From '70s rock royalty to a modern day prog-rock god, it's all happening this month
1. Drake & Migos at Rogers Arena – Saturday, November 3 & Sunday, November 4
Facebook/DrakeWhen this Aubrey and the Three Amigos Tour was first announced, I got really jazzed thinking I’d be seeing Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short performing in all their bandito glory (although I gotta admit I had no idea who this “Aubrey” guy was). But sadly... no. Turned out it was Drake and Migos. Whether you love the Drake or hate the Drake, there’s no doubt this dude is right busy. I mean, one minute he’s blocking bullets in a high school hallway, the next thing you know he’s playing wheelchair basketball and silkscreening t-shirts, and then he somehow launches a successful full-time rap career while side-hustling as a global ambassador for the Toronto Raptors and… what? Wait. Hang on. I think I may have gotten my teen TV timeline a little askew there. Sorry. Miraculous as it might seem, Jimmy Brooks is out of his wheelchair and headlining a North American tour alongside Atlanta’s favourite hip-hop trio. If nothing else, this outing should be an excellent opportunity for these guys to perform their collaborative tune “Walk It Talk It."
Tickets for both nights from $81
2. Glass Tiger at Clark Theatre – Monday, November 5 & Centennial Theatre – Sunday, November 11
Facebook/Glass Tiger BandIt’s no secret one of my greatest not-so-guilty musical indulgences comes in the form of ’80s pop music, particularly that of the Canadian variety. I offer absolutely no apologies for that statement. After all, this country produced some pretty rad artists during that decade, and Glass Tiger is no exception, regardless of how many times they’ve been included in those ridiculous Forgotten Bands of the ’80s lists. Really? Forgotten?!? Their biggest hit is titled “Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone.” Is that considered ironic? I’m of the opinion that if you’ve forgotten these guys, then it’s your problem, not theirs. You just weren’t paying attention. Anyway, Lower Mainlanders will have not one but two opportunities to catch these guys. You choose whether you want to head out to the valley or over to the shore... or perhaps both! But do get yourself out to at least one of these gigs to be reminded of the days when Can-pop was not comprised of snot-nosed YouTube discoveries or so-called “prodigies” of the auto-tune persuasion.
Tickets for Monday, November 5th at Clark Theatre, Mission $51.80; Tickets for Sunday, November 11th at Centennial Theatre, North Vancouver $46.50
3. Justin Timberlake at Rogers Arena – Thursday, November 8 & Friday, November 9
Facebook/Justin TimberlakeForgive me if I’m not getting why Justin Timberlake has been called “the quintessential pop artist of the new millennium.” Hmm, sure, okay. I don’t dislike the guy at all. I see him as a credible dramatic actor who possesses some pretty off-the-map comedic prowess (I’d be all over that if he put on a stand-up routine here). But he’s not bringing his Man of the Woods tour to VanCity to demonstrate his skills as a thespian or perform some funny skits. He’s coming here to sing, and that’s where I shrug my shoulders with a big “meh.” I’m personally incredulous as to how people tend to lose their collective minds over this guy when he croons about bringing sexy back. I’m not even sure sexy was ever gone in the first place, but JT lays claim to resurrecting it! Gee, thanks, man. What would we have done without you? Fashionistas take note: he’s launched his own line of Levi’s, because why wouldn’t you want to pay three times as much for what basically amounts to a regular pair of 501s? But, hey, once again, in a room full of people believing he is the be-all end-all, I’m the only one with my hand raised to ask if I can be excused. Just do me a solid and let me know if he dons a beer bottle costume and sings about bringing it on down to Liquorville—then I’ll seriously reconsider my attendance.
Tickets for Thursday from $107 and for Friday from $95
4. The Pursuit of Happiness & The Northern Pikes at Commodore Ballroom – Saturday, November 10
Facebook/The Pursuit of Happiness TPOHGetting back to the topic of awesome ’80s Canadiana, have I got a double-bill for you! Two of our nation’s preeminent alt-college-pop-rock stalwarts of the era, The Pursuit of Happiness and The Northern Pikes, make a welcome fly-in to shake up the Commodore’s legendary hardwood. TPOH lands here on the heels of the recent release of the 30th anniversary deluxe edition of their brilliant seminal debut, Love Junk, while the Pikes celebrate the 30th anniversary (well, technically 31st… whatevs) of their first major-label record, Big Blue Sky, with their own “super sized” re-issue. It sure seems like 2018 has been a landmark year for 30th birthday re-packs, as this isn’t the first time I’ve written about albums hitting that particular pinnacle. So while I’m of the mind that I’d rather forego reliving my past in favour of getting some actual new music from my favourite bands, I do have to say it’s definitely a great excuse to get out there and purchase some freshly pressed hard copy. Even if it isn’t necessarily new, it sure is good.
Tickets from $41.50
5. Fleetwood Mac at Rogers Arena – Wednesday, November 14
Facebook/Fleetwood MacWhen I was just 12 years old, I pocketed my allowance, got on my bike and rode out to my local Zellers to pick up Fleetwood Mac’s brand new spinner, Rumours. This venerable vinyl was the very first album I purchased with my own money, and over 40 years later (which is weird, since I’m not 40 years older) with over 40 million copies sold, my love affair with great rock music has endured despite the rise and fall of what many continue to claim is a long-dead genre. Not so fast, kids! Being that you’re all streaming your Biebers, your Swifts and your Cardis, I’m having a tough time believing any of those acts will create an equivalent legacy. While this tour is likely to draw out the masses searching for nostalgia, you should be forewarned that Lindsey Buckingham will not be participating (and, no, I’m not about to get into the pending litigation. I have enough to deal with here). This isn’t the first time the Mac has gone without, and—with history repeating itself—the one-man musical powerhouse has once again been replaced by two musicians. Sure, this time it’s two talented guys you’ve actually heard of (Neil Finn from Split Enz/Crowded House and Mike Campbell from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), but I believe Lindsey will be sorely missed. Simply put: no Lindsey, no Lucy. Nevertheless, rumours abound that Finn and Campbell will be presenting the crowd with snippets from their previous day-jobs. Whether or not that’s a big enough motivator to drag you out of your own apathy is entirely up to you.
Tickets from $127
6. Steven Wilson at Vogue Theatre – Thursday, November 15
Facebook/Steven Wilson HQWithin Porcupine Tree’s 12-minute magnum opus, “Arriving Somewhere But Not Here,” you’ll discover the poignant lyric “Ever thought from here on in, your life begins and all you knew was wrong?” Thus was my epiphany the first time I saw Steven Wilson—a performance imprinting such a profound effect on the way I approach music that I’ve since become an insufferable snob who unfairly expects a certain level of quality from all other artists. Over the past three decades, this articulate genius has had his name stamped on more than 50 releases as a performer in singular and collaborative projects Bass Communion, Blackfield, Continuum, I.E.M., No-Man, Storm Corrosion and the aforementioned Porcupine Tree, as well as a steady flood of work as a solo artist. Add to that list his in-demand skills as a 5.1 surround-sound mixing engineer for a wide variety of acts ranging from Rush to Tears for Fears. Oh, and he’s a producer too. (News flash: he doesn’t sleep.) At last count, his discography contained 1150 entries across 564 pages, and it hasn't even been updated since 2015! Still, you don’t know who he is, right? You’re not the only one. The Daily Telegraph has accurately described him as “the most successful British artist you’ve never heard of,” and that just makes me sad. Although he’s primarily—albeit reluctantly—renowned for being a prog-rock god, he’s impossible to pigeonhole, encompassing styles ranging from progressive to electronic, experimental jazz to ambient, and drone to unadulterated pop. A demiurge this prolific and diverse (Sit down, Chad Kroeger. It’s not about you.) and one so fearless in his vision, deserves far more accolades and respect than what he’s receiving from his dedicated cult following. But there is a bright side to being a virtually unknown entity: he’s someone you’ll never see featured on Carpool Karaoke (I’m abundantly grateful for small miracles). Do yourself a favour and join this true artistic force as he visits our fair city for only the second time in his career. With a starting price tag of just over $30 for nearly three hours of jaw-dropping musicality, you will be hard pressed to find a more significant value anywhere else. (Shout out to all the entertainers gouging $150 or more for barely 90-minutes of fluff.) You’ll thank me later.
7. Chris Robinson Brotherhood at Venue – Thursday, November 29
Facebook/CRBrotherhoodThere’s no getting around it. The Black Crowes were one of the most solid Southern rock bands of the ’90s, but the one thing that set them apart and made them truly great was the presence of one Chris Robinson. This cat’s extraordinary blues-infused vocals never failed to contribute a rare, intangible quality to a performance, whether it be in a small club or a massive arena. Alas, the Crowes are no longer, but we do have Chris Robinson Brotherhood to get us through any withdrawals. Recently dubbed “the ultimate jam band” (many of my Phish-loving phriends will likely take issue with that statement, but don’t be shooting the messenger!), CRB will visit Vancouver for one night only, but don’t wait around because these tickets will be likely be scooped up in no time.
Tickets from $36.75
8. Neko Case at Vogue Theatre – Friday, November 30
Facebook/Neko CaseAlthough she was born in Virginia, many people in this town consider Neko Case to be an honorary Vancouverite. It was here she launched her tenure as a valuable member of several different punk and country groups before settling into the more indie-tinged vibe of The New Pornographers. But it doesn’t end there! Her successful career has taken so many pages from such a wide array of genres that one can only try to classify her music as indie-alternative-country-folk-Americana-rock. I mean, that’s some seriously mad diversity! (Again, Chad, I meant it when I told you to sit down.) This accomplished musician-singer-songwriter-producer has spent the better part of a quarter-century honing her craft, racking up an impressive discography, both as a solo artist and a collaborator. (The splendid, one-of-a-kind 2016 case/lang/veirs supergroup project immediately comes to mind.) Her newest solo release, Hell-On, offers Case at her most vulnerable, curating new stories and approaches to sound, receiving high praise from a plethora of well-respected media outlets. Don’t miss this opportunity to witness a performance from one of this region’s genuine musical pioneers. Even if she’s technically not from here, we’re not gonna split hairs.
Tickets from $36.50