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 »

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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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Prairie Cat

“I think this record and the reason this project is the way it is, is I get to have the time to do that — whether it’s good or bad, whether it’s a big mistake or whether it sounds good — I’m able to go in and try it, at least.”

Prairie Cat || illustrated by Jenna Milsom

Prairie Cat || illustrated by Jenna Milsom

“I was really hesitant to put something out with a cat name in it. To tell you the truth, I don’t even really like cats. I’m not a big animal person.” Cary Pratt, humble and soft-spoken, meets me in a cozy coffee shop in the West End. It’s pouring outside, and I’m wearing nothing over my button up shirt — rain water drips to the floor as we sit down. Swirling his Americano in his hands, Pratt praises the spot as one of the only shops in the city to make a decent cup of decaf; he rarely drinks caffeine.

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Plan 9 from The Wise (Halloween Night Tribute Terror)

This Halloween, the dead will walk again.

designed by Brandon Cotter

designed by Brandon Cotter

This Halloween, the dead will walk again.

On October 31, several of the still-living remnants of Vancouver’s ‘80s alternative-music scene will rouse themselves for an autumnal fest. It’ll be a party to rattle the bones and shake the rafters of the Wise Hall until the noise carries right on up to that mysterious region inhabited by the likes of Lux Interior, Joey Ramone, and all their undead rocker friends.

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