From Toronto-based alt-rock quartets to classic Canadian hits, it's all happening this month
1. Theory of a Deadman at Commodore Ballroom – Saturday, February 1
Facebook/Theory MusicIf you’re pondering the shallowness of the Vancouver concert offerings pool during the gloomy days of February, look no further than the fact I’m writing about Theory of a Deadman. For those trying their best to distinguish these self-described “post-grunge/hard-rock/alt-rock/alt-metal with a touch of country and acoustic” guys from their self-festooned “diverse” mentors, Nickelback, let me offer you this nugget of wisdom: they’ve taken to just calling themselves “Theory” now. Whoa! Now slow down, cowboy! I’m not sure I can handle that amount of edge. So as I sit here calmly waiting for the hate mail to clutter up my DMs, I will tell you the Saturday show is shockingly sold out. It appears there are a lot of people in this town with questionable hearing. Be that as it may, you can get a way cheaper ticket for the Friday show which happens to fall on the last day of January (so it really shouldn’t be part of this column, but I’m doing you peeps a favour). Just click on the first link below, and don’t tell me I never do anything for you.
Face-value tickets for Friday $57.25 and resale tickets for Saturday $127.33
2. The Beaches at Commodore Ballroom – Friday, February 7
Facebook/The Beaches BandI truly dislike writing about sold out shows. Trust me, there’s a handful of concerts I wanted to tell you about this month, but figured it was pointless since it’s kinda taunting like, “Oooohhhh, look! Sinéad O’Connor is coming to town, but you can’t go!” I also don’t like to encourage the purchase of resale tickets because they don’t call it “scalping” for nothing! But The Beaches just might have become a big enough deal for many people to consider digging a little deeper into their pockets. This alt-rock quartet from "The Beaches" neighbourhood of Toronto (prizes if you guessed where they got their name) managed to self-release two critically acclaimed EPs in 2013 and 2014 before signing to Universal in 2016 where they released their first full length album in 2017, and yet another EP last year. In 2018, the band won the Juno Award for Breakthrough Group before receiving a SOCAN Songwriting Prize nomination later that year. Not too shabby. To add to their coolness factor, the Rolling Stones selected them as the opening act for their only Canadian stop on their 2019 tour, and they appeared as the pre-game entertainment at the 107th Grey Cup in Calgary. So if you’re interested in checking out what the hubbub is all about, I suggest you surrender your plastic at the link below.
Resale tickets from $91.63
3. Soulfly at Rickshaw Theatre – Wednesday, February 12
Facebook/Soulfly OfficialOn the other hand, if you want your precious concert dollars to go a little further this month, and you enjoy yourself some metal, there’s a bit of a hardcore thing going on at the Rickshaw featuring—count ’em—six heavy hitters on one night. Phoenix (by way of Brazil) groove-thrash titans Soulfly will headline these festivities, with Portland’s Toxic Holocaust, Manchester’s Ingested, Baltimore’s Visceral Disgorge, Pennsylvania’s The Last Ten Seconds of Life and Copenhagen’s CABAL rounding out the bill. If you haven’t done the math, I figured it out for you—it’s just a touch over $5 a band! That won’t even buy you a decent cup of coffee these days. You could probably even gather together enough change from under your sofa cushions to get a ticket. So, for all the people I know who constantly complain about concerts being too expensive, here you go! Metal is cheap. Just go to a show.
4. Skillet at Abbotsford Centre – Saturday, February 15
Facebook/SkilletI once overheard a conversation in which a young woman was asked what type of music she liked. After pausing for deep thought, she responded, “Well, I guess I listen to Skillet because people expect me to.” Honestly, the only reason I still recall that statement is because it didn’t make any sense to me. I don’t know what type of music people expect me to listen to, so I don’t understand why anyone would be expected to listen to a certain type of anything! Expectations notwithstanding, this Memphis quartet will be touching down in Abby’s all-things-but-hockey digs with their specialized brand of alt-Christian metal. I mean, that’s what they’re calling it anyway. If people are expecting a semblance of alt-Christian metal appreciation out of you, this might be your big extravaganza for the year.
Tickets from $47
5. Royal Tusk and BRKN LOVE at Fox Cabaret – Monday, February 17
Facebook/Royal TuskIf you have a better grasp on a genre that actually makes you happy, perhaps you might gravitate your musical taste towards a more groove-laden stoner metal vibe. If that’s the case, Edmonton’s Royal Tusk may be the band you’re looking to check out. Pair that up with Toronto singer/guitarist Justin Benlolo’s thick guitars and dirty blues rock project BRKN LOVE, and you have yourself a reason to get out of the house on what would otherwise prove to be just another dull Monday night in. Here you’ve got two Canadian bands on the verge of big things, and I have to tell you, there’s been a fair amount of buzz, not least of which some random airplay on Stingray Loud. This could actually be one of those gigs you can talk about years from now, you know, one of those, “Oh, I saw those guys long before they got huge” type of shows? You’ve been alerted. You’re welcome.
6. Platinum Blonde at Commodore Ballroom – Friday, February 21
Facebook/Platinum Blonde WorldNostalgia is a big business. While there are plenty of bands out there trying to reclaim their ’80s glory days, not too many of them succeed in much more than making grand fools of themselves by mumbling incoherent lyrics whilst pointing the microphone towards the audience to fill in the blanks. I could name names here, but that would be mean, and really, Mötley Crüe doesn’t need more press (sorry, not sorry). Anyway, Platinum Blonde would be one of those rare exceptions to the rule. Catching their Friday night closing set at the inaugural Rock Ambleside festival three years ago, I was reminded what an incredibly tight outfit this group has always been. Believe me, I’ve seen these guys many times throughout the years, all the way back to when they opened for Billy Idol about a million years ago. Not once have they ever disappointed. They’re still at the top of their performance game, so if you’ve ever wanted to revisit your youth (or are looking to see how the cool kids played back in the day), you won’t want to miss this great band in one of our city’s best live venues.