Wednesday, February 1, 2012

March Concert Highlights

Late spring and early fall are always good (if not the best) times for live music in Vancouver because bands are incoming and outgoing from summer festivals in the States. Many bands hop up to Vancouver and Seattle to make some extra cash, and we are sure glad they do. There are some solid bands coming this spring. When I write these previews, I try to avoid listing bands that everyone knows are good. I try to focus on groups that may fly under the radar, or are on their way up to widespread success. This is what I would be going to, were I not in Nelson sorting through 6,441 acetate negatives as part of a contract archival job:

Islands - The Rio - March 8
Many great albums, and artworks, have been created out of loss and pain. Break-ups must be one of the primary catalysts for songwriters, and while the subject matter has been done to death, musicians always find ways to package it in new and catchy ways. Islands is kind of like Spiritualized or Broken Social Scene in that the band is a rotating cast of performers, held together by a single creative force. With reference to Islands, this creative force is Nick Thorburn, and he is about to release his fourth studio album. It is titled A Sleep & A Forgetting, and it is based upon a break-up and Nick's subsequent move from Brooklyn to LA. So far I'm not doing much to sell this show, but it is probably a good one to see since the "band" has a catalogue to play from now and the music I have heard from A Sleep & A Forgetting thus far is soulful and mature. Despite the hype surrounding their first two albums, due to connections with Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade, I found them kitschy and retro-derivative. This album, on the other hand, seems more authentic and heart-felt...although it does come out on Valentine's Day (just puked in my mouth a little).


Puscifer - Centre for Performing Arts - March 13 
As a multimedia project, stream-of-consciousness outlet, and southern gothic freak show led by Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan, Puscifer (eloquently pronounced "pussy-fur") will - at the very least - put on a great show. I have never been into Tool, and Puscifer isn't really my cup of murky faux-hillbilly tea, but I do seek creative works that are carefully crafted and challenge my aesthetic comfort zone. This incarnation of Keenan's psyche is more playful and rockabilly than Tool or A Perfect Circle, and relies heavily on theatrical elements and graphics. It is a good sign that the band decided to play at The Centre for Performing Arts too, as this venue is often used for big budget musicals and theatrical productions. If I was in Vancouver right now I would try to go to this, but I would be scared. Not going to lie.

The Ting Tings - Commodore - March 27
The Ting Tings became pretty well known after Apple used 'Shut Up and Let Me Go' for its iPod commercial, and the band appeared on SNL in 2010, so it's great that they are still playing at mid-sized venues like the Commodore. Tickets are reasonable at $27 before all that added bullpucky, and I know (from witness accounts and YouTube-surfing) that this English duo puts on a raucous show. They have been to Vancouver quite a bit, but this show should be especially gnar because the Ting Tings are Tout Touting their second studio album, Sounds from Nowheresville, which drops this month. I should also mention that if you like dancing, this is also the show for you since most of their music is 4/4, up-tempo. Aaaand the Commodore has a sprung dancefloor!

Keywords: "Puscifer Vancouver", "Alex Dawkins", "Vancouver Concert Listings"

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