From one of country's cutest crooners to an audience with Queen Bey, it's all happening this month
1. Def Leppard & Journey at Rogers Arena – Monday, October 1
Facebook/Def LeppardIf routine keeps you in line, this Def Leppard and Journey double bill will have you virtually setting your watch by it. Sound exciting? Look, I should preface this article by stating there’s nothing inherently wrong with either band’s actual performance. On the contrary, these guys know what they’re doing. But I’ll challenge you to run a SetlistFM comparison of Def Leppard concerts over the past 15 years or so, and see what you get. Trust me, I’m not just talking track selection here as I can quote the between-song banter word-for-word. Even the stage backdrops are the same... tour after freakin’ tour! This from a band that gets mad if you refer to them as an ’80s act, all the while insisting they don’t want to repeat themselves and fall into a rabbit hole of nostalgia. I bought their last album. It may have been self-titled, but I prefer to call it Hysteria 2.0.
If you’re wondering about Journey, I’ve never quite felt this whole Arnel Pineda thing people are freaking out about. Yeah, he can sing, but—for my taste—his vocals seem very studied, clinical and completely devoid of feel. People try to convince me otherwise, “Have you watched the documentary? He seems like a genuinely nice guy!” Well, in that case… he’s really nice, and that’s how I determine my concert budget… so let me just dig out my credit card then. Oh, wait, look at that, I can’t. That’s a Monday. I have to wash my hair that night and I simply don’t want to mess up my own routine.
Tickets from $105.91
2. Jay-Z and Beyoncé at BC Place – Tuesday, October 2
Facebook/BeyonceI’m not certain if I’m supposed to apologize for not consuming the Kool Aid when it comes to Jay-Z and Beyoncé. What am I missing here? It must be something extraordinary. People have tried explaining the phenomenon to me, and all they end up getting in return is a blank stare. (It's the same one they receive when they tell me Adele sings the absolute saddest… songs… ever.) I mean, even Ticketmaster dubbed them “two of the greatest artists of all time.” From what the interwebs would have me believe, Mr. Carter is considered among the most acclaimed musicians of the 21st century, having received 21 Grammy Awards and holding the record for most number one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200. Mrs. Carter has sold over 100-million records worldwide, has won 22 Grammy Awards, and if you didn’t know, she’s the only woman to have ever given birth. It’s true. Look it up. Whatever, it doesn’t matter what I think. This inexplicably popular On the Run II Tour is only making one stop above the 49th parallel, and that’s in our fair city. Suffice to say people in Toronto and Montreal are none too happy with us, as if we stole something very dear from them. Personally, I’d be happy to trade this show to either city for just one of their Stanley Cup titles in return. I’m up for any and all negotiations.
Tickets from $101.45
3. First Aid Kit at Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Tuesday, October 2
Facebook/First Aid Kit BandIt has been 10 years since First Aid Kit broke onto the scene with their cover of the Fleet Foxes track “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.” In that span of time, the indie-folk duo has released four EPs plus four full-length LPs. Do the math. That’s eight releases in a decade! Nobody’s going to call these girls lazy. I should not fail to mention their last three albums charted at number one in their homeland of Sweden. Those are impressive stats, considering the usual representation of fluff that often ranks at the top of the charts on our own continent. Make it a priority to join the Söderberg sisters at the QET, as they perform selections from their vast catalogue, including tracks from their critically acclaimed 2018 release, Ruins. Don’t wait too long to snap up tickets as this should be a sell-out.
Tickets from $49.25
4. The Church at Fox Cabaret – Thursday, October 4
Facebook/The Church BandLately, it seems that just about every band out there is touring in support of a past release denoting a pinnacle in their career. Such is the case with The Church as they celebrate the 30th anniversary of their breakthrough album, Starfish. With a more spacious and uncluttered sound than their previous releases, the record marked a departure from the darker, trademark neo-psychedelic oeuvre which made them favourites in their native Australia. The disc turned them into an international success–for 1988 anyway. A couple-dozen records later, experimenting with disparate musical textures and exhibiting varying levels of success nowhere near the apex of Starfish, the band has unequivocally stopped in their tracks to relive past glory. And really, why not? The album is stellar! But the fact it’s 30 years old makes me shake my head a bit, mostly because I’m certainly not 30 years older. Delusion is clearly my most distinguishing characteristic.
5. 54-40 at Commodore Ballroom – Friday, October 5 and Saturday, October 6
Facebook/Fifty Four FortyIt’s that time of year again: turkey, stuffing, those blasted pumpkin spice lattes, and 54-40. I’ve said it before: it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving in Vancouver without the annual set of shows from our local crowd-pleasers. This time, the band also offers up their long-awaited brand new album, Keep on Walking. Given that it’s been seven years since we’ve received fresh material from these boys, there’s never been a better excuse to get some new music under your belt before you expand your waistband with all that seasonal grub on Monday. Check it out though, Saturday is sold out (only re-sales available), so grab a ticket for Friday and get your hop on that Commodore dance floor to wear off that dinner before you consume it.
Friday tickets $59.25, Saturday tickets from $165
6. Monster Magnet at Commodore Ballroom – Tuesday, October 9
Facebook/Monster MagnetBest to just hang around the Commodore for a little longer as New Jersey’s pre-eminent stoner rockers Monster Magnet return to Lotusland to bring back the fuzz. I personally loves me some Monster Magnet, and I simply can’t visit Fremont Street in Las Vegas without picturing their revolutionary “Space Lord” video filmed in front of the portico of The Plaza Hotel & Casino. Expect to hear some thick tracks from their crackin’ new album (that I shouldn’t name here because we’re family-friendly) along with cuts from their storied career, spanning nearly 30 years (there’s that crazy number again). My hope is for a little Powertrip or Dopes to Infinity action, because my heart is heavily steeped in everything that was musically awesome about the ’90s.
7. Luke Bryan at BC Place – Saturday, October 13
Facebook/Luke BryanWhat makes you country? Well, dag-gum and dag-nab-it, Luke Bryan intends to let you know in earnest as he headlines the most down home tour of the year at our massive football stadium. That’s right, get ready to spend the afternoon and evening with Luke’s buddies Sam Hunt, Jon Pardi and Carly Pearce as they fill this big barn chock-a-block with all the contemporary country you can handle. For myself, well, I live in the ‘hood and I can hear everything that comes outta that venue, so I’ll be planning a weekend getaway. Yeah, I know, Luke Bryan is a nice guy, but his congenial personality only works for me when he’s judging on American Idol. (For the record, I think he’s a ton of fun there, so I’ll be tuning in next season.) This concert, however, you just go ahead and have at ’er!
Tickets from $42.30
8. Meg Myers at Venue – Saturday, October 13
Facebook/Meg Myers OfficialSometimes you get the feels and the only remedy is to dive headfirst into a pool of emo-pop tinged with alt-rock. That’s where Meg Myers comes in. The 32-year-old Los Angeles (by way of Nashville) singer-songwriter claims her musical style is as much derived from Nirvana and Alice in Chains as it is from Sinéad O’Connor and Fiona Apple. So go figure, you might think that’s a confusing mix. Think again. She makes it work. With her fresh new album, Take Me to the Disco, racking up some positive reviews, I’d take this intimate gig as an opportunity to witness a performance of a superstar in the making. Thank me later.
9. The Grapes of Wrath at Venue – Monday, October 15
Facebook/Grapes of WrathEven without a new album in their grips, The Grapes of Wrath have been circling around our nation at a fairly steady pace over the past number of years, making stops at just about every outpost that’ll have them. Now, fresh from their induction into the 2018 Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame in their hometown of Kelowna, the alt-rock troubadours make a welcome return to our city to remind us of everything that was great about Canadian music in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Need a refresher? Pick up their 2013 album, High Road, featuring the band’s original three core members. It will reignite your appreciation for late-20th-century Can-Rock while whetting your appetite for hopefully some new music in the near future.
10. MC50 (MC5) at Commodore Ballroom – Wednesday, October 17
Facebook/MC5 BandIn another celebratory swing through nostalgia, MC5 mark the 50th anniversary of their seminal album, Kick Out the Jams, by dubbing themselves MC50. Clever. To be perfectly accurate, though, the album was released in 1969. However, it was recorded in October of 1968, so who’s counting? I’m not good at math anyway, so whatevs. Original guitarist/vocalist Wayne Kramer is launching this effort along with some pretty hard-hitting rock stalwarts such as Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil, Faith No More’s Billy Gould, Fugazi’s Brendan Canty and Zen Guerilla’s Marcus Durant. Unfortunately for myself and all the other King’s X fans out there (all five of us), this gig was originally supposed to include our guy Doug Pinnick on bass, but he felt like he didn’t fit in and graciously bowed out of the mix. So you won’t see me there. But you go on ahead without me.
11. Trivium at Commodore Ballroom – Sunday, October 28
Facebook/TriviumThere’s this strange thing about Trivium. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re a decent metal band. But forgive me if I don’t fall into the hype machine that surrounds them. Yes, the Floridian metalcore titans somehow receive a whole lot of buzz, and many metal-folk tend to lose their minds a little bit when it comes to these guys. I’m just trying to figure out why they’re always top of mind and on the cover of pretty much every metal magazine I pick up. I’ve seen them live, and honestly, they’re okay. But let me just put it this way: I already own every single Metallica album they’ve ever released… so… yeah… I’m about good, thanks.