From retro rock on the shore to blues greats in the park, it's all happening this month
1. Walk Off the Earth at Orpheum Theatre – Saturday, August 3
Facebook/Walk Off the EarthForgive me, but I feel more than just a little incredulous about the phenomenal success of Walk Off the Earth. Sure, I suppose it’s cool these indie pop folks from Burlington are making it big, since we should all be pleased when a Canadian band gets international recognition. But although this group does perform original material (it should be noted I can’t name even one song without having to look it up), they’re primarily known for their covers. Most media will tell you their versions of Adele, LMFAO, Taylor Swift and Maroon 5 tunes are “innovative” and “irreverent” (in all honesty, I don’t consider any of those entertainers to fall into either category, so I’m clearly not the right person to ask here), but it’s their take on Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” that made everybody absolutely freak out. Really? Yeah, the video with all of them simultaneously playing one guitar was clever, but that particular ditty wasn’t necessarily all that interesting to begin with. Regardless of my perplexed opinion, this quartet is carrying on strong after the untimely passing of multi-instrumentalist Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor at the youthful age of 51 this past December, so I’ll concede there’s at least there’s one excellent reason to celebrate in tribute to their beloved colleague.
Tickets from $54
2. Rob Zombie & Marilyn Manson at Rogers Arena – Sunday, August 4
Facebook/Rob ZombieIt seems like such a waste of a good opportunity for the Twins of Evil – Hell Never Dies Tour to hit the road only through August. I mean, why wouldn’t you team up Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson to go out during October and run through Halloween? Here you’ve got yourself two of the mainstream’s (yes, they’re just as mainstream as Ed Sheeran, don’t kid yourself) best known horror-infused shock rockers, and you have them make a go of this during the glaring fluorescence of summer. Are their tour busses equipped with coffins? All joking aside, this partnership created in the dark netherworld is set to burn up every “Living Dead Girl” and all “The Beautiful People” in VanCity, and I personally know my fair share of peeps out there losing their collective minds over this unholy communion. Myself? I’m good, thanks. I’ll be washing my hair that night.
Tickets from $53.85
3. Zakk Sabbath at Imperial – Monday, August 5
Facebook/Zakk SabbathAs Ozzy Osbourne’s on-and-off principal guitarist over the past three decades, Zakk Wylde should know a thing or two about covering Black Sabbath. As such, Zakk Sabbath came to fruition five years ago, and the axe-man/vocalist has amassed one hell of a collection of live recordings paying tribute to his erstwhile boss’s first job. But perhaps this outfit’s most ambitious undertaking is yet to come, as the trio (also featuring Rob “Blasko” Nicholson on bass and Joey Castillo on drums) will gather together on February 13th, 2020 to re-record Sabbath’s eponymous debut album on the 50th anniversary of its release. This recording will be limited to only 500 copies and will be faithfully documented by a film crew over the course of 24 hours. If you’re a collector, I wouldn’t wait too long to pre-order this treasure. In the meantime, I suggest you drop by the Imperial to see how these three guys are gonna get this tremendous job done (if only to witness it before Sharon Osbourne figures out a way to throw her lawyers at the whole thing).
Tickets from $54.81
4. Mumford and Sons at BC Place Stadium – Wednesday, August 7
Facebook/Mumford & SonsThe denotation of Mumford and Sons is a bit of a head-scratcher for me. Okay, sure, there’s Marcus Mumford at the helm, but those other three guys? Not his sons! I know, it’s only a name, but I might be more impressed if it was maybe the Amazing Mumford from Sesame Street. You know, the “a la peanut butter sandwiches” guy? Anyway, this dude and his not three sons are planning to fill our football stadium, which also has me confused. I thought that massive barn was reserved for legendary classic rockers, overhyped country singers, fleeting pop idols, and vastly overrated R&B/hip-hop married couples. What the hell do I know anyway? What I do know, however, is that I live close enough to BC Place to clearly distinguish every note emanating out of there, so I plan to wander out onto my balcony as soon as Portugal. The Man hit the stage so I can catch myself a good dose of “Feel It Still.” I’ll be heading inside and shutting the door behind me afterwards.
Tickets from $74.60
5. Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival at Deer Lake Park – Saturday, August 10th
Facebook/The War and TreatyOver the years, the Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival has blurred a few lines when it comes to providing the audience with performers that fit into either musical genre. But then again, this year’s Vancouver International Jazz Festival featured Wu-Tang Clan as a headliner, so what the hell do I know? This fest’s line-up will be helmed by indie-popster Feist. “1234”... blues? “1234”… roots? Whatevs, I’ll leave you with that. As a lead-up to all the counting, you’ll get Michigan folksters Lord Huron, homespun B.C. boy Dan Mangan, D.C. R&B soul duo The War & Treaty, Juno award-winning folk and country singer-songwriter William Prince, Tennessee blues/soul combo (OMG, look… BLUES!) Southern Avenue, and Whitehorse rockers Speed Control.
Tickets from $57
6. Rock Ambleside Park – Friday, August 16 to Sunday, August 18
https://www.rockamblesidepark.com/An event I personally look forward to every year, Rock Ambleside Park returns for its third iteration on the banks of West Vancouver’s picturesque shoreline. Eleven bands are all set to perform over the course of three days, with Friday’s festivities featuring an all-Canadian line-up opened by Winnipeg’s Streetheart, followed by Vancouver’s own Headpins, and headlined by the pride of Niagara Falls, Honeymoon Suite. More Canuck hijinks ensue on Saturday with Toronto guitar slinger Pat Travers, followed by Montreal chanteuse Sass Jordan, Oakville prog-rockers Saga, and Manitoba heartland class act Tom Cochrane with Red Rider. Sunday mixes it up with Detroit power popsters The Romantics, followed by Montreal blues stalwart David Wilcox, and L.A. hard rockers Quiet Riot, with the whole event capped off by Long Island’s occult rock legends Blue Öyster Cult. Prepare yourself for a great weekend of classic rock by bringing a hat, plenty of sunscreen, your own water bottle (they’ll have filling stations onsite), and perhaps a blanket or folding lawn chair (unless you’re adventurous enough to be standing with us diehards in the pit… for three solid days!).
Tickets from $77.50
7. Hank Von Hell at Rickshaw Theatre – Tuesday, August 20
Facebook/Hank Von HellAre you feeling the need to soak your tired bones in the solace of some good old fashioned Nordic punk rock? Well, have no fear as Hank Von Hell has got you covered. The former Turbonegro frontman has spent a fair portion of his career delivering his trademark “death-punk” vibes, but get this, one of his songs was submitted to compete in the Melodi Grand Prix to represent Norway at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Granted, it didn’t get too far as we all know how these competitions work (I’m glaring directly at you, American Idol), but you’ve gotta give major props to the guy for showing up! More Scandinavian fun will get you geared up as Gothenburg rockers Spiders will be more than happy to fill the bill alongside Vancouver’s very own Rebel Priest who will open this evening’s festivities.
8. Vince Neil at PNE Amphitheatre – Thursday, August 22
Facebook/Vince NeilThe PNE is billing this one as “Vince Neil the Legendary Voice of Mötley Crüe.” Well, sure, I guess you could say there are plenty of legends about his voice. Put it this way, do you like a good sing-along? Then it seems I may have just the show for you, as there’s nobody like this guy when it comes to full-on audience participation. See, the former Crüe frontman is a pretty lazy guy when it comes to singing, so he’d rather you just do it all for him. When he does decide to exert himself enough to ramble something through the microphone, it’s just usually incomprehensible gibberish. I’m not kidding. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and run yourself a few YouTube searches to get the gist. But if there’s one thing Neil is exceptionally good at, it’s pointing the mic towards the audience. He’s a professional. You’re gonna do the rest. The fact remains you’ll be paying good money to kickstart your own freakin’ heart, and that’s entirely your own business.
Tickets from $43.15 (plus PNE Fair Gate Admission)
9. Styx at PNE Amphitheatre – Sunday, August 25
Facebook/StyxBack when I was nothing more than just an impressionable teen, I had a really tough time wrapping my appreciation around Styx. On the one hand, you had the brilliant Tommy Shaw numbers like “Renegade” and “Crystal Ball.” But then on the other hand, you had Ethel Merman… I mean… Dennis DeYoung and his histrionic vocal theatrics in “Mr. Roboto” and “Heavy Metal Poisoning.” And to be perfectly honest, I could never get through all of “Lorelei” without chortling about the guy’s head turning all around like a scene from The Exorcist. Luckily for us, DeYoung was replaced with Lawrence Gowan 20 years ago. With our own national treasure (and still considered the new guy) in place, all became right with the world (well, okay, maybe not the world, but this band anyway). Proving their worth as a relevant act in today’s muddled industry full of disposable heroes, 2017 saw the release of a new album of original material in the form of The Mission, and let me tell you, it’s a monster prog-fuelled masterpiece. If you have not yet witnessed a live performance by this vastly improved version, you simply must hit the PNE this summer, and not just for the mini-donuts and wiggle chips.
Tickets from $37.50 (plus PNE Fair Gate Admission)
10. Drab Majesty at Astoria – Tuesday, August 27
Facebook/Drab MajestyIf you turned down your opportunity to see Drab Majesty on their last run through town when they were inexplicably cast as the opener for blackgazers Deafheaven, here’s your chance to check out what you missed. Deb Demure and touring sidekick Mona D are back, and this time, they hold the well-deserved slot as headliners. For the uninitiated, this musical project comes across as a resplendent blend of ’80s-era dreampop soundscapes combined with futuristic, otherworldly electronica. Expect to hear cuts from DM’s brand spankin’ new release Modern Mirror on this outing. And yes, here is where I remind you to do yourself (and the artist) a favour by digging some cash out of your wallet to purchase this new spinner at the show. Just look at that tiny little measly ticket price! You can afford some hard copy too. You’ll thank me later.