Newt's top five Vancouver concerts of 2014

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      For me, it's always a good year for concerts when the Drive-By Truckers can be included in the year-end wrap-up, and their performance at the Vogue Theatre on April 22 was one of the two best gigs I attended in 2014. It helped that the Alabama/Georgia-based band was touring behind one of its finest albums ever, English Oceans, which was a shoo-in for my Top 10 of the year list. 

      The other best gig I attended in 2014 was Slash at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver on August 15. It was my first time at the venue since it changed its name from the Red Robinson Show Theatre–my petition to get it changed to Newt's Flaming Colossal Rockatorium didn't catch on–and it certainly lived up to the new moniker. Hard rock indeed, and the best kind. Not only was Slash himself on fire, but his bassist-vocalist, former Vancouverite Todd “Dammit” Kerns, totally earned the title of Most Rockin’ Canadian Bassist of the 21st Century.

      2014 was also the year I saw my first concert at the Rio Theatre, which has won me over as one of the coolest concert venues in town. It helped, of course, that the band I went to see there on January 24 was the North Mississippi Allstars, whose shit-kicker approach to North Mississippi hill-country blues has always done me right.

      The only arena concert to make my Top 5 of 2014 was Queen + Adam Lambert at Rogers Arena on June 28. I had my reservations about “new boy” Lambert stepping in to Freddy Mercury’s (or even Paul Rodgers’) shoes, but the relative blandness of his voice did not take away from the overall strength of the show, which owed most of its power to the colossal guitarwork of the mighty Brian May.

      It’s kinda shocking to me that not one of my Top 5 shows of 2014 took place at the Commodore, which is usually where I get most of my concert jollies in Vancouver. But the venue just down Granville a bit, the Vogue, has been booking some primo acts of late. One of them was Steve Hackett, the former Genesis guitarist, whose gig on December 11 was manna from heaven for fans of ’70s prog.




      Jan 1, 2015 at 9:06am

      "Blandness" of Adam Lambert's voice??? Surely you're joking.

      Pat Crowe

      Jan 1, 2015 at 9:46am

      I tried to enjoy the Skinny Puppy bucket list show in the Commodore a week after Hackett{inadvertently bought the ticket before Hackett}but the joint was not ventilated and overheated with sweat droplets running down the inside of the windows making one rather juicy just standing in there and also was overcrowded with douchebag, vampire, hipster types with a vibe from the security that was oppressive. Not to mention the 7.75 beer in a plastic (FUCK off) cup. I won't be in a hurry to return to the Commodore. But I will keep an eye out for something interesting in the Rio for 2015.
      Happy New Year, Steve!
      ps Skinny Puppy should just play two songs then let everyone go.

      Martin Dunphy

      Jan 1, 2015 at 1:01pm

      Oh, dear alleged god, Steve, you had to use the (qualified) word <em>blandness</em> again to describe Lambert.

      Of course, you know that without that last sentence you would have been marked for assassination.


      Jan 1, 2015 at 3:03pm

      Do you actually have ears? Blandness? Adam's voice is rich in tone and range and vibratto. I would trus the ears of Brian and Roger more than yours. Freddie was alot more "bland" than Adam.

      James Blatchford

      Jan 1, 2015 at 7:25pm

      Disappointed that another Motley Crüe slagging couldn't have been worked in somewhere. Bland attemp here, Newt.

      Steve Newton

      Jan 2, 2015 at 10:08am

      Motley Whö?

      Matt Lock

      Jan 5, 2015 at 10:36am

      Steve, me thinks you weren't at The Sadies with Gord Downie at Media Club because that was a goodun. Agree with Hackett in the top 5.

      out at night

      Jan 5, 2015 at 12:26pm

      It wasn't a particularly inspiring year for live music in Vancouver was it? Looking ahead there's really nothing I'm all that excited about either.

      I seem to remember a time not too, too long ago when the "Just Announced" part of the Straight's concert listings would yield at least a couple announcements a month that I could get into, but it's been a long time since anything really caught my attention.

      Oh, and Sue, suggesting Lambert is more than an enthusiastic and well-intentioned Mercury wannabe is outrageous. Mercury had an exceptional range (one Lambert cannot match) as well as a distinctive and compelling personality that came through in his voice and his stage moves.