From a legendary English rock group to the return of millennial-pop royalty, it's all happening this month
1. Snarky Puppy at Commodore Ballroom – Tuesday, October 1
Facebook/Snarky PuppyJam band fanatics, get ready to rejoice as Snarky Puppy will have you hitting the Commodore’s fabulous hardwood two times tonight–if you’re lucky. Yes... two performances on one night. Granted, the 7 p.m. gig has been completely sold out for some time now, but the link below will provide you with tickets for the 10 p.m. show. It’s your opportunity to check out the Grammy Award-winning group boasting somewhere around 25 members at any given time. Yeah, 25! Call it a constantly changing “polyphonic spree” Rolodex of jazz-funk-fusion-pop-rock-world musicians, but this fluid collective is surprisingly tight, all things considered. I somehow expect an emergency construction crew would likely be on standby if the stage needs some sturdy reinforcement to accommodate this crazy party.
2. Delain and Amorphis at Venue – Saturday, October 5
Facebook/DelainWhen anyone mentions the band Delain, I recall leaning up against the front rail at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland last year, waiting for my favourite musician to take the stage. During that excruciating eternity, I was befriended by a Marxist vegan chef who proceeded to regale me with his plans to rise at the crack of dawn the following morning to fly to Holland in an attempt to become Delain singer Charlotte Wessels’ personal cook… or open up a restaurant for her, or something like that. Honestly, I stopped listening after awhile because I had to turn my head as he kept spitting on me when he talked. That was my introduction to the Dutch symphonic metal band, and I let it go at that. Amorphis, on the other hand, I know a little bit more about. This Finnish outfit has been utilizing their progressive-melodic-death-metal talents to draw from the Kalevala (the epic poem of Finland, instrumental in the development of the nation’s identity) for nearly 30 years now. So if you’re into Scandinavian folklore (as I know many of you are… c’mon!), this will be your jam. Adding to the festivities, the prog-goth stylings of very special guest, Anneke van Giersbergen (former vocalist/songwriter of The Gathering) will serve as a formidable opener for what promises to be a tremendous Saturday night triple bill.
Tickets from $41
3. DragonForce at The Red Room – Monday, October 7
Facebook/DragonForceFeaturing a tasty combination of strawberries, ginger, cranberry juice, frozen yogurt and dragonfruit, you can say without hesitation that DragonForce is the ultimate smoothie on Jugo Juice’s menu. Wait, no? Oh, sorry, they’re a British power metal band. My bad. Fine then, let’s talk about blistering arpeggiated guitar solos. Uh huh. Video game-influenced electronic sounds? They’ve got that. Fantasy-themed lyrics? Hmm, yeah, okay. Quick pitch-bends? Sure. That’s all well and good, but the drink sounds substantially more refreshing. If you must, go ahead and dig into their brand new album, Extreme Power Metal, to get a taste of, well… extreme power metal. I’m about done with this. Sorry, BRB. I’m heading out for a smoothie.
Tickets from $32.77
4. Bastille at UBC Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre – Tuesday, October 8
Facebook/BastilleFor a group that’s been around just a touch shy of a decade, Bastille have sure made their musical mark, not just on the indie-synth-pop scene, but within the visual arts as well. These Londoners have appeared on close to 40 television, cinema or video game soundtracks, from How to Get Away With Murder and The Vampire Diaries to Coronation Street and EastEnders. These guys have also managed to sell over nine million records worldwide, gathering up a staggering 32 award nominations (winning six). Plus, they’ve certainly paid their touring dues, slogging their way through pretty much every single U.K. music festival, including Glastonbury, Isle of Wight and Reading. I’m exhausted just typing out those stats. But now it’s your turn to do a little work by picking up their most recent release, Doom Days (already featuring four well-received singles), and getting yourself out to UBC to catch what NME deems one of Britain’s most influential bands.
Tickets from $52.95
5. Jonas Brothers at Rogers Arena – Friday, October 11
Facebook/Jonas BrothersI’m pretty sure I’ve told you how I’m boy band intolerant, right? Add the controlling factor of Disney to the mix and I run out the door so fast, I break land speed records. As such, the Jonas Brothers sit in the upper echelon of my general disregard for today’s popsters. I mean, you’ve got yourself Mr. Priyanka Chopra (yeesh, that wedding ceremony lasted at least 17 weeks on Entertainment Tonight), Mr. Game of Thrones, and then… um… that other guy, and really, why am I even bothering here? This show is nearly sold out, so my opinion is likely invalid in the grand scheme of things. Toss in Bebe Rexha as an opener… see where this thing goes, if it’s meant to be, it’ll be, it’ll be… an outing chock-a-block full of millennial formula. But if there’s one thing I’ve gotta give up to Bebe, it’s her resourcefulness. Remember how she famously complained how nobody would dress her for an awards show? I think she ended up getting about 734 offers for a free designer gown out of her rant. Brilliant manoeuvre, girlfriend! I’m giving her two thumbs up on that scam while I figure out how to get in on the game.
Tickets from $97.35
6. Steve Hackett at Vogue Theatre – Friday, October 11
Facebook/Steve HackettOn the opposite end of the spectrum from the Jo Bros, I’ve gotta ask... are there any Genesis fans out there in my readership? I mean, the progressive Genesis of the ’70s, not the pop Genesis of the ’80s (not that there’s anything wrong with that–it’s fantastically great pop, unlike some other things that I should probably shut my mouth about). Well, the band’s seminal guitarist Steve Hackett intends to remind you of the glory days of true classic rock by performing the legendary album Selling England by the Pound, in… its… entirety! Yes, prog nerds, you read that correctly. If that weren’t enough, he’ll also be treating fans to several selections from one of his most popular solo releases, Spectral Mornings, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Also important to note is the addition of the masterful Craig Blundell on drums (Steven Wilson geeks, you’ve got this!) to his already impressive band lineup, and you’ve got yourself an evening of authentic progressive greatness. And so I beg the question: Why go see a boy band tonight when you can see real live musicians playing real instruments? Pfffftttt… c’mon already!
Tickets from $80.68
7. 54-40 at Commodore Ballroom – Friday, October 11 and Saturday, October 12
Facebook/54-40I’m telling you right now, forget about those infernal pumpkin spice lattes. You have been conditioned to believe you can’t live without them. Look, they’re just a trendy way of stating to the world, “Yeah, I’m in full acceptance of autumn, and I have absolutely no imagination.” No, you’re just filling yourself up with empty, sugar-loaded calories. Now, if you’re really wanting to get the season off to a sweet start without handing over your Starbucks card, get out to Granville’s Entertainment District to catch 54-40 on their annual residency. As many Vancouverites know, Thanksgiving simply does not start until 54-40 plays at the Commodore. This is a thing. It’s tradition. It’s your VanCity duty. Don’t let them down.
Tickets from $59.75; Friday; Saturday
8. The Who at Rogers Arena – Monday, October 21
Facebook/The WhoIf there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s people who won’t stop whining when a classic band comes to town, saying, “Oh, I don’t know. There’s only one or two members left from the original lineup. Seems like a cover band to me.” Are you seriously kidding me? Yeah, okay, there are some bands out there that are really pushing it when it comes to staking their claim (when there’s only one member from a somewhat classic lineup, but he didn’t join until the band’s fifth album after all the other guys ended up in rehab). However, in the case of The Who there are three important things I’ve got to say here. Firstly, two of their original members are dead and they’re never coming back, no matter how much you complain. Secondly, the two remaining members are Pete Freakin’ Townshend and Roger Freakin’ Daltrey. And thirdly, it’s THE WHO! What do you want? If you need me to up the ante a little bit here, may I remind you that one Zak Starkey will be manning the skins? If you need a refresher, that’s Ringo Starr’s kid (if you completely managed to miss out on seeing John’s kid earlier this year, or George’s kid, or even Paul himself, for that matter!). To add a bit of authenticity to this thing, he just so happens to have received his first drum kit at the age of eight from his godfather, some dude named Keith Moon. So yeah, this is kind of the real deal. Don’t snooze on this. Buy a ticket. Go see yourself some legends. Shut up already.
Tickets from $83.55
9. Jinjer at Rickshaw Theatre – Thursday, October 31
Facebook/JinjerAccording to Loudwire, the future of heaviness lies squarely in the hands of Jinjer. The Ukraine’s modern groove-metal frontrunners released their blazingly aggressive Micro EP this past January to critical and fan acclaim, and now they’re primed and ready to put out their full-length companion Macro just days before they arrive at Chinatown’s revered venue of all things heavy. The band is calling this new release a “monumental point in the story of Jinjer,” and if the album’s leadoff single and video “Judgement (& Punishment)” is any indication of their commitment to the genre, we’re all in for an evening of crushing vocals, menacing riffs, and astonishingly acute lyrical content.
Tickets from $21.26
10. Big Wreck at Commodore Ballroom – Thursday, October 31
Facebook/Big WreckI’ve been accused of having no soul in regards to my disdain for Big Wreck. Well yeah, sure, okay, be that as it may, I’m not here to dispute that fact. But let’s just say I never drank the Kool Aid that magically created these guys’ popularity. Somehow, a little song by the name of, well… “That Song” (jeez, original) became a massive hit back in the late ’90s with the banal lyrics “Man, I love that song… I really love that song… I love that song.” Guys, in comparison, you’re almost making Taylor Swift’s breakup lyrics sound articulate. Whatever. Man, people love this band… they really love this band… they love this band. Evidently, I am the only person on the planet who’s immune to their charm because their November 1st show sold out in mere minutes. But have no fear, aficionados of fist-pumping anthems, you can go see them on Halloween, and I know that’s your favourite night of the year to dress up like a bro and pretend to be all cool with the ladies. Knock yourself out. You do you.
Tickets from $57.25