Here’s Some Major
CD Action For Your Hungry Playe
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
what can be an overwhelmingly shallow and soulless music business.
include “Linden Trees," "America" and "Hook & Ladder."
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
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
Various Artists and
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
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
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
their moody electro-pop with "Paper Doll;" Radiogram, with there lovely
Country-Art Rock anthem "Whiskey In My Bed" (with possibly Ida Nilson
background vocals. Auburn's Shelley Campbell sings backgrounds on the
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
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.
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
be office space), The Silvertone Tavern on Commercial Drive (soon to be
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
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
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
My answer to these questions is yes. But, it will require a lot of
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
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
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.
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
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 email@example.com
Where & When: On Radio
CBC Radio 2 105.7 FM
Brave New Waves Monday-Friday Midnight-4am
Radiosonic Saturdays 7pm-Midnight
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
On The Air
With Greased Hair 7:30-9pm
Thunderbird Hell 9-11pm
Fridays: Caught In The Red 8-10am
Sadly, for everyone’s information, the Paul Myers Show, weekdays
10am-Noon on AM 730 Mojo Radio, has been cancelled as of Friday,
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
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
out: "I was informed at 12:05 pm that Mojo would no longer be requiring
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
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