Best of bands 2016: Geoff Berner

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      Geoff Berner’s primary musical weapon is the accordion, but politically and lyrically the DIY veteran is as punk as anyone who ever played the Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret back in the glory days. Lower Mainland condo developers, Stephen Harper, and fascists of all stripes get a deserved shit-kicking on his latest, We Are Going to Bremen to Be Musicians, a record that proves klezmer sounds as great red-lined as it does scaled back for a candlelit Old World tavern.

      Best local release other than yours: Inclusive Fitness by Ford Pier and Strength of Materials. Rock ’n’ roll string quartet with vocals. I don’t know how many times a guy has to say Ford Pier is an unbelievable genius before people catch up to him. Not too many more times now, I figure. Also, incredible string playing.

      The year’s best gig: Rae Spoon with Carole Pope, ArtsWells Festival [July 31]. Okay, ArtsWells is in Wells, but it’s really just an extension of Commercial Drive to central B.C. Spoon and Pope proved in a single performance that gay electronic disco rock is a traditional music, where generation upon generation builds upon the form, adding to the richness of the tradition. Deep, deep, danceable, and very funny too. And the vocals just destroyed everybody. Can’t be described, and won’t be repeated. One for the ages.

      Hootsuite’s Ryan Holmes is paying. Where’s dinner? Portuguese Club of Vancouver [1144 Commercial Drive]. Beautiful food. Real atmosphere that only actually having a history can provide. Can’t believe the condo kings haven’t gotten around to destroying it yet.

      We’re road-tripping. Who’s on the stereo? Retribution by Tanya Tagaq. The follow up to Animism, which won the Polaris. This one is even more aggressive and political. This record will motivate you. You’ll be ready to drive head-on into a pipeline at 100 miles an hour.

      Like that Weeknd song, who makes you feel like you can’t feel your face? That’s kind of a fucked-up question.

      You’re a creative type. Where are we opening a venue? How about a pop-up venue in the living room of whoever moves into the WISE Hall’s neighbourhood [1882 Adanac Street] and files noise complaints?