From homegrown flamenco to country crooners, it's all happening this month
1. Black Label Society and Obituary at Vogue Theatre – Wednesday, March 4
Black Label SocietyZakk Wylde is always a favourite draw in VanCity. I don’t know if he really likes us or if it’s just simply the fact he’s constantly on the road and can’t seem to sit still. Whether it be his long-standing stint as Ozzy Osbourne’s lead guitarist, his ongoing status as one-fifth of the Generation Axe tour, or his leadership of Black Sabbath cover band Zakk Sabbath, you can’t deny how ridiculously busy this guy is. Really, he was just here this past August, for Pete’s sake! Fortunately for us, his principal gig Black Label Society will be hitting the Vogue alongside Tampa’s death metal pioneers Obituary and Portland’s favourite sludge-doom-thrash quartet Lord Dying on the triple-bill 24-date North American Crusade tour. Wylde is about as honest and hardworking as you can get, and if you’ve been lucky enough to catch any of his dates in the past, you can fully expect this consummate showman to once again put absolutely everything he has into this performance. Guaranteed. Don’t miss this.
2. The Glorious Sons at PNE Forum – Thursday, March 5
Facebook/ The Glorious SonsFor some reason, there seems to be some trendy run on bands that include the word “Sons” in their name. In past years, it was “Machine,” then it was “Sister,” and even both “Sister” and “Machine” in one case. But now it’s “Sons,” and you’re probably wondering what sets The Glorious Sons apart from Rival Sons, or One Bad Son, or… well… whatever, you get the gist. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know. Okay, wait, that’s not entirely fair. I mean, this Kingston, Ontario alt-rock outfit has paid their share of dues over their nine years of existence, as is the case for most Canadian bands that have had to slog it out on the endless stretches of the Trans-Canada Highway. In that time, they’ve managed to put out an EP, three studio long-players, and two live albums, winning themselves the Juno Award for Rock Album of the Year (Young Beauties and Fools) back in 2018. Not bad. So, as I’m the type of person to often encourage support of Canuck bands of all shapes and sizes, I’ll be telling you this is a great opportunity to do so. And while you’re at it, pick up their latest release A War on Everything, just because it’s good to be owning stuff instead of streaming it.
Tickets from $75.70
3. The Strokes at Rogers Arena – Thursday, March 5
Facebook/ The StrokesI’m officially confused. How is it possible The Strokes are playing Rogers Arena when just five minutes ago they were performing at the Commodore or the (now defunct) Plaza of Nations? When did this happen and how? Is Rogers having a sale I didn’t know about? Upgrade to an unlimited data plan and receive one night’s free massive venue rental? Something just doesn’t add up here. Sure, I guess it’s cool they have a brand spanking upcoming record, The New Abnormal, on pre-order. So now I’m guessing that particular album title means just that. This is the new abnormal! It’s 2020, and a New York City-based indie-garage-post-punk band that’s pretty much known for not a hell of a lot more than getting people to jump up and down in one spot is headlining at a 19,000-capacity hockey arena. What a world.
Tickets from $66.65
4. Brad Paisley at Abbotsford Centre – Saturday, March 7
Facebook/ Brad PaisleyIt’s no secret I’m not exactly a big fan of contemporary country. However, I can spot some extraordinary talent among the pack, even if I’m not into the genre itself. Brad Paisley is one of those dudes that can readily receive a virtual tip of my imaginary cowboy hat. This critically acclaimed singer-songwriter-entertainer has no less than 24 number one hits to his credit, plus three Grammys, two American Music Awards, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards and 14 CMAs. But all those accolades aside, what’s most interesting about him is how he can shred! It has always baffled me how so many current musicians will just slog it out spinning middle-of-the-road tunes that get high-rotation radio airplay, but then it turns out they have complete mastery of their instrument. It’s seriously like a big colossal “Who knew?” All I’m saying is, if you’re going to this show, check out how this guy can play his guitar. That’s all you need to know.
Tickets from $66
5. A Bowie Celebration at Commodore Ballroom – Friday, March 13
Facebook/ A Bowie CelebrationThere’s no shortage of David Bowie tributes these days. It’s a thing. I have to suppose the millennial influx of boy bands and girl groups has left many of us so starved for the creative force of a bygone era that we’re all desperate to experience something that isn’t manufactured in a corporate blender. As such, we’re left to grasp at these homages as if they’re our only hope for humanity. I know that sounds dramatic, but—let’s be real—there’s a lot of crap out there! So, to fill that void, we’ve got ourselves A Bowie Celebration, anchored by the Thin White Duke’s long-time pianist Mike Garson along with a revolving collective of musicians who worked with Bowie both in the studio and on tour over the course of his illustrious career, including guitarist Gerry Leonard, bassist Carmine Rojas, drummer Alan Childs and guitarist Kevin Armstrong. The guest line-up changes from tour to tour and city to city, but I would expect to witness performances from Living Colour’s Corey Glover, Fiction Plane’s Joe Sumner, Canada’s own Sass Jordan and perhaps even Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actress Evan Rachel Wood. This particular alumni are set to focus their performances on 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, as well as 1974’s Diamond Dogs, so get your platforms and glitter ready for a glam trip down memory lane.
Tickets from $72.25
6. Jesse Cook at The Centre – Saturday, March 21
Jesse CookArguably Canada’s most celebrated nuevo flamenco acoustic guitarist, Jesse Cook will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his seminal album Tempest by heading out on a 25-date cross-Canada tour taking him from the harbour city of Nanaimo all the way to the eastern shores of Halifax and all major stops in between (including an unprecedented five-night engagement at Montreal’s world famous Festival International de Jazz). This prominent instrumentalist has been creating his unique fusion of the aforementioned new flamenco mixed with classical, jazz and world elements to make his mark on our nation and around the globe over the past quarter-century, racking up 11 Juno nominations (with one win for Best Instrumental Album in 2001), three Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, a Gemini Award and Acoustic Guitar Magazine Player’s Choice Silver Award. Here’s your chance to mark your calendar and buy a ticket for a memorable evening with a truly gifted musician.
Tickets from $53.25
7. Sebastian Bach at Commodore Ballroom – Tuesday, March 31
Facebook/Sebastian BachSometimes I just think Sebastian Bach is the gift that keeps on giving. True, he was once considered one of the mightiest hard rock/metal power vocalists back in the day when he was Skid Row’s outspoken frontman, so there’s that. But, lately, I’m more entertained by his complete lack of self-awareness than I am by his vocal ability. Case in point, this photo. Longstanding perusers of this column may remember this heavily photoshopped image was used as a promotional element for his tour two years ago. Well, it continues to populate his various social media outlets as if he’s introducing some kind of bizarro-world magic show. Dude, you didn’t look like this in 2018, and you certainly don’t look like this in 2020! Maybe it’s Maybelline? Let’s also look back to his last performance through town, when he proceeded to tape a crumpled piece of paper (containing the lyrics to a song he supposedly wrote) to his microphone stand. I’m not kidding. And then there’s the whole schlemozzle last year about him mouthing off to the media about wanting to reunite with his former Skid Row brethren for the 30th anniversary of their first album. After about five seconds of thoughtful discussion amongst founding members Rachel Bolan, Dave Sabo and Scotti Hill, the general consensus was a resounding, “Uh… no.” So now Baz has taken it upon himself to launch this 31st anniversary tour. Sure, buddy. I just hope he remembers to bring his own roll of duct tape this time.
Tickets from $53