Get the lowdown on Vancouver's music scene

The Piccadilly Pub hasn’t exactly been a buzz-worthy spot in the past few years, but there was a time when the Pender Street bar played host to then up-and-comers like the White Stripes, Mando Diao, and TV on the Radio. Since early November, the Pic’s doors have been closed, but its new owners—Harj and Al Hadani—are hoping that when the club reopens at the end of the month, it will regain some of its former glory. Harj Hadani told the Straight that the Pic is undergoing extensive renovations, including the installation of a new floor, new tables and chairs, new bars, and a pair of large-screen televisions. In its previous incarnation, the Pic had trouble with flooding. According to Hadani, that won’t be an issue in the future. “A $5,000 plumbing bill, later, it’s all fixed,” Hadani said.

Magnetized Productions will be booking live acts to play the club on Friday and Saturday nights, and Hadani said there are plans to have Thursday be a hip-hop night. The Pic is scheduled to reopen next Sunday (December 31) for a New Year’s Eve gig by the local AC/DC tribute act Thunderstruck. In addition to the music, the Pic will be serving up food, starting at 11 a.m. daily. Knowing full well what motivates many Vancouverites, Hadani promised free beer as a grand-opening incentive for those who order from the Pic’s kitchen.


A new initiative to help Eastside Youth has been operating out of Ray-Cam Cooperative Community Centre since the beginning of August. Vancouver Youth Radio is part of a project called the Hastings Street Media Lab, which seeks to give creative opportunities to Vancouver’s at-risk youth. The project, which began with creative director Bob Gilson working with a group of teenagers to produce a one-minute PSA on racism, is a round-the-clock Web station staffed by youth. Gilson said most of the content consists of Canadian independent acts. “We’re working with Scratch Records,” Gilson told the Straight. “They have a stable of local and North American indie bands they promote, and they supply us with new CDs every month. We have some mainstream pop and rock and rap, but we’re gradually replacing a lot of that stuff with local band content.”

More than 30 kids are involved with Vancouver Youth Radio. “There’s a core group of about a dozen who have really taken ownership of the station and the project,” Gilson said. “Every week one or two new faces show up at the studio. We seem to have attracted, since the Indie Recording Session, quite a few more musical youth who want to take advantage of the equipment and music gear we have at the studio.” The Hastings Street Indie Recording Sessions was a band competition sponsored by VYR on November 24 at Ray-Cam. Judges, including Danny Jones of Scratch Records, David Engleman of Rocky Mountain Sound, and Bing Jensen formerly of the band Brain Damage, chose the Disgruntled Toddlers out of six bands. The trio of Grade 12 girls from Britannia secondary school took home a recording contract for 500 copies of a two-song CD release. “I’m thrilled they won, ’cause they all live within three or four blocks of Ray-Cam,” Gilson said.

The Disgruntled Toddlers perform at the Britannia Community Centre rink on December 29 along with other groups as part of a benefit concert, Keep the Beat on Ice, with proceeds going to War Child. Visit the station at .

> Shawn Conner