best electric guitarist since Jimi Hendrix. You’d figure that would be high enough praise, but then Rolling Stone named him one of the Top 100 Guitarists of All Time. Oh, and then there’s that little old OBE medal which was personally bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth II in 2011. Now, with the release of his newest album 13 Rivers, the 69-year-old songsmith embarks on an extensive tour that stretches to May of next year. Safe to point out this is not your basic senior citizen, resting on his laurels and collecting a pension. So now, if you’re all of a sudden feeling a little lazy and unaccomplished, this show will surely be an excellent motivator!
Tickets from $44.50
3. Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band at Rogers Arena – Thursday, February 7
Facebook/Bob SegerIf your only reference for the music of Bob Seger is that classic snippet of Tom Cruise dancing in his tighty-whities while lip syncing “Old Time Rock and Roll” in Risky Business, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. The 73-year-old Detroit native has now been in the business a staggering 50 years, releasing 18 studio albums, two live records, five compilations and over 60 singles. He’s racked up sales of more than 50 million copies, receiving a ridiculous amount of platinum and gold certifications. But now it’s time for the venerable veteran to finally call it a day. Unlike KISS, the Scorpions and the multitudes of rockers out there trying to convince you they’re done, when Seger says he’s retiring, I’d take this guy at his word. As such, this is your final opportunity to catch a performer who’s arguably one of the most honest and sincere rockers to grace the stage over the past half-century. Don’t miss out, ’cause “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.”
Tickets from $164.95
4. Mother Mother at Orpheum Theatre – Thursday, February 7
Facebook/Mother Mother BookVancouver-based alt-indie quintet Mother Mother have been gathering some decent coverage over the years since the Guldemond siblings started performing together in 2005. They’ve come a long way since their humble beginnings in Heriot Bay, appearing at both the Vancouver and Montreal International Jazz Festivals, releasing seven critically acclaimed albums, and even having one of their tunes featured in a commercial for Kraft Shredded Cheese (that, my friends, is when you know you’ve arrived). All said though, this outfit manages to deliver sophisticated—and witty!—performances while always maintaining their folky-alternative edge. Join them at Vancouver’s legendary soft-seater while you still can, because it’s only a matter of minutes before they start hitting the arenas.
Tickets from $53.75
5. Monster Truck at Venue – Thursday, February 7 and Saturday, February 9
Facebook/I Love Monster TruckSometimes, a band’s rise to fame seems inexplicable to me. Take, for example, Monster Truck. I remember seeing them open for I Mother Earth... who was the opener for Alice in Chains (so, an opener for an opener?) on Canada Day 2013. I didn’t think too much of them. I mean, I didn’t hate them, but they didn’t strike me as being particularly unique. However, after speaking to AIC’s bassist Mike Inez later that evening, asking him what he thought of I Mother Earth (who, in my humble opinion, were absolutely crushing that afternoon), he generally dismissed them and totally went off on how great Monster Truck had been. The following year, they opened for Alice on their North American tour. Go figure! Clearly, these Southern rockers from Hamilton (because when I think Southern rock, my brain immediately goes to Southern Ontario – it’s all about geography, folks) managed to make an impression with some awesome hard hitters in the biz. More power to them, I guess. Anyway, you’ll have two chances to drop a bit of cash to try to figure it out for yourself. By all means, let me know what you come up with.
Tickets for both Thursday and Saturday $37.70
6. Justin Timberlake at Rogers Arena – Thursday, February 14 and Friday, February 15
Facebook/Justin TimberlakeIf you’re a regular reader of my column (I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all six of you for your unwavering support), you’ll remember I already wrote about Justin Timberlake back in November (yeah, I confess, that’s if you were able to get around my lengthy dissertation on Steven Wilson, as I have certain priorities). So you may already be aware I’m not buying into his whole “bringing sexy back” claim and I’m somewhat unimpressed by his so-called “artistry” as a musical entertainer. Be that as it may, it’s my duty to inform you he’s bringin’ his sexy back to town to make up for those dates he had to cancel due to bruised vocal cords. Now it’s your duty to get yourself out to The Bay or Nordstrom or wherever else you can find his overpriced Levi’s, lay down some cash or credit for new pants, and then mosey on over to our big hockey hut to witness a performance by the man Billboard claims is supposedly the “Best Male Pop Star of the 21st Century."
Tickets for Thursday and Friday from $66.65
7. Snoop Dogg and Friends at Rogers Arena – Friday, February 22
Facebook/Snoop DoggI’ll admit, I’m not at all hip to gangsta rap, but I do enjoy me some Snoop Dogg. I suppose I should qualify that: I’m not into the music. But if I thought—for even a second—he’d be up on stage cooking casseroles with Martha Stewart, I’d be all over that scene! The dude is also a big hockey fan, and I believe we all learned a thing or two when the Professor’s Professor, Dogg Cherry (aka: “99+2: The Greater One”) gave us the scoop on NHL’s Hockey 101 series. Seriously, look it up! So, yeah, I suppose he’s not going to show us how to properly sauté shrimp, nor will he be explaining why hockey players stop in front of the blueline like it’s an electric fence. Call me disappointed. The Long Beach rapper is all set to celebrate a quarter-century since the release of his legendary album Doggystyle with his era-appropriate friends, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Warren G, Kurupt and Luniz. So if yo gangsta, this is the Dogg for you.
Tickets from $90.70
8. Foreigner at Hard Rock Casino – Friday, February 22 and Saturday, February 23
Facebook/ForeignerThere’s this trend happening, pushing classic rock bands into casino theatres and charging a ton of money for somewhere between 75 and 90 minutes worth of music. Much like they did with Cheap Trick this past December, the Hard Rock is more than happy to package Foreigner to you in the same way. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the band’s catalogue, and I’d be thrilled to attend one of these concerts as I know their live show is a gooder. Dropping over $130 on it is another story altogether. From many accounts, the attendance at Cheap Trick was a tad sparse, and I’m thinking it was likely due to the astronomical ticket price. Checking out the maps on these two dates, it looks like they might be selling a touch better. But, still, this show costs more than twice what Foreigner charged at their last appearance in our region a little more than a year ago—and that gig included an excellent opener in Honeymoon Suite. However the Coquitlam casino’s Molson Canadian Theatre is a substantially more intimate venue than Abbotsford Centre, so there’s that. So the burning question: do “I Want to Know What Love Is” or do I want to buy groceries this week?
Tickets for Friday and Saturday from $131.25