The new year has barely kicked in, but there's already a fair batch of fine concerts lined up for Vancouver fans of white-hot blues and '70s-style guitar-rock.
At the top of my list is the April 10 Orpheum appearance by Joe Bonamassa, the American blues-rocker who's been blowing guitar freaks away ever since he was a little kid. Rolling Stone might not consider him among the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, but what do they know? They put Rory Gallagher at number 57 for shite's sake!
If you're big on the blues but have a hankering for something a little more refined, set your sights on the legendary B.B. King, who brings his 87-year-old self to the River Rock Show Theatre on March 8. If you've never seen him strangle Lucille to the classic strains of "The Thrill is Gone", put it on your bucket list pronto.
For something a lot heavier--but still with a mighty blues undertone--check out drum great Jason Bonham and his Led Zeppelin Experience at the Commodore on February 13. That Georgia Straight presentation will see the son of Bonzo playing all those Zep tunes you never got to see live at that reunion show in London a few years back. Or at least some of them, I suspect. I'm putting my request for Physical Graffiti's "The Rover" through right now.
Still in the '70s mode, you've got yer Fleetwood Mac at Rogers Arena on May 19. That Lindsay Buckingham plays a pretty mean guitar, what with that freaky fingerpicking of his. I'm hoping that in memory of former member Bob Welch—who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound last June—they might do the old chestnut, "Hypnotized".
Keeping up the poppy vibe, one of the most underrated singer-songwriters around--Marshall Crenshaw--plays the Vancouver FanClub Feb. 28 on a coheadlining bill with former Blaster Dave Alvin and his band the Guilty Men. If you haven't checked out that new venue on the Granville Strip yet, have a go. I had a good time there in September when Los Straitjackets hit town.
I'd also recommend Soundgarden at the Queen E. Theatre on Feb. 10, but if you don't already have tickets to that one you're S.O.L. Their show at Rogers Arena in the summer of 2011 was not too shabby at all.
And last up, if you've got wheels and feel like some stateside action, Hot Tuna plays an acoustic show at Seattle's Triple Door on Feb. 11. Guitarist-vocalist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady are awesome in electric form, but take 'em anyway you can get 'em.