Live mu­sic to get you go­ing un­til the spring

The Georgia Straight - - Chill Out - > BY MIKE USINGER

There’s an old T.S. Eliot line that goes some­thing like this: “Jan­uary is the cru­ellest month.” Ac­tu­ally, the Bri­tish poet and play­wright said that about April, but clearly he never vis­ited Van­cou­ver in spring, when the flow­ers are pop­ping and the sun’s shin­ing. Jan­uary, not to men­tion Fe­bru­ary and March, mean­while, are end­less days of black rain clouds and dead leaves on the dirty ground. To make your­self feel bet­ter, you can sit around in your ginch read­ing “The Waste Land” while drink­ing bour­bon straight from the bot­tle, or you can get out of the house and catch one of the fol­low­ing shows. All you have to do is make it through Jan­uary.


(Com­modore on Fe­bru­ary 1) In the spot­light: Sting has been fa­mous for longer than most of us have been alive, first rock­et­ing to fame with new-wave leg­ends the Po­lice, and then carv­ing out a solo ca­reer that Mick Jag­ger no doubt en­vies. Backed by a tight three-piece band fea­tur­ing ace drum­mer Josh Freese (A Per­fect Cir­cle, Guns N’ Roses), the rock icon will fo­cus on songs from last year’s well­re­ceived 57th & 9th. Why you need to go: Be­cause you ei­ther weren’t born yet or had feath­ered hair and were still lis­ten­ing to the Ea­gles, chances are you didn’t catch the Po­lice’s Van­cou­ver de­but at the Com­modore back in the late ’70s. With Sting al­most guar­an­teed to do “Mes­sage in a Bot­tle”, get ready for a faith­ful ap­prox­i­ma­tion of what you missed.


(Vogue on Fe­bru­ary 4) In the spot­light: Once one of the most gor­geous crea­tures in all of Bri­tain, Adam Ant burned brightly in the ’80s, rid­ing his pi­rate-chic image—and fa­bled cheek­bones—to the top of the U.K. charts. Fol­low­ing two very pub­lic men­tal break­downs and years of toil­ing on pop’s fringes, Stu­art Les­lie God­dard has surfed a wave of ’80s nos­tal­gia back to head­lin­ing tours on both sides of the pond. Why you need to go: Given a redo, God­dard might have cho­sen to name him­self af­ter a more no­to­ri­ously in­de­struc­tible in­sect—cory Cock­roach has a nice ring to it, even though Adam Ant rolls off the tongue bet­ter. Speak­ing of rolling, the 62-year-old tribal-punk le­gend is head­lin­ing Van­cou­ver’s beloved Vogue while Frankie Goes to Hol­ly­wood couldn’t draw flies at the Kit­si­lano Show­boat.


(Or­pheum on Fe­bru­ary 7) In the spot­light: Some artists seem to ar­rive fully formed. That was cer­tainly the case with Sam Roberts, whose first-time-at-bat 2002 break­through, “Brother Down”, con­tained the im­mor­tal lyric “I think my life is pass­ing me by.” While we can all re­late, the Mon­treal rocker has done any­thing but spin his wheels since then, and Ter­raform is his sixth im­pec­ca­bly crafted full-length. Why you need to go: Here’s a good way to tell when a song has achieved clas­sic sta­tus: years af­ter its re­lease, it some­how seems even more rel­e­vant than when it first ex­ploded onto the air­waves. Take a bow, then, Sam Roberts, be­cause con­sid­er­ing the shit­show south of the bor­der, is there any bet­ter an­them for 2017 than 2003’s “Where Have All the Good Peo­ple Gone?”


(PNE Fo­rum on Fe­bru­ary 8) In the spot­light: As col­lab­o­ra­tions go, it’s no great shocker that Run the Jew­els has worked out a lit­tle more suc­cess­fully than, say, Vel­vet Re­volver or Au­dioslave. Af­ter all, as en­raged as they sound on tracks like “No­body Speak” and “Close Your Eyes (And Count to F**k)”, “so­cially pro­gres­sive” works as a great start­ing de­scrip­tion of MCS EL-P and Killer Mike. What’s amaz­ing is that the hip-hop vets teamed up to make their old-school clas­sic de­but—2013’s Run the Jew­els—as they were clos­ing in on their 40s, which in rap years is at least dou­ble that. Why you need to go: Some­one needs to re­mind you what rap sounded like be­fore Ice Cube be­gan star­ring in fam­ily come­dies like Are We There Yet?.

WINTERRUPTION (var­i­ous venues on Granville Is­land from Fe­bru­ary 17 to 19) In the spot­light: As­sum­ing you didn’t fall down and break a hip, knock out your front teeth, or find your­self in­fu­ri­at­ingly un­able to se­cure a snow shovel at Cana­dian Tire, this win­ter has been pretty god­damn grand. Give us a blan­ket of white over dead leaves and black tor­ren­tial down­pours any day. Make a good stretch even bet­ter with Win­ter­rrup­tion, Van­cou­ver’s an­nual fes­ti­val of film, art, the­atre, food, and, of course, mu­sic. This year’s high­lights lean heav­ily on the ex­per­i­men­tal side of the spec­trum, in­clud­ing New Orleans noir mer­chants Black Gar­de­nia, art­pop rene­gades Only a Vis­i­tor, and Great De­pres­sion re­vival­ists James Dan­der­fer’s Hum­ming­bird Brigade. Why you need to go: The March mon­soons will be on us be­fore we know it, so God knows we need some­thing up­lift­ing to pre­pare us for the mis­ery.


(Rick­shaw on Fe­bru­ary 26) In the spot­light: While Coachella still gets all the head­lines and A-list at­ten­dees, the up­start Desert Daze fes­ti­val is qui­etly be­com­ing one of Cal­i­for­nia’s coolest des­ti­na­tion events, es­pe­cially now that it’s set­ting up its gen­er­a­tors in Joshua Tree. Let’s face it—thanks to fi­nances, a lack of banked hol­i­day time, and the fact Don­ald Trump will have blown up the world by April, you prob­a­bly aren’t go­ing to Desert Daze in 2017. The good news is that the fes­ti­val is com­ing to you, in a stripped-down trav­el­ling ver­sion fea­tur­ing garage-psych gods Tem­ples, Night Beats, Deap Vally, Froth, and JJUUJJUU. If you’ve been sav­ing that pey­ote but­ton, now’s the time to use it. Why you need to go: Tick­ets are a mere $25, which is quite frankly what we’d pay to see the blues-bombed Deap Vally alone. Add four more bands, and that’s a pal­try five bucks a set, which is a good cou­ple of thou­sand dol­lars cheaper than spring­ing for air­fare, car rental, meals, and three-day passes to Desert Daze at Joshua Tree.


(Rick­shaw on Fe­bru­ary 27) In the spot­light: Be­cause of the sheer op­tics of the name, walk­ing around Don­ald Trump’s New Amerikkka un­der the name Ghostface Killah takes badass to an en­tirely new level. Luck­ily, Den­nis Coles is more than fa­mil­iar with stir­ring up shit. Af­ter as­sem­bling the now-leg­endary Wu­tang Clan, the 46-year-old has gone on to carve out an un­com­pro­mis­ing solo ca­reer that’s a dozen al­bums deep, in­clud­ing es­sen­tials like Iron­man and Fish­scale. Why you need to go: Sorry, Kanye, Eminem, and Jay Z—ghostface Killah is the great­est sto­ry­teller that rap has ever seen.

FES­TI­VAL DU BOIS (Port Co­quit­lam’s Mackin Park from March 3 to 5) In the spot­light: The lucky among us are headed to France this year for their an­nual pil­grim­age, be­cause few things on this planet are more amaz­ing than spring­time in Paris. If your Lotto Max num­bers haven’t come up yet, get a taste of French cul­ture with Fes­ti­val du Bois, the West Coast’s largest fran­co­phone fes­ti­val. New ad­di­tions for 2017 in­clude a folk-jam tent and a Fri­day-night Con­tra Dance star­ring the Sy­baritic String Band. Mak­ing the trek to the coast will be artists rang­ing from Que­bec new tra­di­tion­al­ists Ni­co­las Pel­lerin et les Grands Hurleurs to Ca­jun mashup crew Suroît. Why you need to go: Be­cause you aren’t go­ing to France— again. A lineup that also in­cludes Old World–ob­sessed duo Mélisande is guar­an­teed to make you feel bet­ter un­til your lot­tery num­bers come up.


(Com­modore on March 4) In the spot­light: On the cur­rent list of best things ever, it’s hard to top the story of a 29-year-old Is­raeli pro­ducer who once drummed in death­core bands, but now mashes up heavy metal and EDM for a bang­ing hy­brid he calls Gorestep. Some­times it’s hard to care that rock ’n’ roll is dead, and Borgore’s bra­ga­li­cious “100s” makes it easy to un­der­stand why gui­tars are so 2001. Why you need to go: You’ve sung “Hun­dred hun­dred hun­dred hun­dred hun­dreeeeed” in the shower, the car, and the coun­try club while spray­ing Cham­pagne all over rich, white, and old one-per­centers. Now imag­ine sing­ing along with 1,000 fel­low Borgore fans in one of our most fa­bled clubs.


(Queen El­iz­a­beth The­atre on March 6) In the spot­light: That John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett are head­lin­ing the ven­er­a­ble Queen E. in­stead of Rogers Arena is best ex­plained by the fact that Toby Keith is a big­ger star than Jim­mie Dale Gil­more will ever be. Put an­other way, coun­try is the one style of mu­sic where the smarter you are, the less you are re­warded. And that’s per­fectly fine, be­cause, re­ally, would you rather see two of Amer­i­cana’s all-time ge­niuses in a warm and in­ti­mate the­atre, or at the far end of a football field? Why you need to go: Suc­cess is al­ways rel­a­tive, and be­fore you go be­moan­ing the fact Lovett and Hiatt have never re­ally grad­u­ated be­yond soft-seaters, con­sider that Hank Wil­liams III will prob­a­bly find him­self play­ing the Cobalt on his next time through town. And that’s ac­tu­ally pretty awe­some, be­cause God knows the Cobalt rocks way more than, say, Rogers Arena.

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