Twenty years ago this month I did a Local Motion story on a band called the Spirit Merchants that ran in the Dec. 16-22 issue of the Straight.

That might not seem like the type of colossal journalistic landmark worth revisiting two decades later, but the Spirit Merchants were not your average Vancouver group. It featured Steve Dawson and Zesse Zubot, who were 22 and 20 years old at the time, and both have gone on to make amazing contributions to the local music scene.

Twenty-five years ago tomorrow—on December 19, 1989—Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson played the 86 Street Music Hall.

For me, it didn't get any better than that. I'd been a huge fan of Hunter ever since I first heard his old band, Mott the Hoople, and Ronson...well, if you liked David Bowie in the '70s you liked him.

Hunter and Ronson had been collaborating for years, starting with Hunter's self-titled 1975 solo album, the one with that awesome version of "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" (not to be confused with Great White's version, referred to below).

When they came to Van they were touring behind the YUI Orta album, which I really loved, especially the track "Women's Intuition".

Southern-rock heroes Lynyrd Skynyrd have just announced a show at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver.

And it's on a Friday, which is pretty close to a "Saturday Night Special."

As anyone who's followed the band from its early-'70s beginnings knows, Skynyrd's story is composed of the highest highs and lowest lows.

The lowest was the bizarre 1977 plane crash that killed original singer Ronnie Van Zant and fiercely talented guitarist Steve Gaines, as well as Gaines' backup-singer sister Cassie and the group's road manager, Dean Kilpatrick.

Check out good ol' Steve-O goin' to town with some slide on "T For Texas" back in '77.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has made some silly-ass moves over the years, nominating lame-o acts like Chic and inducting Cat Stevens while leaving more deserving nominees such as Link Wray and Deep Purple--artists who actually rock--out in the cold.

Well, just yesterday the Rock Hall took a sizeable step away from being perceived as total bumbling idiots by finally inducting legendary Texas guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band Double Trouble into its hallowed institution.

Just because the last horror movie I saw (The Babadook, above) was 2014's best doesn't mean it was a great year for horror. All told, I reviewed 21 fright flicks this year—if you count comedy trash like A Haunted House 2, actioners like RoboCop, and sci-fi/monster epics like Godzilla—and recommended just three of 'em.

Yep, I'm a tough critic.

So here's my ratings, from killer to crap. Please keep in mind that I only reviewed movies that were released in theatres in Vancouver, so all those great horror flicks that weren't released in theatres in Vancouver are not included. Sorry about that.

Thanks to a tweet from the fine folks at JamBase I just caught wind of a video of David Gilmour performing the Pink Floyd classic "Wish You Were Here" with some indie-rock band called Bombay Bicycle Club.

Hey, wasn't that the name of a Vancouver nightclub back in the day? Sounds familiar.

Anyway, Gilmour performed with BBC last Saturday at London's Earls Court because it was the last-ever gig at the famed venue before it gets demolished. Pink Floyd had played there many times over the years, and recorded live there as well.

If you were big fan of guitar-based rock in the '70s and your head wasn't too far up your ass you probably listened to Robin Trower, the bluesy British picker who released a string of soulful albums heavy on the Hendrix that went gold on the charts and in my rock-lovin' heart as well.

Now Fender guitars has issued the Robin Trower signature Stratocaster, and guitar technician Greg Koch has shot a video demonstrating how awesome it is.

I like the way he integrates little bits of Deep Purple's "Woman From Tokyo" and Dick Dale's "Miserlou" into the demo. He also throws in some riffs from Trower's "Bridge of Sighs" and "Day of the Eagle" in case you forgot who the model was named after.

Steve Hackett, the British guitar legend who played Vancouver last night, just tweeted a picture of himself at Jericho Beach.

"Last gig of the N. America tour in Vancouver was tremendous...", he said. "Today visited the special area where I lived at age 7."

Hackett lived in Vancouver for four months when his parents moved here from England in 1957.

Just imagine how the local music scene might have benefited if he hadn't moved back so soon!

At the Vogue Theatre last night former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and his killer band performed the best-loved songs from his old group's '70s heyday.

Those included "The Fountain of Salmacis" from 1971's Nursery Cryme, the seven-part "Supper's Ready" from 1972's Foxtrot, "Firth of Fifth" from my personal fave, 1973's Selling England By the Pound, "Fly on a Windshield" from 1974's double-album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and "Squonk" from 1976's Trick of the Tail.

Hey, what about 1975?

Genesis freaks will be getting their fill of the band's "golden age" tonight at the Vogue Theatre's Genesis Extended show. That's when former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett leads his touring band in material from the prog-rock group's '70s heyday, when it featured him, singer Peter Gabriel, drummer Phil Collins, keyboardist Tony Banks, and bassist Mike Rutherford.

When I interviewed Hackett recently, in advance of the Vancouver gig, I asked him if there was any possibility of that magical lineup ever reforming for an album or tour. He told me that he had been spending time with his old bandmates, but that their projects had been "strictly archival" in nature. "I think a reunion with the music is easier than a reunion of the original perpetrators," he told me. 

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