Dada Plan

with Mesa Luna and Gretchen Snakes
October 23 @ Biltmore Cabaret

Updated October 27, 2014, at 10:53 p.m.

Free /frē/ adj. Not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes.

adv. Without cost or payment.

On October 23, Vancouverites packed the Biltmore for the release party of A Dada Plan Is Free, the debut album from newly formed avant-popsters, Dada Plan. Fronted by seasoned local musician Malcolm Biddle (Sun Wizard, Capitol 6), the album, a co-release between the band and established local upstart Kingfisher Bluez, is not, as you might hope, monetarily free, but instead a sonically liberated vision of a past and present pitted against each other.

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Sonic Avenues

with Needles//Pins and High Wasted
October 23 @ The Cobalt

Sonic Avenues || Photo by Shane Burzynski

Sonic Avenues || Photo by Shane Burzynski

“Are you waiting for someone?” The man at the table near me wondered why I’d been sitting alone at the back of the Cobalt for an hour. After telling him I was doing a review of the night’s show, he introduced himself as Jean-Christophe Niquet, drummer for Sonic Avenues and, incidentally, the band I was there to catch. Shaking my hand graciously, he laughed, “Well, I hope it starts soon.”

I agreed. Although, it wouldn’t have been very punk to begin on time.

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In Good Humour: Ryan Beil

“I took it over when the previous runner moved away and it’s so important that that space stays open. Because it’s so not Vancouver. It’s this shitty hole in the wall."

Ryan Beil||photo by Jennie Wahll

Ryan Beil || photo by Jennie Wahll

The alternative comedy scene in Vancouver is alive, but underrepresented — a splattered map of venues and a finite crowd supporting it all. There’s a lot of great creative work out there, but it’s hard to pack a show on a regular basis. Ryan Beil is an exception. As one of the founding members of the improv group The Sunday Service, the operator of Little Mountain Gallery, and a working actor around the city, Beil is entrenched in the city’s comedic DNA. Read More »

Weed

with Naomi Punk and Mass Marriage
October 9 @ Antisocial

Naomi Punk || Photo by Lauren Ray

Naomi Punk || Photo by Lauren Ray

On a Thursday night, a scene recognizable to generations of West Coast freaks — and perhaps to every fan of underground music ever – transpired at Antisocial Skateboard Shop as a pack of teenage-cavemen-at-heart slowly converged on its empty storefront. Granted, the crowd was not entirely teenage or literal cavemen, but the spirit was the same, and that was what mattered. Local favourites Weed blazed the trail, along with Mass Marriage and touring partners Naomi Punk, who were supporting their latest release Television Man.

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The Drums

with Beverly
October 10 @ Fortune Sound Club

The Drums || Photo by Brandon Lal

The Drums || Photo by Brandon Lal

The line outside Fortune Sound Club on Friday, October 10 snaked well around East Pender Street; long passed the time doors were proposed to open. Even so, the wait couldn’t put a damper on the night. The excitement was palpable as the anticipation of seeing dual Brooklyn-based bands Beverly and The Drums perform never wavered. For many Vancouverites, it would be the first time to see the groups since their previous bandmates had been dropped.

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PUP

with Tough Age
October 13 @ Fox Cabaret

PUP || Photo by Shane Burzynski

PUP || Photo by Shane Burzynski

With its atmospheric red lights, ruby coloured theatre curtains, symmetrical wall patterns, and haunted lounge décor, stepping into the Fox Cabaret feels eerily akin to walking into the Black Lodge from Twin Peaks. But the matinee sign over the bar, reimagined from its original use touting porn double features at the original Fox Cinema, reminded me that I was still right here in Vancouver, “Living the Dream on Main Street,” as the sign says.

The Fox Cabaret is an appropriate heir to the delightfully seedy Fox Cinema, seamlessly blending the best aspects of an off-kilter East Side skin flick landmark with all the features of a high quality performing arts venue. It made for an unusually appropriate venue for a windy and wet October 13 Thanksgiving punk show.

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The Sonics

with Thee Manipulators and The Flintettes
October 2 @ Rickshaw Theatre

The Sonics || Photo by Lauren Ray

The Sonics || Photo by Lauren Ray

I entered the Rickshaw Theatre on Friday, October 2 with a slight misgiving that my experience of seeing a legendary and influential band would fall short of my expectations. I sat at the back of the room under a vine of pale gold lights, listening to the garage rock lilting from the speakers and, looking at the near empty room, wondered if anyone else had the same concerns. The theatre was pretty empty and still, with the only movement being the fierce and enthusiastic air drumming of the man behind the bar to the left of the stage.

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Thurston Moore

with Sebadoh
October 3 @ Biltmore Cabaret

Thurston Moore || Photo by Lauren Ray

Thurston Moore || Photo by Lauren Ray

It seems like a lot of people have stopped paying attention to what Thurston Moore has been doing since he and Kim split a couple years back. Like a bad teenage breakup, fans and accomplices have taken sides, supporting either Kim’s Body/Head project or Thurston’s London-based outfit The Best Day, both ultimately losing some of the weight either name once had.

It’s been three years since Thurston Moore played Vancouver and this time his fuzzed out reputation received a lot of shrugging shoulders and rolling eyes though, suggesting his time was up. Oh, how wrong they were.

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Cosmetics

with Sex Eye Make Up, Mourning Coup, //zoo, Weird Candle
October 3 @ Rainbow Connection

//zoo || Photo by Hannah Thomson

//zoo || Photo by Hannah Thomson

On October 3, I wandered into The Rainbow Connection early. Taking a seat on a couch, the dimly lit room seemed perfect for the night’s lineup — a little spooky, like a dance party in a haunted house. Sex Eye Make Up took the stage first with a puff of smoke from the fog machine. Effortlessly sensual, the duo’s numbing minimalism diffused over the sparse crowd, dreamlike with their sweet vocals.

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The New Pornographers

with Pickwick and COOL TV
October 3 @ Commodore Ballroom

New Pornographers || Photo by Jon Vincent

New Pornographers || Photo by Jon Vincent

In 2000, my friend dragged me to see then-unknown band The New Pornographers in Winnipeg. I was captivated by Neko’s strident “Letter for an Occupant,” A.C. Newman’s catchy melodies, Dan Bejar’s edge, and the lovable gang vocals. I left with a copy of Mass Romantic.

Paired with locals COOL TV and Seattle’s Pickwick, Friday, October 3 at the Commodore Ballroom was undeniably the night of the year for charming group harmonies and catchy pop tunes.

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