Black Mountain with Black Angels – A Dark Night

Black Mountain with Black Angels – Commodore Ballroom – December 1, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night…

Oh, wait that’s another story but in this case it was a dark and rocking night!

Both Black Mountain and opening act Black Angels bring a classic rock feel and sound to their audience.  From the wide ranging demographic and the haze in the air this show definitely had a 60’s rock show vibe to it.

Black Angels
Black Angels

Nearly selling out two consecutive nights at the Commodore Ballroom is quite a feat for any band and these two showed their worth it by delivering a wall of sound that clearly pleased the crowd. Being a local band, Black Mountain clearly brought out the bulk of the boisterous fans who cheered the band on with extra vigour.

Black Mountain
Black Mountain

Supporting their third full length album vocalist Amber Webber brings an aura of Grace Slick & Janis Joplin to her performance, this combined with the semi-psychedelic musical arrangements really take one back several decade to when rock was still an experiment.
Being part of the Black Mountain Army collective of Vancouver bands this artists really are carrying on the experimental nature that infuses their work.

Bob Saget – Is Not Danny Tanner!

We’re not in Full House anymore!

Best known as Danny Tanner from Full House and the Host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, Bob Saget’s stand-by comedy is no where near the family friendly fare of his former tv shows. Bringing his rapid fire comedy to town as part of his Strange Days Tour, supporting his new A&E TV show of the same name, Mr Saget involved and entertained a full house at the Vogue Theatre.  Unlike most entertainers he almost encouraged hecklers and right from the first moments, when he started having fun with and at the expense of audience members the stage was set for a raunchy, anything goes evening.
From the audience; Kirk has his sexuality questioned and mocked,  Mole (who showed off his name tattooed on his wrist) had his mental state & competence mocked, Antoine had his Polish heritage mocked.  Although not quite as misogynistic as his same named Entourage alter-ego, Bob made plenty of normally politically incorrect comments and profane one-liners about women being in power.  It seemed no matter what the audience whipped at him, Bob was able to hit it out of the park with quick witted zingers. Throughout the two hour show, stories about his father were intertwined with tales from his TV shows and costars.  Wrapping up the show with a 30 minute set of songs that were more ‘blue’ than blues but all the while hilarious, eliciting a rousing standing ovation from the audience.

Jay Brannan – Simply Sing-sational

Jay Brannan – Biltmore Cabaret – November 24, 2010

A boy and his guitar, that’s all it took for an evening of beautiful music.

Jay Brannan, fresh off the plane from Montreal, is on a quick 5 city Canadian tour.

Jay Brannan
Jay Brannan

This half-way show in Vancouver came upon one of the coldest nights of the year, yet somehow the cold suited the night as everyone was huddled together in the cozy Biltmore warmed by some witty, emotional lyrics and his lush vocals.  Perhaps reflecting his acting skills, Jay has an almost musical theatre like voice, at times emotional and melancholy where as to others it’s comedic and charming.  Telling stories, whether in lyrics or to the audience between songs is an art that he has perfected. The audience was genuinely enamoured by the charms of this superstar in the making as he carried on a what felt like conversation with a couple hundred of his closest friends who sang along to “Christmas Really Sucks”, “Housewife” and “Beautifully”

Jay & Jay
The Two Jays

No pretension, no demands, just great music from a sincerely nice, brilliantly talented guy

Blonde Redhead – Who Has More Fun?

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

Blonde Redhead
Kazu Makino, Blonde Redhead vocalist, take the stage

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.

Blonde Redhead
Blonde Redhead

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 – Not In The Rough Much Longer

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.

Tweet-up at Beachside Forno

Another night, another tweet up!

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?

Hot Deals Live Tweet-up at r.tl Yaletown

Tonight Hot Deals Live and r.tl Regional Tasting Lounge hosted a very successful tweet-up.
What was expected to be about 15 people turned into nearly twice that many. For many of us it was our first experience at r.tl and they did an excellent job of introducing us to a sampling of their menu.
Warm marinated Olives, Roasted Beet Salad with goat cheese & arugula, Quinoa Salad, Prosciutto wrapped Dates were followed by grilled chicken skewers with jerk sauce and an earthy, rich Mushroom & Truffle Risotto finally mini Venison Burgers. Everything was hearty, healthy and tasty. A nice cocktail menu and wine list paired completed the solid menues.
Some great company with new and previously met tweeps made for a very nice evening. @HotDealsDonovan put together a great bunch; @gracecheung604 @IAMRUBY @the_bradford @hairbykatierose @NatashaCarpio @cwistal @Conner_G @fit_tobe_tied @VancityAmy @Lev_ivy  @LindseyBlunt @AdrianEden @Raincitybikes @Nelliebobellie plus many others whom I’m sorry didn’t get to find out their twitter handles