Blonde Redhead – Commodore Ballroom – November 21, 2010
As Blonde Redhead near the end of nearly three months of touring they stopped at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver in support of their eighth album Penny Sparkle
The Alt-Rock trio of Amedeo Pace, Simone Pace and Kazu Makino played a beautiful 80 minute set to a small but dedicated crowd who ate up every word. Not that there were many words spoken by the group, other than …thank you very much“ as they left the stage. The music was beautiful and the light show was excellent, a simple set of photographer’s lighting foil umbrellas gave a unique atmosphere. Each of the members of the band were amazingly lit, their white costumes at times making them almost ethereal, as though we were blessed to have witnessed this performance.
Their entire set was very thought out and precise, from entering the stage with Kazu in a mask, (reminiscent of General Grievous in Star Wars), to finish with a wall of sound, that quite possibly was whale calls. Unfortunately, at times it seemed a bit more, performance art than music performance, leaving me to feel that we were there just to observe, not to participate in the evening. They would have performed the entire show the same way if there was one or one thousand people watching. I would have like to feel a bit more interaction with the fans to make all of us feel welcome and part of the show. However, this slight criticism does not take away from the fact that we witnessed some beautiful music at the Commodore!
Diamond Rings – Biltmore Cabaret – November 20, 2010
John O’Regan introduced his alter ego Diamond Rings to the crowd at Vancouver’s Biltmore Cabaret Saturday night. A unique combination of syth-pop and spandex, Diamond Rings is a showman like few others. His blend of 80’s new wave and singer songwriter rock sounds current and retro at the same time. Behind the flash and glam there’s a very talented musician, playing keyboards and guitar on stage, there’s a lot of sound going on for a one man show. A lot of the mostly hipster crowd seemed prepared for what they were about to witness…going wild in the front row, shouting out song titles, singing and dancing along. As the hour long set progressed a wave of enthusiasm swept over the rest of the audience as the exuberence caught on, it was like watching the birth of a star. If they didn’t arrive a fan, I’m sure they left as one.
The capacity crowd at Venue was treated to an all out dance party for Robyn’s hugely anticipated show. From start to finish she danced, sang and had the audience right along with her every beat.
Taking the stage dressed like she was set for a stroll along a fjord in a jacket, cap and platform hiking boots she stood out beside her white lab coat wearing backing band. She soon started shedding the outer layer to reveal her own white over shirt then finally a Star Trek-esque cat suit, ready for non-stop dancing.
The 90 minute set featured mostly songs from her recent Body Talk I & II albums with a couple of her 90’s era hits. This was pure pop at it’s best, no frills, no gimmicks, just music and lights and dancing. She was definitely not dancing on her own, the audience and Robyn danced from start to finish, it’s no wonder she needed to stop to eat a banana half way through! The energy from the room was electric and contagious…I defy anyone to not have had a good time! From the buzz generated by this show, I’m sure when she returns to play a bigger room it will sell in a heartbeat or should I say with every heartbeat?
Brandon Flowers supported by Fran Healy – Commodore Ballroom – November 15, 2010
Playing to another headliner’s audience after headlining one of the biggest bands in Britain for over a decade has to be disconcerting for Fran Healy especially if the audience starts to heckle with taunts of “Get on with it” or “We want Brandon”. Fran handled it in his usual charming, humourous way of weaving a tale with a message (in this case…don’t be “that guy”, who makes an a$$ of himself at a show) As he was the support act Fran was limited to a quick 35 minute set, 6 songs. Smartly beginning and ending the set with well known Travis singles, like Fran was singing his credentials to the crowd. It seemed to work, as the finale “Why Does It Always Rain On Me” was heartily sung along by many in the crowd. In between were a few of the tracks off of his first solo album “Wreck Order”. (Click for a recap, and more images, of Fran’s August acoustic show at the Vogue Theatre)
After a quick set change the stage was ready for Brandon Flowers to come on with a slightly ‘old west’ swagger about him, black vest, jeans and boots, vaguely channelling Johnny Cash meets Elvis meets Freddie Mercury. Brandon Flowers knows how to entertain like the Vegas native that he his. Kicking his set off with “On The Floor”, Brandon swung right into gear, whipping through much of his debut album, Flamingo. Besides songs from The Killers Brandon also covers “Bette Davis Eyes” which turned out to be a perfect song for his voice. The 65 minute flew by and judging by the crowd reaction they were left wanting more. Like Fran before him, Brandon completed his set with a song from his band…in this case “Mr Brightside”. By closing with songs by their more well known bands it made sure everyone left with a familiar ring in their ears. Overall, it was a great show by two seasoned and brilliant artists who I’m sure we can all agree on left us wanting more…much more!
November 2 – 7th 2010 marked the 10th Annual Vancouver Fashion Week.
Celebrating established and upcoming local and international designers; a full house of fashionistas, buyers and media converged on the runway at the Empire Landmark Hotel in downtown Vancouver for 5 days of shows highlighting the work of some 30+ designers from Vancouver and around the world. This year’s shows featured designs from the fashion centres of New York and London as well as far away ateliers in Korea, Norway, Trinidad and Hawaii. As with all fashion there were hits and misses amongst the pieces shown, some very wearable for our West Coast style others definitely suited for more fashion forward cities. All were entertaining and well presented. As well as the main event fashion shows the days also included seminars on the fashion business and each evening was wrapped up with after parties at venues around town, giving Vancouver’s fashionistas a chance to celebrate themselves and another season of the local fashion industry.
Thursday night’s tweetup was hosted at The Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe (@thecornersuite) by @TheSassyFiles and @SoniaStirling Welcomed with a glass of champagne by Steve, owner and bartender extraordinaire, we instantly felt at home. Great company and conversation flowed easily all night. Steve was a calm hub of activity behind the bar serving us drinks and knowledge about the beverages, food and life. It’s great to see a restaurateur with such an intimate knowledge and care of everything that’s coming into, out of and happening in his establishment. The Tweet up drink special was very tasty…and the appetizer Croque Mademoiselle that I had was a perfect bite. In fact, everything on the menu looked fresh, local and mouthwatering.
This time it took us out of town…all the way across the Lions Gate Bridge to West Vancouver! Beachside Forno (@beachside_forno) is in the heart of the Ambleside neighbourhood, easily located on Marine Drive so my friend, Brian (@br_webb) and I decided to take Transit. This was our first visit but the restaurant is instantly warm & inviting and although it was dark we could tell that there would be a great view from the back patio, overlooking the water and Stanley Park beyond.
The Beachside crew has tasting bites of their great pizzas for the guests to sample…with ‘Forno’ in your name your pizzas better be good and these lived up to the name. Crispy, simple and very tasty! Skyy Vodka & Granville Island Brewery kindly donated some of their product so the minimal charge for drinks was donated to support Movember for Prostate Cancer awareness. I’d also ordered a ‘Beachside chicken burger’ which was very nicely topped with pesto, portobello mushrooms and provolone, accompanied by a very nice salad of mixed greens. All the food from the menu looked excellent.
Organizer Jennifer Kemshaw (@jkemshaw) did a great job of getting the word out to a variety of Tweeps and Facebookers to come down, get a taste of the Beachside Forno experience and meet each other. Besides meeting Jennifer for the first time, I got to meet @604homesguy @AliciaHollywood @rezg23 @HeadtotheNet @brandanprice and reconnect with @jessebowness@Lev_ivy again. We all look forward to catching up again at the next tweetup. Perhaps another at Beachside Forno?