9 must-see picks for Olio Festival 2010

Olio Festival second year looks stronger than its first. A preview of some of the shows not to be missed.

Credit: Flickr / Noah Adams

Vancouver punk band White Lung to perform at Olio Festival 2010

Vancouver punk band White Lung to perform at Olio Festival 2010

Another killer lineup of art, comedy, music and film for Vancouver’s youth-centric Olio Festival


Recently, I used the word “hip” in a freelance piece I wrote about a restaurant and my editor got mad at me. She said it’s a lazy and easy word that says nothing. I saw her point. It’s not terribly colourful. So I’m going to refrain from using that word when it comes to previewing the Olio Festival. But hopefully you’re picking up what I’m putting down. (I have a thesaurus close at hand.)


Olio Festival


September 23–26, 2010


Venues around Vancouver


Facebook | Twitter

Now in its second year, Olio Festival is the youth-centric celebration of art, comedy, music and film. Olio showcases the fruits of labour produced by a largely under-35 Vancouver crowd, who present themselves in an aesthetically pleasing way. The results are an inspiring, vibrant celebration of good times that decends upon our city for four days.


Here’s my list of what not to miss.


Babe Rainbow, dub step

MUSIC: Babe Rainbow

This Vancouver-based man-about-town makes moody ambient music that’s been labelled both dubstep and “surf-step” (his own word). He made a video directed by some fancy name in London and also played at PS1 in New York, a.k.a. the happiest place on earth, last summer.

Friday at the Rickshaw

Babe Rainbow on Myspace


Chad VanGaalen

MUSIC: Chad VanGaalen

This Calgarian records music in his basement, using very lo-fi technology. The results give it an intimate, nostalgic feel that you haven’t heard since the ’90s. He’s also one of the bigger names to perform at the festival (on the same bill as Babe Rainbow), so do what you can to secure your spot in line.

Friday at the Rickshaw

Chad VanGaalen on Myspace


Graham Clark, Laugh Gallery

COMEDY: Laugh Gallery

This was once a weekly comedy night at the long departed El Cocal, which was the best place to catch standup in town (Zach Galifianakis was a regular). Now, the Laugh Gallery pops up here and there, making it all the more special. Hosted by the super nice and extra funny Graham Clark and featuring his Stop Podcasting Yourself co-host, Dave Shumka, Jane Stanton and a bunch more.

Friday at the Rickshaw

Laugh Gallery Blog


Hard Drugs

MUSIC: Hard Drugs

This Vancouver husband-and-wife duo wrote a rock opera about the Downtown Eastside, which recounts the beauty and light that can be found in the darkness. Then the wife got a job in New York and they lived there for a few years, honing their album and live performance skills. After a few years, they came back and got a bunch of media coverage and are performing even more. Watching them makes you proud to live in here.

Saturday at the Railway

Hard Drugs on Myspace


Paulius Ka, Small Victories, Booooooom

ART: Small Victories

Boooooooom.com founder and Vancouverite Jeff Hamada knows what’s going on. He gets more than 2 million hits on his art blog a month. So obviously he’s going to put on a great show. Small Victories involves 4×6 snaps by photographers from around the world.

Until Sept 26th at the Little Mountain

Small Victories on Boooooooom.com


MUSIC: The Very Best

The name says it all. These guys play a dizzying mix of pop, hiphop and traditional Malawian music, where the lead singer is originally from. Apparently, last time they played Vancouver, the vibe was so intense, the entire crowd left horny.

Thursday at Fortune Sound Club

The Very Best on Myspace


Rain City Chronicles, Storytelling

COMEDY/ART: Rain City Chronicles

A local live storytelling event in which each storyteller is given seven minutes to tell a story based on a theme. This time around, it’s surprise!

Friday at the Anza



White Lung, Vancouver punk

MUSIC: White Lung

A next-big-thing Vancouver punk band whose lead singer is a very funny Vice magazine writer.

Friday at the Astoria

White Lung on Myspace



FILM: ‘A Gun to the Head’

This indie crime thriller had big buzz when it debuted at Toronto Film Festival last year. It was directed by Blaine Thurier of the New Pornographers and stars my friends and local actors/comedians Paul Anthony, of Talent Time, and Ali Liebert, of Harper’s Island (both will wow you, not only because they’re easy on the eyes).

Saturday at the Rio

A Gun to the Head website