From Canadian music legends to current radio darlings, it's all happening this month
1. Young the Giant at Orpheum Theatre – Monday, March 4
Facebook/Young the GiantOriginally formed as The Jakes before changing it up to Young the Giant during production of their eponymous full-length debut, this OC quintet has managed to gather up a decent amount of coverage in the short time they’ve been considered a thing. Call them an indie band all you want, but these guys have built up a fairly solid following by being featured on such high-profile platforms as Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, SXSW and Lollapalooza. Add to that they’ve somehow become radio darlings (which is a pretty tough sell, these days), and you’ve got yourself a hard-working band that simply wants you to pay attention to their unique blend of eclectic pop and anthemic stadium rock. Sound like a strange juxtaposition? Sure, but here’s your chance to figure it all out in a reasonably small venue before their performance surroundings become indicative of their stylistic approach.
Tickets from $42.25
2. VHS Collection at Fox Cabaret – Tuesday, March 5
Facebook/VHS CollectionWhen I first heard about VHS Collection, I thought perhaps somebody had broken into my condo’s storage locker. To be honest, my VHS collection is barely eclipsed by my Beta one, so now that I’ve put that gem of knowledge out there on the information superhighway, it’s only a matter of time before somebody uses “Lucy’s Beta Tapes” as a band name. Please, just let it be a good band, okay? As for this particular outfit, I can tell you these three longtime friends from NYC have put together a cool electronic vibe in a band known for their high-energy live performances. And as much as I don’t personally put too much credence into streaming (I’m a buyer, not a borrower), you can’t ignore the stats: they’ve been streamed over 40 million times on Spotify. So, people, please—pluck those woefully uncomfortable chunks of wireless white plastic out of your ear canals and get your butt out to a show to experience some of this stuff in person before your device starts making all your decisions for you.
Tickets from $18.50
3. Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts at Commodore Ballroom – Saturday, March 9
Facebook/Barney BentallAt the risk of dating myself severely, I will go ahead and reveal that Barney Bentall played a lunchtime concert at my high school just a touch more than a couple years ago. Except he wasn’t Barney Bentall at the time, he was Brandon Wolf. If you try researching the pseudonym, you’ll come up with a drum-and-bass dude from Orange County and a singer-songwriter from Puerto Rico. Nope, he’s neither one of those guys. You see, Barney comes from a family known to own a tower or five in our fair city, so he wanted to start his career without carrying the burden of being tagged as a rich kid. Well, the Brandon Wolf Band never really took off (although I did see them open for a certain Bryan Adams a couple of times when he was also an up-and-comer). However, his better-known band, The Legendary Hearts, did manage to make a bit of a dent in the Canadian music industry some 30 years ago, so what better time to get the boys back together to celebrate an anniversary? Sounds like an excellent plan to me. I think I might even still have that mimeographed, dog-eared, thumb-tacked gig poster from back in the day. If you don’t hear from me by April, you’ll find me buried under an avalanche of teenage memorabilia. Call the authorities.
4. Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets at Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Tuesday, March 12
Facebook/Nick MasonIf I asked you to name the one member of Pink Floyd that was featured on all of their studio albums and was also the only constant member of the band from its formation 54 years ago, would you have come up with the name Nick Mason? Okay, yeah, you would’ve if you were a hardcore Floydian, but casual fans may have stumbled on that little bit of trivia. Nevertheless, the fact suggests this guy just might be the easiest of dudes to get along with in a band made up of some pretty strong personalities. So if you’re in need of a Floyd fix and you missed the opportunity to catch Roger Waters when he took up a two-night stand in our hockey digs a couple of years ago, this will be the next best thing as the affable drummer has formed a new outfit (named after Pink Floyd’s legendary second album) to perform some of their early material. And when I say early, I mean tracks like “Astronomy Domine” and “Arnold Layne,” so don’t you come back to me complaining you didn’t hear “Comfortably Numb.” I mean it. With a manifold lineup—notably featuring former Spandau Ballet lead guitarist and principal songwriter Gary Kemp on the frontline—expect to witness some serious musicianship to help take you on this voyage of expert trippyness.
Tickets from $72
5. Rivers of Nihil at Rickshaw Theatre – Tuesday, March 12
Facebook/Rivers of NihilA decade into their career, technical death metal artists Rivers of Nihil have released their genre-tilting masterpiece, Where Owls Know My Name. Borrowing elements of electronic, jazz, alt-rock and folk, it’s fairly safe to say these guys are not afraid to venture into uncharted territory. It’s with that philosophy they’ll be set to headline an excellently diverse evening of artillery. Join the Pennsylvania quintet along with American extreme-metal supergroup ENTHEOS, UK post-sludge riff-lords Conjurer, Bay Area blackened-hardcore unit Wolf King and Vancity’s own progressive deathcore experts The Hallowed Catharsis, as all five groups descend upon Chinatown’s most revered venue of heaviness for one night only. Attention, metalheads: that’s five bands for less than 30 bucks! Do the math, that’s only six clams per act! Don’t be telling me there’s never anything heavy—and cheap —going on in this town.
6. Within Temptation and In Flames at Vogue Theatre – Friday, March 15
Facebook/Within OfficialYou can go around in circles attempting to describe which metal sub-genre Within Temptation falls into. Some people are going to tell you they’re gothic metal, others will say symphonic metal, while many will insist they’re doom metal. Personally, I’m just going to throw chick metal into the mix, as they can be considered one of the foremost entries in the female-fronted metal pack of the ’90s, and a successful one at that. This Dutch outfit aren’t alone in the pioneering front, as they’ll be joined by In Flames, arguably the founding fathers of Swedish melodic death metal. However, I’ll be taking a detour for just a second to mention burgers. That’s right, burgers! I may be the music columnist for this website, but right now I’m switching gears to give you dining recommendations. Not that it helps you right now, but if you ever find yourself in Gothenburg, Sweden, you must visit Restaurant 2112, owned by In Flames’ guitarist Björn Gelotte and former bassist Peter Iwers. Simply put, these are $30 burgers. (Sweden is expensive—bring money.) I guarantee it will be the greatest burger experience of your entire life. Anyway, you should probably go see this concert, too, because I’m supposed to be encouraging you to get out of the house to go experience some music. I suppose I’ll leave it to the food writer to suggest some local burger joints for you to peruse.
Tickets from $62.56
7. Foals at Orpheum Theatre – Monday, March 18
For a band that’s only been around since 2005, Foals have managed to tread a significant amount of ground by touring extensively and being featured at notable festivals such as Glastonbury, Coachella and Roskilde. So it’s no surprise they’ll be warming up for their typical slew of summer appearances by launching their North American headlining tour in our town. If you’re wondering about new music, these UK alt-rockers are hot off the issue of their fifth studio album, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1, with a planned release of Part 2 sometime this autumn. Basically, what you have here is a group that’s making some serious headway into the hearts and minds of the music-consuming public. Get yourself a ticket to see these guys now while they’re still fresh and not ubiquitous enough to become candidates for the next episode of Carpool Karaoke.
Tickets from $54
8. Matthew Good at Vogue Theatre – Saturday, March 23
Facebook/Matthew Good MusicI remember a time when popular Canadian music was not generated by snot-nosed, auto-tuned pop boys or formula-driven TheoryOfANickelFault drones with delusions of diversity dancing in their heads. Yes, kids, I’m talking about the ’90s—a beautiful decade when musicians north of the 49th such as The Watchmen, The Tragically Hip, Wide Mouth Mason and Our Lady Peace utilized genuine songwriting skills to rule the airwaves. Coquitlam’s own Matthew Good was no exception. This four-time Juno award winner has been composing thoughtful pieces since 1995, often using his own tumultuous life experiences to fuel his never-ending creativity. Now he’s taken his 24-year-old catalogue and stripped it down to venture off on an extensive solo acoustic tour of this country, culminating at the Vogue where he’ll offer up his trademark powerful vulnerability to an adoring hometown crowd. Don’t miss your chance to pop in on what promises to be an evening of goosebump-inducing sincerity. Bring a sweater.
Tickets from $57.42