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The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Phone: 604-266-6552
Fax: 604-267-3342

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    Music Reviews
    Here’s Some Major CD Action For Your Hungry Player
    Mark Bignell

    Horses & Burning Cars
    Kate Fenner

    Alternative singer-songwriter

    After experiencing Kate Fenner live, along with her musical partner
    Chris Brown, at their recent Wise Hall show, I have to say she's got
    to have one of the most sexy, smoky, and soulful voice I've ever had the
    privilege of absorbing.

    This album is a fine showcase of her gift.
    Most of the tracks are acoustic-based, organic and give breathing
    space for Kate's vocals to shine on such wondrous tracks as "The
    Mustangs,” which is her nod to Marilyn Monroe and her last film The
    Misfits, and "In Your Good Name,” which includes a noticeably
    danceable beat to impress the youngsters, but not so much as to bury
    the melody, which is much appreciated.

    Kate is a much-loved Canadian artist, who’s now based in New York.
    You probably know her from her stint in the Bourbon Tabernacle
    Choir. She now has this solo album, which I thought was a long time

    She's not entirely on her own. She's in the company of some crack
    musicians behind her such as The Rheostatics' Don Kerr, helping out
    on drums here and there; Tony Scherr (who also produced this album)
    on guitar, bass and other such musical implements, and her partner
    in crime Chris Brown, making magic with his Clavinet keyboard.

    Kate is not shy with her influences here: Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and poet John Berryman among others were the motivators of her writing. It's funny how she would
    mention regretting releasing this album at her and Chris's most
    recent show. I don't hear much to regret here at all.

    But then, Kate could sing the telephone directory and I'd listen. Kate has been criticized by some for having a rather, say, "pitchy quality” to her voice.

    Bah, they nitpick! With a voice so reassuring and intelligent, I commend Kate for being "real" and not relying on studio trickery to get her voice across.

    She's authentic, and has the kind of depth and soul that's greatly needed in
    what can be an overwhelmingly shallow and soulless music business. Other standouts
    include “Linden Trees," "America" and "Hook & Ladder."

    The Bridge
    Motion Soundtrack

    Rock / Pop

    Here's a band not shy about making it clear where they come from. The CD cover offers a grand view of the Lions Gate Bridge. There's even a long sprawling, almost Pink Floyd-like track called "Lion's Gate," which closes the album, which is produced by Todd Kerns, who also sings back-up vocals on five tracks. You may know him from the
    band Age Of Electric.

    I like what he's done with their sound. Full-on walls of electric guitars with loopy riffs and spacious sound that just drench your headphones! The foursome of Chad Horton (lead vocal and second guitar); Marc Wild (lead guitar and string arrangement co-coordinator for "What Have You Done"); Kevin Cooper (bass and backing vocals), and drummer Niko Friesen know how to work the rock and roll and give it some intelligence.

    There's also a good sense of groove that glides from track to track. Some of it does have a similar sound to it, but, tracks like "Falling,” “What Have You Done," "I Get Lost," "Pay Attention" and "Refuse To Beg" offer enough audio pleasure to make up for any of their shortcomings.

    This album is one of the best to come out of Vancouver. I will play it to death and ignore all Oasis comparisons drawn to it. I live for full-on laid, guitar rock with "atmosphere" as apposed to "attitude."

    ZED...Live Off The Floor
    Various Artists and Genres

    This album is proof there is unique and different music being produced in Canada, even though a lot of it doesn't get played on commercial radio.

    The ZED compilation (yes, it's from the innovative late night CBC TV show of the same name) provides your lucky ears with a stellar sampling of what's out there in Vancouver, as well as the rest of the country and beyond.

    There's lots of variety here to chew on. It starts off with the jazzy-electro-dub of Vancouver outfit Take 5 and "Winter dub," to a more low-fi rock sound, courtesy of Montreal's Sam Roberts, to the string-section accompaniment of Yukon's Boy and their delightful "French Diplomacy," to the socially-conscious rap of Calgary's Kris Demeanor's "Extreme To Me."

    There's also the compelling cross-section of Vancouverites: Girl Nobody, with
    their moody electro-pop with "Paper Doll;" Radiogram, with there lovely
    Country-Art Rock anthem "Whiskey In My Bed" (with possibly Ida Nilson on
    background vocals. Auburn's Shelley Campbell sings backgrounds on the album version).

    The dark 80's retro-keyboard new wave of The Organ's "Untitled” and a
    fitting, grand slam, all around rock and roll opus with the full-throated
    belting of Jason Grimmer and The Nasty On, relaying
    the intense tale of "The Ship That Died Of Shame."

    There’s more where this comes from, but I don't want to spoil it entirely for you. Take this home with you tonight. You won't regret it. In no time you'll be screaming "It was the ship that....Diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiied...of shame" with Jason!
    Don't say I didn't warn you.

    There She Be. Know your Music. See It. Love It.

    Live Music, Anyone?

    A hopeful, and possibly helpful, "kick start" to the renewal of our
    live music scene.

    With the closing of such venues as The Sugar Refinery on Granville (soon to
    be office space), The Silvertone Tavern on Commercial Drive (soon to be a
    Sports Bar), the loss of Ms. T's (to fire) and
    the upcoming demolition of Richard's on Richard's (possible condos),
    amongst other atrocities, it really makes you wonder about the future of
    live music in this sleepy town of ours.

    With fewer and fewer places for
    Vancouver's more unique acts to play and develop a following of any kind,
    the need for alternatives is quite critical.

    The sudden loss of valued live venues can bring to mind these kinds of

    *does this town care about live music at all?
    *Can we do something to bring it back to the healthy level it should be?
    * Is the support really there to make it happen, despite the overwhelming

    My answer to these questions is yes. But, it will require a lot of time,
    effort, persistence, and patience, amongst other intangibles.

    The support has been shown in some circles. Over 3800 people have signed the petition asking city hall to step in and help find a new location for "the Shug.”

    The Media Club (on Cambie and Georgia) has taken up the slack somewhat by offering shows to acts who had booked gigs at The Sugar Refinery and The Silvertone, plus offering other worthy events (Beautiful House on Sundays, Halfway House For Wayward Artists with Watermelon on Mondays and weekly artist residencies) a place to expose their muse, after the demise of both live venues.

    The Our Town Cafe on the corner of Broadway and Kingsway, is contributing in a small way by offering Open Mics every other Thursday and a Songsmith's Showcase with Marq Desousa, formerly of Solarbaby, offering his tunes, some choice covers and a place for other fellow songsmiths to showcase their wares every Saturday starting at 9 pm.

    Pub 340 at 340 Cambie, just north of Hastings, is offering a place for the edgier talent in town, including such genres as electronica and indy garage rock to the mix. As well as a New Music Wednesday, offering another space for new talent to cut their teeth.

    The Legion on Main and East 23rd is looking for live acts as well.

    The Main (Main at East 26th avenue) has expanded it's operations to the back room, and is offering movies on Tuesday nights, and another spot for new talent to cut their teeth.

    Now, this looks like this just might be the answer to a live music fan's prayers. But will this be enough to save the scene so to speak? Perhaps, not entirely, but it's a good start.

    If these venues and their events take off, then real, live musicians will have somewhere to go and develop an audience, especially if they can't afford to rent out halls like The Wise, Cambrian, Anza, St. James and the like.

    No offense to these halls and the good people who run them, but the rent can be pretty steep for struggling indy acts who don't have a lot of money to spend to start with. Perhaps offering special deals, if it's possible, to make it easier to stage a show at one of the premiere halls at a less intimidating rate that won't send either the hall or artist to the poor house.

    Besides the above-mentioned spaces, there are also the smaller venues that line Main Street (Purple Crab, The Main, Montmontre, and The Cottage Bistro) from 23rd to 29th.

    And, of course, not forgetting the old reliables such as: The Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir), The Pic Pub (Pender, just off Seymour), The Marine Club (Homer, just off Dunsmuir) The Colbalt (on Main, by the Georgia Viaduct) and The Backstage Lounge on Granville Island to name the lions share of the respected live music spots in our town.

    So there is still some hope out there for live music. But, with the Sugar Refinery not having a new home at the time of this writing, where are the more experimental acts going to display their talent?

    Perhaps places like the Main, The Railway and The Marine Club can help fill this niche until the Shug finds a new home. Maybe The Western Front (East 8th Ave at Scotia) can offer their space to more Indy acts. Recently an indy music show, outside the usual Jazz concerts held there, (I have nothing against Jazz by the way. The Jazz musicians in this town are incredible.)

    "All Country at The Western Front" did incredibly well. It oversold. So why not offer the place to more acts outside the Jazz idiom? Until then, I feel the best place for Sugar Refinery-esque bands to consider are (besides the obvious ones I've mentioned) places just off the radar (like the late Butchershop Gallery. Call Forbes if you 'd like to make the place your own.) in artists respective neighbourhoods, or; hold house

    Get creative. Don't let Vancouver's "No Fun" purveyors shut down live music. Find halls that are cheaper.
    There have to be some out there: other legions, churches, etc. With Vancouver's antiquated and over-regulated laws and all around discouragement of nurturing live talent, it's time more local musicians, promoters and music lovers in general, not just rely on the clubs anymore (although there are a few who still believe in live music).

    Take matters into your own hands and make it happen where you can. It'll take some doing, but it'll ensure there will be a live scene in this town that will continue to evolve and thrive, despite the overwhelming odds set upon it.

    E-mailing and writing city hall might help. If they know there's a demand for live music here, they might help out in some way. It can't hurt trying. It can be done. It won't be easy, but with some concrete encouragement from the community, there's no telling what could be accomplished. That's my vision and I'm sticking to it.

    Localcentric's Where & When

    A local Indy travel guide!
    In order to appreciate local Indy talent, you have to first know "where and when" you can get acquainted with it.

    The Columbia Journal is more than happy to offer some places to go for doing
    just that.

    Where & When: On TV

    ZED on CBC Television-Weeknights at 11:25pm
    A mix of films, arts and local Indy talent. Not to be missed.

    Going Coastal on Muchmusic. Sundays 8pm
    E-mail host Chris Nelson at chrisn@muchmusic.com

    Where & When: On Radio

    CBC Radio 2 105.7 FM
    Brave New Waves Monday-Friday Midnight-4am
    Radiosonic Saturdays 7pm-Midnight
     Sundays 7pm-10pm
    Radio On Saturdays & Sundays Midnight-4am

    CBC Radio 1  AM 690
    Definitely Not The Opera.  Saturdays 1pm-5pm with Sook-Yin Lee

    CJSF at 90.1 FM
     I’m not familiar with their shows, but they are available on the regular FM dial. Tune in and make some discoveries!

    CITR 101.9 FM Selected Shows:
    Sundays: Blood On The Saddle 3-5pm
    Mondays: Parts Unknown 1-3pm
    Tuesdays: Third times The Charm 9:30-11:30am
    Wednesdays (alternating shows): Motordaddy and Rumbletone radio, 3-5pm,
     and The Folk Oasis, 9-11pm
    Thursdays: Local Kids Make Good (alternates with Pedal Revolution) 5-6pm
               Out For Kicks 6-7:30pm
               On The Air With Greased Hair 7:30-9pm
               Live From Thunderbird Hell 9-11pm
    Fridays:   Caught In The Red 8-10am
              Ska-T's Scenic Drive 10am-Noon
              Nardwuar presents 3:30-5pm
              The Northern Wish 6-7:30pm

    Sadly, for everyone’s information, the Paul Myers Show, weekdays 10am-Noon on AM 730 Mojo Radio, has been cancelled as of Friday, February 6.

    This is a sad loss to bringing more local Indy talent to a much larger
    audience. The show was a huge supporter of local Indy talent and had Mark Bignell
    of Radio Bandcouver as a guest on the show numerous times.

    It's a hard pill to swallow, but, it's not all bad. Let's hear Paul Myers
    out: "I was informed at 12:05 pm that Mojo would no longer be requiring my
    services, cheap as they are.”

    So that's the end of the Paul Myers Show on Mojo Radio. “I'll still be doing local and national media, and may even be on another station in no time,” he said. “I'll still be a player in the media, so keep me on your lists.”

    You should keep the following e-mail handy: paulm @ shaw.ca.
     Let’s hope for the best.

    There you be. This is by no means a complete listing, but at least you know where to start for "the real stuff." Happy hearing.

    Mark Bignell is a dedicated advocate of live/ independent music.
    He can be heard Friday nights, 10-midnight, on "Radio Bandcouver" on
    Co-op Radio 102.7 FM
    You can also visit him on-line at: www.bandcouver.com and e-mail him
    at mark at bandcouver dot com

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