Take 6 is opening Chor Leoni VanMan Choral Summit

Take 6
photo: John Shyloski

Chor Leoni 4th Annual VanMan Male Choral Summit opens with a the Vancouver debut of Take 6.  The award-winning a cappella group performs this Friday April 6, 2018 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Part of the weekend long VanMan Male Choral events at the Queen E and Chan Centre, audiences are invited to experience the rich jazz, gospel, pop, and R&B, sounds of this all-male sextet.

“Coming off their 25th anniversary world tour, Take 6 is simply the gold standard of a cappella singing,” says Chor Leoni’s Artistic Director Erick Lichte. “I wanted to bring to our festival a group who could move effortlessly between pop, jazz and gospel music. I also felt it was important to celebrate a cappella singing from a totally different tradition and culture than what we hear with most Vancouver choirs. We can’t wait to introduce local choral-lovers to these internationally-renowned, vocal heavyweights!”

Since they began in Huntsville, Alabama in 1980, Take 6 has won the hearts of fans and critics at venues across the globe, racking up a staggering 10 GRAMMY’s, 10 Dove Awards (Gospel Music Awards), Best Jazz Vocal Group honours for seven consecutive years in Downbeat’s Reader’s and Critic’s Poll, a Soul Train Music Award, and many other prestigious recognitions. In 2014, the illustrious crooners were inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame.

Touring in support of the Spring 2018 release of ICONIC, the multi-platinum selling group’s 12th studio album, audiences can expect to hear classic ballads such as Ben E. King’s Stand by Me, chart-topping hits like Pharrell’s Happy, or jazz standards like, Nat King Cole’s Straighten Up and Fly Right, Take 6 are known to “bring the house down”, famously praised by inimitable producer Quincy Jones as the “baddest vocal cats on the planet!”

Take 6 play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Friday April 6th as part of Chor Leoni’s VanMan Male Choral Summit. Tickets, from $70 to $10 (Student Rush) are on sale online at Chor Leoni 

Light Organ Record’s Railtown Sessions – Aug 12

Last month, I wrote about the first Railtown Sessions at Light Organ Records featuring Sarah Jane Scouten.  After the success of the first edition, the second Railtown Session brings Rob Butterfield to the Light Organ Records studio, next week, August 12th,

RobButterfieldepCoverThe Railtown Sessions are a project by Vancouver songwriter/producer Andy Bishop aimed to bring attention to local artists.  Bishop invited his favourite local artists to record four original songs at Light Organ’s Railton studios.  Each of the four invited artists have recorded original tracks to be released digitally over the next months with the intimate concerts at Light Organ’s performance space.

Galiano Island based Rob Butterfield finds his influence in old-school roots rockers like The Band, Neil Young and Bob Dylan and brings his own retro -roots style to his Railtown Session on August 12. Watch and listen to Rob Butterfield’s session live streamed through Light Organ’s website and broadcast on Roundhouse Radio.  Purchase this and all the Railtown Sessions at lightorganrecords.com/store

More Railtown Sessions release shows happen in October and November then all the musicians join together for a wrap up show at the Fox Cabaret in December.

Matt Andersen & The Bona Fide – Honest Man on tour

Matt Andersen thumb_IMG_3387_1024– The Vogue – February 18, 2016

New Brunswick artist, Matt Andersen is on tour across North America. Starting in Duncan, and Victoria, the third stop of the Honest Man tour made its way to The Vogue Theatre in Vancouver last week.

Being new to Andersen’s music, I didn’t really know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised by the sweet, gentle sounds the guitarist and his trio of back up artists produced onstage.  The Juno nominated artist is regularly on the road and the experience shows. The enthusiasm from the diverse audience, all-ages from infants to seniors, feels like they’ve been with him on his career journey.  The evening felt like a Maritimer’s kitchen party with old friends gathered around a guitar playing host. Over the course of the ninety minute set, Andersen played a selection from his catalogue of blues/rock/folk infused tunes, both solo and with his backing band, each of them successful solo artists in their own right.thumb_IMG_3390_1024

Touring in support of his upcoming album, Honest Man (due February 26th), the tour takes him across North America until mid-May, if you get the chance, see him.

Picks of the Week – December 16, 2015

Less than 10 days until the Jolly Old Elf makes his visit, evidence of the Holiday is all over the city, and we also have some Winter Solstice events in the picks of the week…

Ballet: A Holiday tradition, The Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker runs December 17 – 22 at The Centre In Vancouver

Ugly: Get out your knitwear for the Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party at Commodore Ballroom on Friday Dec 18th

Sketch: The 3rd Friday of the month at XY finds Your Sketch Is Showing filling the bar with improv and sketch comedy.

Revue: Saturday at The Vogue, feel festive with Nick Lowe’s Quality Holiday Revue, the British singer-songwriter is joined by Los Straitjackets for some Holiday Cheer

Dance: XY Saturday at ONYX this week with DJ Domtop and Bibi Souphresh

Drag: Our fave Kiwi Drag Queen, Anita Wigl’it makes a rare return trek North to join Carlotta Gurl’s Christmas Special Absolutely Dragulous at The Junction on Saturday evening.

Blues: The 30th Anniversary Blues For Christmas show features Jim Byrnes, David Gogo, Dalannah and Owen, Billy Dixon Soul Train Express plus many more take over the Commodore Ballroom in support of The Drew Burns Commodore Musicians Fund

Lantern: Monday, celebrate the Solstice with the  22nd Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival at venues around Vancouver

Panto: There’s just a few days left to try to save Christma. Christmas Queen 2: You Better Watch Out is trying to ruin Christmas at Vancouver TheatreSports League until December 19th.

Market: Hunt for last minute gifts and fine finds at the 6th Annual Vancouver Christmas Market continuing at Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza until Christmas eve.

Oz: Gateway Theatre, heads down the Yellow Brick road as The Wizard of Oz runs December 10 – January 3rd.

Canyon: Cross into the Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park with thousands of lights illuminating the bridge and park.

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre is loading the Season with festival theatre for the whole family; A Christmas Story: The MusicalIt’s a Wonderful Life and Peter and The Starcatcher are all on stage

Cirque:  Cirque du Soleil Kooza continues until December 27th under the Grande Chapiteau at Concord Pacific Place,

FlyOver: Follow Santa on his journey from work shop to the sky at Fly Over Canada until January 5th

Wonder:  Vancouver’s newest Christmas market Vancouver’s Winter Wonderland takes over the PNE Forum building with an indoor Holiday market until December 20th

FestofLight_IMG_5622Lights: Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Botanical Garden expands with an extra 5 acres of Holiday sparkle until December 31st.

Picks of the Week : August 5, 2015

It’s already the second weekend of August and summer’s festivities are showing no signs of letting up, the picks of the week are packed with fun

Champions: Vancouver gets its first taste of CONCACAF Champions League soccer as Whitecaps FC kicks off their campaign hosting Seattle Sounders tonight then on Saturday the return to MLS play hosting Real Salt Lake at BC Place

Movie: The north point of Canada Place is a free outdoor theatre as the comedy The Proposal plays on Thursday evening at dusk

Festival: For the 6th year, Virgin Mobile presents the Squamish Valley Music Festival kicks off tomorrow with an opening day of music including Current Swell, Elliott Brood and more before Sam Smith, Drake, Mumford & Sons headline the rest of the weekend.

Football: BC Lions host a rare Thursday home game when Edmonton Eskimos come to town

Broadway: Sing along with some Showtunes at 1181 on Friday for some after work entertainment

Chicago: Peter Cetera, solo artist and former lead singer of Chicago brings his decades of music to River Rock Show Theatre on Friday night

Cakes: It’s the first Friday of the month, at XY that means the club is home to Poundcake a night of tunes by Gingerbear Todd & DJ Mumbles for the sexy gogos to shake their cakes to

Bard: Spend the weekend with some Shakespeare as Bard of the Beach, presents The Comedy of Errors, King Lear, Loves Labours Lost and Shakespear’s Rebel until September 26

Blues: The 2015 Burnaby Blue + Roots Festival brings The Sheepdogs, Devin Cuddy, Jim Byrnes and more to Deer Lake Park on Saturday

Doobie: Continuing a weekend of great voices, former Doobie Brother, Michael McDonald plays the River Rock Show Theatre on Saturday night then plays Hard Rock Casino Vancouver on Sunday

Black: XYSaturdays go dark with ONYX kicking the club with hot tunes and sexy dancers.







Jim Byrnes Wraps 2013 Enchanted Evenings Concert Series

Jim Byrnes

Jim Byrnes – Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – August 30, 2013

The 20th Anniversary Enchanted Evenings Concert Series at Dr Sun Yat-Sen Gardens came to a close last week with a performance by blues great Jim Byrnes. The award winning musician/actor played a 75 minute set, of covers and original material before an intimate audience in the Hall Of One Hundred Rivers.  Accompanied by guitarist Lindsay Mitchell of the band Prism, Byrnes’ natural storytelling ability shone through as he regaled the audience with stories of the origins of the songs and how he first came to hear, like and record them.  Over the course of his illustrious career he has covered a wide range of artists and genres, from R&B, Country, Pop and Jazz Standards and the Blues. Artists like Curtis Mayfield, Waylong Jennings, Irving Berlin, Major Lance and Ray Charles have all influenced and contributed to his repertoire.

A regular performer over the years at the Enchanted Evenings Concerts, Mr Byrnes extolled the virtues of Dr Sun Yat-Sen Garden as a Dr Sun Yat_Sen Garden_night‘hidden gem’ in the city that we must treasure and patronise to ensure its survival. The Gardens are indeed a treasure and after experiencing great music in a great setting I’m sorry I waited so long before taking in an Enchanted Evenings Concert. I look forward to seeing next year’s line-up.

Alabama Shakes Vancouver

Alabama Shakes – Orpheum Theatre – July 23, 2013

Alabama ShakesMaking a third visit to Vancouver in just over a year, Alabama Shakes are building a solid audience in the city as more and more people hear about the group.  I was encouraged to attend by a friend who raved about their previous shows so they had a lot to live up and they delivered.

This night’s gig was originally set for the Vogue Theatre but due to overwhelming demand was switched to the larger Orpheum Theatre and, judging from the thrilled audience at this sold out show, could have moved to an even larger venue. In spite of the larger sized auditorium, the band’s placement of all their equipment and performance within a small oval centre-stage kept the show feeling intimate.
Alabama Shakes
Lead singer Brittany Howard’s stunning vocals also had a way of filling the room to make sure not one nook or cranny was left untouched.  Still touring in support of their 2012 critically acclaimed debut album Boys & Girls the non-stop touring and performances has really built a solid live show.  The band, Zak Cockrell, Heath Fogg, Steve Johnson and touring member Ben Tanner are terrific musicians and kept the set solid and grounded in their southern rock-soul with a tinge of country. However, there could have been four or forty members behind Brittany, all eyes and ears were on her as she belted song after song and wailed on her own guitar.  The power and soul behind her voice carry the weight of someone far beyond their mid-twenties but Howard holds the audience enraptured with her stage presence and ability. The diversity of the audience shows the broad reach of the band’s sound – an updated blend of sounds from the Southern States. Alabama Shakes - Brittany Howard Roots of country, rockabilly, soul, blues and rock, all intertwine to create a forest of sound that feels familiar and new at the same time.  With just the one album and an EP of material, the set falls just over an hour which left the audience satisfied but clearly ready for more.  If Alabama Shakes continue to make regular stops in Vancouver, their fans won’t have to wait too long before they can be filled with soul again.

If you can’t follow Alabama Shakes on tour as they wrap up North America with festival stops in Calgary, Edmonton and Minneapolis before heading to Europe, you can follow them online, on Twitter @alabama_shakes, on Facebook.com/theAlabamaShakes