Cool concert lineup heats up the hot season

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      There are weeks—or more like months after endless months—when it’s easy to roll out of bed in the morning and ask yourself why the hell you live in Vancouver. This June has, like many others before it, been one of them. As if things haven’t been grotesque enough, now comes word from the professional soothsayers at AccuWeather that this Saturday night will be the coldest on record since 1940.

      But sometimes good things happen to good people. Take, for example, this summer’s concert lineup, which couldn’t be more packed. Remember how, 10 years ago, nine out of 10 touring acts played Seattle and then promptly did a U-turn, making local music fans wonder why the hell they had to be born in Canada. The next three months promise to be so busy, you’re going to be spending more time rocking out than watching reruns of That ’70s Show.

      And if you’re lucky, you might also be rewarded with a day or two of sun. Except, of course, during the outdoor events, during which it will no doubt piss like a Lasixed-to-the-tits Seabiscuit on a diet of Budweiser and logging-camp coffee.

      Mark Knopfler

      Give Mark Knopfler credit for resisting the urge to pimp his legacy on memory lane. Where his fellow ’80s survivors have spent the past couple of years cashing in with mega-reunions, you won’t see Dire Straits on a Fossils of Rock tour with Genesis, the Police, and Duran Duran. Instead, Knopfler continues to concentrate on a solo career that’s given us tastefully understated outings such as The Ragpicker’s Dream and Kill to Get Crimson. Still, hands up all those who’ll be secretly praying to the classic-rock gods for “Money for Nothing”.
      When and where: July 3 at the Orpheum Theatre.
      Suggested retail price: $95.50/75.50 plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: An MTV T-shirt emblazoned with the mug of mousy (but strangely sexy) pioneering VJ Martha Quinn.
      Fan profile: Seniors who’ve set every station in the car to JACK FM.
      Appropriate attire: Neon headbands in all the classic Greed Decade colours, including electric-avenue orange, manic-Monday magenta, and ghostbusters green.
      What you’ll walk away with: A nostalgic longing for the days when all you really wanted was your MTV.


      Kid Rock

      He claims to be straight out the trailer, but Kid Rock is no white-trash dummy. When the Detroit native first exploded onto the charts with 1998’s Devil Without a Cause, he positioned himself in the then-shit-hot category of rap-rock.

      Seeing the writing on the wall long before fat old Fred Durst did, Rock subsequently began dumping everything from southern rock to shit-kicking country into his mix, throwing the party open to Hank Williams II rednecks and “Freebird” Bic-flickers. But what’s smartest about Robert James Ritchie is that—as his Commodore stand last November proved—he understands nothing entertains like a freak-flag-flying spectacle.

      When and where: July 6 at the PNE Forum.
      Suggested retail price: $69/41 plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: Photographic evidence that, even though Joe C. was only 3-foot-9, he did indeed have a 10-foot dick.
      Fan Profile: Rusted-out Airstream dwellers who dream of winning the Lotto 6/49 so they can buy a bigger rusted-out Airstream.
      Appropriate attire: Schaefer-stained wife-beaters.
      What you’ll walk away with: The astonishing realization that Canadian bad-asses are every bit as trashy as their American counterparts.

      Stevie Wonder

      There are musical giants, and then there are unassailable legends. Despite the occasional misstep—what the hell was he thinking with “Ebony and Ivory”?—there’s no arguing which category Stevie Wonder falls into.

      Over a five-decade run, the American-music icon has been hailed as a genius by everyone from Justin Timberlake to Kanye West, covered by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, sampled by Coolio, and generally worshipped by anyone who cares about American popular music. He also had a song written about his penis, which is more than Ron Jeremy can say.

      When and where: July 12 at G.M. Place.
      Suggested retail price: $119/89/69/49 plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: A beat-up copy of the cult classic “A Blind Man’s Penis” by John Trubee and the Ugly Janitors of America.
      Fan profile: Everyone from ’60s soul brothers to ’70s funk kings to ’80s OGs to ’90s Lollapalosers.
      Appropriate attire: Cornrowed hair, complete with the beads.
      What you’ll walk away with: The thrill of having just seen God.

      Vancouver folk music festival

      Despite what Peter, Paul and Mary might have led you to believe, no one ever said folkies were nice all the time. Hell, just this past year the Vancouver Folk Music Festival showed long-time director Dugg Simpson the door when they opted not to renew his contract.

      But before you get working on your homemade picket sign, consider that this year’s fest sounds better than a flaxseed-flavoured black-mushroom veggie pattie, with highlights including Aimee Mann, Michael Franti, Broken Social Scene’s Jason Collett, and Victoria-based queen of drunk-country Carolyn Mark. And don’t worry: with Ferron, Ozomatli, and Martin Sexton also on hand, there will be plenty for the helicopter dancers and Birkenstocks crowd as well.

      When and where: July 18 to 20 at Jericho Beach Park.
      Suggested retail price: Various prices plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: A bus pass to Commercial Drive, which, for the duration of the folk fest, will be deader than Kerrisdale on Sunday at midnight.
      Fan profile: Bike-riding vegans who only wear fair-trade clothes made out of organically grown hemp.
      Appropriate attire: Fair-trade clothes made out of organically grown hemp.
      What you’ll walk away with: If past folk fests are anything to go by, a third-degree sunburn.

      Boy George

      In hindsight, no one was more of a maverick in the ’80s than Culture Club’s Boy George. At a time when Ronald Reagan was preaching a return to conservative family values, George O’Dowd got off the plane from England looking like Divine after a scrag fight with Carmen Miranda.

      He also made it safe for grown men to wear muumuus. So while he’s done sweet dick all since “Karma Chameleon”, you will still show respect.

      When and where: July 21 at the Commodore Ballroom.
      Suggested retail price: $65 plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: A shrink-wrapped 12-inch of “Calling Your Name” by Marilyn, who, as time has proven, wasn’t fit to smell Boy George’s farts.
      Fan profile: Amazon shoppers who own two copies of Like, Omigod! The ’80s Pop Culture Box (Totally).
      Appropriate attire: Consult the video for “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” and then augment your ensemble with a good pair of sneakers, because you’ll be running like hell the second the loogans on Granville Street spot you.
      What you’ll walk away with: If you’re unlucky, a bridge-and-tunnel-people-inflicted beating.

      Judas Priest

      Like the common cockroach and Abe Vigoda, heavy metal has proved impossible to kill off. Sure, it’s fallen on hard times over the years; blame the spandexed dandies of Poison, Ratt, and Cinderella for that, not to mention This Is Spinal Tap and the rise of grunge.

      But as Iron Maiden proved earlier this month, one of the most maligned genres in the history of pop music is back with a screaming vengeance. A decade ago, Beavis and Butt-head were the only heshers who cared about Judas Priest; today, Rob Halford and company are again shaking the rafters of hockey rinks. Get ready to hoist the goat horns.

      When and where: July 24 at G.M. Place.
      Suggested retail price: $69.50/49.50/35.50 plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: Two troy ounces of pure British steel.
      Fan profile: A liquored-up-on-lemon-gin Beavis and his riotously stoned buddy Butt-head.
      Appropriate attire: Enough leather and studs to impress the Saturday-night crowd at the PumpJack Pub.
      What you’ll walk away with: Irreparable hearing damage.

      Pemberton Festival

      More than just a festival, Pemberton is an indication that we’ve officially arrived as a player on the pop-music world stage. Jay-Z, Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Flaming Lips, Serj Tankian, Wolfmother, and 90 or so other acts, all in one place just a couple hours’ drive from Vancouver? Please, God, don’t let this be a dream.

      When and where: July 25 to 27 in Pemberton, B.C.
      Suggested retail price: Various prices plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: A season’s pass to Whistler-Blackcomb.
      Fan profile: Anyone with an unhealthy attachment to their loaded-to-capacity iPod.
      Appropriate attire: High-end sunglasses, considering the amount of star wattage on display.
      What you’ll walk away with: A mental note to cancel next summer’s scheduled European vacation, only because it might clash with Pemberton Festival ’09.

      Crue fest

      Fess up: for the longest time, you didn’t just hate Mí¶tley Crí¼e, you actively despised it. And as anyone who’s suffered through the band’s cover of “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” can attest, there was good reason for that.

      Then along came Neil Strauss’s The Dirt, packed with stories of hot-tub orgies, wedding-day heroin binges, and filthy sex with groupies nicknamed Bullwinkle. Now you’d give your right testicle—or left hooter—to be any member of Mí¶tley Crí¼e. Except, that is, for the potbellied pig that is Vince Neil.

      When and where: August 11 at G.M. Place.
      Suggested retail price: $85/65/39.50 plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: A grainy VHS dub of Vince Neil sticking his decidedly un–Tommy Lee–sized pork sword into Janine Lindemulder.
      Fan profile: Reformed hair farmers who know every line of dialogue from the horn-honking scene in Pam and Tommy Lee: Stolen Honeymoon.
      Appropriate attire: Sunset Strip circa-’86 chic.
      What you’ll walk away with: Shame, which, incidentally, didn’t stop you from loving The Dirt.

      Radiohead’s Thom Yorke (second from left) demonstrates the look he usually reserves for concertgoers who scream out requests for "Creep".


      There are those who’ll rightly suggest that Radiohead is the most overrated alternative-rock act this side of the Mars Volta and the Icelandic lunatic known as Bjí¶rk. But even if you get the feeling that Radiohead is one of those bands that people like only because they’re supposed to, singer Thom Yorke and his fellow sonic impressionists are, while often impenetrable, at least more interesting than, say, Hinder.

      When and where: August 19 at Thunderbird Stadium.
      Suggested retail price: $55 plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: Concrete proof that, despite all evidence to the contrary, Thom Yorke was not separated at birth from Martin Short’s Jackie Rogers Junior.
      Fan profile: Cerebral chin-strokers whose iPod alt-rock folder consists of nothing but Kid A, In Rainbows, and those early-oughties Radiohead records that no one but Radiohead cared about.
      Appropriate attire: A well-worn copy of Pablo Honey, just to show you were into Radiohead long before the rest of the planet parachuted onto the bandwagon.
      What you’ll walk away with: A new appreciation for Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation, which did far more interesting things with guitars than Radiohead has ever dreamed of.

      Jack Johnson

      With apologies to Sleep Through the Static, Jack Johnson’s latest exercise in Folger’s-mellow MOR, fuck sleeping through the static—the big question is how do you keep awake for a night with the man who makes James Taylor seem like GG Allin?

      And no, more weed isn’t the answer. All that shit does is get us obsessively thinking about tracking down pancakes, bananas, banana-flavoured pancakes, and pancake-flavoured bananas. Not to mention banana-pancake-flavoured weed rolled in banana-pancake batter.

      When and where: August 21 at Thunderbird Stadium.
      Suggested retail price: $46 plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: Enough Maui Wowee–brand weed to fill Oahu’s Diamond Head crater.
      Fan profile: Easy listening Yaletown condo dwellers, perma-mellow wave-riders, and the stoned-to-the-tits beach bums you normally see passed out in the blackberry brambles at Wreck.
      Appropriate attire: Ocean Pacific.
      What you’ll walk away with: A burning desire to head directly to the nearest IHOP for banana pancakes topped with an Everest-sized mountain of weed.

      3 Doors down

      There are questions that defy easy answers. For example, if Chad Kroeger has enough money for a Lamborghini, why won’t he spring for a cab when he’s out at the bar? Is there a mega-plant where they assemble acts like Creed, Staind, and Theory of a Nickelfault? And if no one outside of CFOX listeners can name a single 3 Doors Down song, how in the hell are they packing the Garage?

      When and where: August 26 at G.M. Place.
      Suggested retail price: $59.50/49.50 plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: Dinner with Daughtry, who quite frankly we don’t know any songs by either.
      Fan profile: Suburbanites who drive all the way to La Casa Gelato from bridge-and-tunnel-land and then order vanilla.
      Appropriate attire: Backwards baseball caps and Oakley sunglasses.
      What you’ll walk away with: A mental note to do more listening to rock radio so you can actually name a 3 Doors Down song.


      Have you ever wished you could go back in time to get an in-the-flesh look at the first cavemen? If so, the troglodytes known as Liam and Noel Gallagher are the next best thing. Having missed the Billboard memo that their last North American hit was 1995’s “Wonderwall”, Oasis’s disturbingly hirsute siblings still aspire to filling hockey rinks on this side of the pond.

      Perhaps that’s because they’ve figured out that it’s easier to dodge flying footwear at venues like G.M. Place than at Richard’s on Richards. Speaking of which, please don’t throw shoes at the Cro-Magnons, even if their tendency to take root on-stage makes them an easy target.

      When and where: August 27 at G.M. Place.
      Suggested retail price: $69.50/59.50/49.50 plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: Fire.
      Fan profile: Have you ever seen The Clan of the Cave Bear?
      Appropriate attire: Glue-on monobrows, clubs, and sabre-toothed tiger pelts.
      What you’ll walk away with: A gnawing desire to eat raw meat off a stick.

      Stone Temple Pilots

      It’s funny how time can alter reality. A decade-and-a-half ago, the Stone Temple Pilots were the biggest punch line in alternative America, mocked in song by the likes of Pavement and publicly derided as the Stone Temple Toilets by underground acts such as Cop Shoot Cop.

      Given the fanfare that’s surrounded the group’s reunion, you’d think someone had resurrected John Lennon and George Harrison and put the Beatles back together. Or at least reformed the Monkees.

      When and where: August 30 at G.M. Place.
      Suggested retail price: $66/56/37 plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: Conclusive evidence that, despite what they claim, not only did Scott Weiland and bassist Robert DeLeo not meet at a Black Flag show, they in fact wouldn’t know Ron Reyes from Ron Howard.
      Fan profile: If they had actually heard of Pavement, Pavement haters.
      Appropriate attire: A Velvet Revolver tour jacket accessorized with Axl Rose cornrows, ball-hugging bike shorts, and a red bandanna.
      What you’ll walk away with: A profound sadness over the plight of Mudhoney.

      Simple Plan

      Why, dear lord Jesus—not to mention Saint Vicious—have you forsaken us? As if Good Charlotte and Blink-182 weren’t enough of an indignity to self-respecting Warped Tour fans, Montreal pop-punkers Simple Plan have graduated to arenas.

      Meanwhile, the dudes in the Sainte Catherines are lucky enough to keep themselves in Kraft Dinner, or whatever the hell they call it in Quebec.
      When and where: September 3 at the Pacific Coliseum.
      Suggested retail price: $39.50/29.50 plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: Joel Madden’s head on a stick.
      Fan profile: Tweens who have nothing better to rage against than the fact that Hot Topic has yet to open a store in Canada.
      Appropriate attire: Dickies.
      What you’ll walk away with: The thought that a Blink-182 reunion might not be so bad after all.


      Because Jimi Hendrix had the good taste to choke on his own vomit and Eric Clapton at some point learned the value of restraint, we’re going to place the blame (deserved or not) on Carlos Santana. Right from the point when the Mexican-born Grammy magnet surfaced on the pop-culture radar with his now-fabled Woodstock appearance, he sent a message: there’s no such thing as overplaying.

      While the summer-of-’69 hippies wallowed in the mud, Santana spent nearly 12 minutes soloing his way through “Soul Sacrifice”. So if you love the sight of fellow concertgoers giving ’er on the air guitar, this gig promises to be better than Yngwie Malmsteen covering Stevie Ray Vaughan.

      When and where: September 7 at G.M. Place.
      Suggested retail price: $85.50/59.50/39.50 plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: Guitar lessons with Joe Satriani.
      Fan profile: Urban professionals who secretly wish they were Brother Jake.
      Appropriate attire: A modified porkpie hat.
      What you’ll walk away with: Sore fingers from playing along to Santana on your imaginary Gibson.

      Janet Jackson

      The truly scary thing is that she’s not the weirdest Jackson. With Michael’s face seemingly on the verge of melting like the Wicked Witch of the West, Janet has survived Super Bowl 2004 to become the family’s reigning dance-pop superstar. At least until Tito gets his shit together.

      When and where: September 10 at G.M. Place.
      Suggested retail price: $129.75/79.75/49.75 plus service charges.
      What we’d be willing to trade tickets for: Justin Timberlake’s nuts, for no other reason than the fact that he didn’t have the balls to own up to his obviously willing participation in Titty Tarpgate (aka “the wardrobe malfunction”).
      Fan profile: Rhythmically challenged crackers who could no more re-create Janet Jackson’s dance routine in “Rhythm Nation” than fly to Neverland Ranch on their own steam.
      Appropriate attire: Kevlar-brand bras.
      What you’ll walk away with: Assuming the person next to you gets the sudden urge to relive history, severe nipple trauma.



      Mat Loup

      Jun 24, 2008 at 4:57pm

      <em>Submitted via e-mail.</em>
      As an ex-pat Brit, after reading Mike Usinger's preview of Radiohead's upcoming Vancouver show at UBC Thunderbird Stadium I felt compelled to disagree in writing with what must be one of the most deliberately slanted critiques of the band I’ve heard in a long time.
      &quot;...Radiohead is one of those bands that people like only because they're supposed to&quot; he writes, and &quot;There are those who'll rightly suggest that Radiohead is the most overrated alternative-rock act this side of the Mars Volta.&quot;
      True, it's more fun for a music critic to slag off Radiohead than worship them as the latter is what a lot of people seem to do, but without dragging the 'prog-rock genius / deluded self-indulgence' argument surrounding the Mars Volta into the debate I would like to explain why I think Radiohead are held in such high esteem, as someone who has probably followed their musical development more closely than one of my distant transatlantic friends.
      They are a band that have continually redefined themselves, not as a deliberate product of the shifting shapes of the music industry but very much through their own desire to disown the guitars that built them and experiment with other instruments and sounds. This has led to them producing 7 full-length studio albums, all of which sound completely different to their predecessor. Even the understated In Rainbows is quite removed from the heavier sounds of <em>Hail To The Thief</em>.
      Despite definite proof that Thom Yorke suffered from an over-influence of the work of Autechre and Aphex Twin, <em>Kid A</em> is recognised as an excellent (and quite different sounding) electronic album, even by some of my friends who are very much devoted members of the Electronic Music Snobbery Club.
      I cannot think of any other popular rock band that made such a distinct genre-shift... and certainly not Sonic Youth, who made 15 full-length studio albums (and many more live recordings on top of that). As a big Sonic Youth fan, I struggle to think of what <em>Daydream Nation's</em> 'far more interesting things with guitars' are that you speak of...
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      <em>Michael Hoare</em><br />
      <em>[Angry Radiohead Fan]</em>