Lykke Li – Swedish Style

Lykke Li – Vogue Theatre – May 27, 2011

In a storm of lights and smoke, Swedish indie pop sensation Lykke Li entered the darkly draped Vogue Theatre stage with a great flourish.  Wearing a high cut Japanese-esque overdress allowing glimpses of a bodysuit, she was the epitmany of sexy and stylish.

Sulty and quirky at the same time, Lykke Li draws you in with her bold personality and infectious pop sounds.
The sell out crowd was hanging on her every word (even though some lyrics are hard to decifer above the music and cheers) as she played her way through the 80 minute set.  The crowd could easily have danced along for hours longer. Let’s hope that next time Lykke Li returns to Vancouver she plays a much larger venue, judging by how early this show sold out, there are probably a lot of people who missed out on seeing her. She is definitely not to be missed!

North American Outgames – Come On Out

Sugarbeach

The Vancouver organizing committee recently announced the theme song to the GLISA 2011 North America Outgames.  “Come On Out” by award winning Canadian/Aussie duo Sugarbeach is an infectious pop track, with a hint of country, bound to appeal to a wide audience.  Appropriate considering the diversity of participants in the Outgames and accompanying Human Rights Conference. Marlee Walchuk, one half of the dynamic duo Sugarbeach states, “We wanted to write a song that would capture the energy, spirit and importance of being an active participator in the Vancouver Outgames/Human Rights Conference and in one’s own life”. With the considerable accolades that Sugarbeach has received from their participation in past events, it’s no doubt the Vancouver Outgames theme will gain attention. “Vancouver 2011 Outgames are ecstatic about the tune that Sugarbeach has created for the Games, it truly represents the spirit of the Outgames and we are honoured that they are part of this very special event” says Barb Snelgrove, Communications Director of the Vancouver 2011 Outgames.

Come On Out, the single is available now on iTunes

The Vancouver 2011 North American Outgames and Human Rights Conference run July 25 -31, 2001

Hairspray – The Big Fat Musical

Telling a story of race relations in 1960’s Baltimore as played out through the story of a ‘pleasantly plump’ girl’s struggle for acceptance in high school and as a dancer on the American Bandstand-esque, “Corny Collins Show”.

Jennie Neumann shines as teen, Tracy Turnblad as we follow her quest for fame, love, acceptance and equality.  Her journey takes place under the watchful eye of mother Edna Turnblad, as played brilliantly by Andy Toth – who took over the role after original lead Jay Brazeau suffered a mild stroke onstage during previews – and loving father Wilbur (Laurie Murdoch).  Along for the ride are best friend Penny Pingleton (Robyn Wallis), posterboy heartthrob Link Larkin (Adam Charles) and Seaweed (J. Cameron Barnett), who all help Tracy learn and blossom from a bullied, chubby girl into a womanly activist fighting to end segregation on the Corny Collins Show.  The quartet are aided and hampered by a colourful array of supporting characters highlighted by the amazing voice of Alana Hibbert’s Motormouth Maybelle, who hosts “Negro Day” on the Corny Collins Show on which Tracy thinks it should be “Negro Day” everyday!  The dynamic duo of Tracy’s teen rival Amber Von Tussell (Anna Kuman) and her menacing mother Velma Von Tussell (Cailin Stadnyk) stand in Tracy’s way as best they can.

Hairspray is not all activism and ‘message’, after all it is set during a song & dance show in the 60’s, there is plenty of opportunity for great music & lyrics, by Tony and Grammy award winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The witty and innuendo laced dialogue also won a Tony award for Thomas Meehan and Mark O’Donnell.   Having seen the movie version it was easy to get into the ‘swing’ of the beat but even without seeing any previous version, the songs are based on a late 60’s simplicity that makes the whole show easy and entertaining and each piece definitely made the audience bop along from start to finish.

From the wide demographic at the performance, Hairspray is a feel good fun time that everyone can enjoy! Go see it!

The Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of Hairspray is now playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until July 10, 2011

Akon – Supporting Usher

Akon – Rogers Arena – May 25, 2011

Although he could easily headline his own bill, supporting Usher seems a natural fit for Akon.  As an often collaborator/write/producer, Akon has supported and kick-started many careers, including Lady Gaga, Pitbull and T-Pain.
Dressed in all white, Akon took to the Rogers Arena in front of an already excited crowd and proceeded to push them up another level with his fun, energetic, R&B tracks.
The multiple-Grammy nominated star is often a featured singer on other artist songs it was easy to forget just how many great singles Akon has under his belt.  Dangerous, Sexy Bitch, I Just Had Sex were all in

Akon shows off his Canucks Jersey

collaboration with other artists but stood up well as Akon sang them solo alongside his own hits.  To boost up the crowd’s excitement level Akon donned a Vancouver Canucks hockey jersey, in celebration of the team’s advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals the night before in the same venue, which brought a huge cheer!  By the time Akon finished his nearly 60 minute set he had the crowd more than ready to welcome the headliner and continue the good times of the evening!

Usher – OMG!

Usher – Rogers Arena – May 25, 2011

Usher pays tribute to the King Of Pop

During a show in which Usher paid tribute to his idol Michael Jackson, the audience was more than ready to anoint a new King Of Pop title. Usher has many similarities to the iconic Jackson; child star, amazing dancer, great pop/r&b hits, millions of adoring fans…but so far has managed to keep his career (other than a few incidents) about ‘the music ‘. Me, along with friends, Brian and May, I and 10000+ other fans were treated to 2 full hours of the music as Usher sang and danced his way through his whole catalogue.
From the moment he rose above the crowd, in his futuristic armour, to land on the large multi-tiered stage he was dancing the entire night. Every bit as capable as his back up dancers the star was worked right into the routines, nothing was simplified for him. This was a pretty amazing feat considering how many other stars have trouble singing and dancing while staying in perfect sync. The dancing was superb throughout the show, whether slow or fast every move onstage was choreographed and executed perfectly. The audience made their very best effort to dance along too, everyone in the arena was on their feet ready to dance along with their ‘King’! The crowd’s energy was enhances by great video montages on the very advances digital screens used as the backdrop and curtain of the stage.
Although this was officially the OMG Tour

A lucky audience member becomes part of the show

promoting his Raymond V Raymond album, the songs performed covered most of his career. Nice & Slow, You Remind Me and Yeah from his earlier albums sounded great alongside current hits; DJ’s Got Us Fallin’ In Love, More and OMG. Slow emotional tracks like Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home) fit nicely with sexy Trading Places (which saw a girl pulled onstage for some ‘audience participation) and alongside upbeat dance tracks like Love In This Club. With such a host of great songs over the last 18 years it’s hard to believe Usher is still only 32 years old. There’s so much more ahead of him and in store for us as he continues to create great tracks for years to come.

What’s On Weekend – May 26-29, 2011

Just a few of the fun items on the agenda this weekend!

Thursday May 26
– Wish Republic Nightclub a very Happy 5th Anniversary

– Opening at the Arts Club Review Stage, the third edition of the parental comedy : Mom’s The Word: Remixed

 

 

 

Friday May 27

– it’s one of the first signs of summer as Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings play Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park
– Swedish sensation Lykki Li (pictured, left) plays a sold out show at the Vogue Theatre

 

 

Saturday May 28

– over in Victoria, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings play Alix Goolden Hall
– also in Victoria, dance duo USS take over Sugar Nightclub

– spend another evening in the park as Sam Roberts Band warms up Malkin Bowl
– if it’s too chilly stay indoors at the Commodore Ballroom for Brooklyn-based Yeasayer

– afterwards it’s time to get your dance on with a couple of choices ; head to The Cobalt on Main for Queerbash: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell vs Wedding Bells (you know there will be some interesting dress up, get ups with that theme)
or get down to 560 for Cha Cha Palace

David Guetta – a historic night!

David Guetta – Vancouver Convention Centre – May 22, 2011

I go to a lot of concerts and events and this has to rank up amongst the very top nights out!
I think a combination of a night out with a best friend, a few drinks, a new venue,  outstanding lights and sounds from a red hot Grammy winning DJ, made the whole evening a great time!

The Vancouver Convention Centre is not a usual music venue but it was a great location for a historic event. At 6000 attendees, the show was the largest indoor general admission dance event ever hosted in the Province of BC.

The excitement was palpable as streams of people and taxis made their way to the Vancouver waterfront. Inside the giant convention centre, the audience was definitely in the mood to dance. Opening acts Dre Morel, Sultan & Ned Shepard w/ Nada Ali primed the crowd for Avicii to get everyone ready for the main event. A wave of applause erupted as David Guetta took to the decks and from then on it was non-stop energy and excitement as he played nearly 2 hours of floorfillers (in this case the floor was already full).  “Sexy Bitch”, “Club Can’t Handle Me”, “When Love Takes Over”, “Memories”, “Commander”, “Where Them Girls At” …and so many other great tracks kept all of us bouncing with our arms in the air from start to finish.  Amazing lights, in front and screens behind Guetta pumped up the visual stimulation, confetti canons burst out for added moments of enthusiasm and entertainment.
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This will certainly be a night people are talking about for a while to come.  Hopefully, producers Blueprint Events found it successful and will be able to bring in other big events to match the entertainment value in the future.