Tales from the Road: My Ridiculously Fun Year of Concerts-Part 2

The fact that I need two posts for my Year in Concerts – wow, I love my life!!!   Here is Part 2, going all the way back to January – and I’ll freely admit that my memory for those shows is a little vague.   Wonder why? 


Blue Rodeo at Malkin Bowl in Vancouver.   “The Boys”, as they are fondly known to the wingman and me, have been playing an annual concert in the park at Malkin Bowl for about 5 or 6  years now.  The first time they played there, on a gorgeous summer night, Greg Keelor said “wow, you only have to play Vancouver for 15 years before they tell you about this place” – he obviously loved it and the show has become a staple of the summer concert calendar.  The weather doesn’t always cooperate (I’ve sat under a rain poncho for the entire thing) but it’s always a good show and I don’t miss an opportunity to see The Boys.   Ever. 

Ron Reyes 50th Birthday Bash at the Rickshaw Theatre.  Punk veteran Ron Reyes (former Black Flag and Crash Bang Crunch Pop singer) decided to throw himself a 50th birthday party at the Rickshaw and invited anyone who wanted to come.   Opening bands were The Jolts, The Modernettes and Little Guitar Army.   Best $10 I ever spent on a show.   Freaking fantastic is about the only way to describe the music that night.  This video was professionally recorded and mixed after the show.  It gives you an idea of the energy in the room, and I think we get caught in frame in the front row!

We missed Warped Tour this year for the first time in a long time.  No Vancouver show and we had to go to an out-of-town wedding, so didn’t make it to the Gorge.   Spent the entire weekend regretting that I wasn’t there so I won’t miss it again this year.    


Incura and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at the Shark Club.  


Blue Rodeo California Road Trip – Part 2.   The boys from Blue Rodeo have taken a liking to touring small clubs up and down the West Coast from LA to Vancouver.  We had so much fun on the first tour in “09, we decided to do it all over again in June, 2010.   So it was off to The Mint in LA,  the legendary Independent in Haight Ashbury in San Francisco,  Benaroya Hall in Seattle and the Fairhaven Pub in Bellingham.  Talk about a road trip -wow.   Although this video is from the “09 trip, since the wingman and I are featured singing along and dancing  – I’m throwing it in.  It was Canada night and a Blue Rodeo lovefest!

We decided to stay a few extra days in San Francisco (skipping the Portland show) to visit with some friends we had met on a kayak trip to the Sea of Cortez (Baja, Mexico) in April.  Jill and Doug live in Santa Rosa, so it seemed like an ideal opportunity to take a drive up the coast and do some wine touring in Sonoma.   We rented a car and drove up Highway 1 to Santa Rosa, taking the scenic coastal route.  It was stunning beautiful and we had a great lunch of fish tacos at a beach shack at Stimson Beach.  Fish tacos are my favourite meal of all time!

We spent the night in Santa Rosa, enjoying a great dinner and way too much fantastic Russian River Pinot Noir, but heck, when in Rome . . . . The next day we visited our friend Bobby, who lives on a “farm” in the tiny community of Valley of the Moon in Sonoma.  It was a little piece of paradise.  On the way back to San Francisco we stopped at Cline vineyards for an afternoon of wine tasting and discovered their amazing museum of the California Missions.  It contains architecturally precise miniature renderings of all the California Missions, with a history of each.   Fascinating,  especially for the wingman, who makes her own miniatures. 

We finished up our San Francisco adventure by going to see  The Growlers at the Hemlock Tavern, handily located in the Tenderloin district.   The Growlers are from Costa Mesa, CA and bill themselves as Gothic / Hawaiian / Surf and I’d throw in psychedelic.  Epic, crazyass night.  Loved them.  They are at the Hemlock again for New Years Eve . . .how I’d love to be there for that show, though I don’t know if I’d survive it!


Goo Goo Dolls road trip.   After way too long of an absence from any venue within striking distance of the West Coast, our fav’s,  the Goos, decided to play a bunch of dates at casinos in small town Washington and Oregon.  Why?   That was the question of the day as we drove from Vancouver to Snoqualamie to Kennewick.   It was great to see them live again working through the material for their new record, Something for the Rest of Us as well as the standards.   But really, those venues . . . . .  We have another Goo’s road trip coming up in late February/early March.  True devotion is cancelling your plans to go to Mexico and instead going to Edmonton and Calgary in February.  Seriously.   On the same trip we are also heading to see them in Oregon somewhere, Tacoma, WA and at the Commodore in Vancouver.  Can’t wait!!!  Here is our friend Kaye’s concert video of the new single, Home, and yes she was front row.

Bloodied but Unbowed at the DOXA Film Festival.  Although not really a concert . . . it pretty much was.  Vancouver filmmaker Susanne Tabata’s documentary chronicles the late 1970s/early 1980s Vancouver punk rock scene with both humour and gritty realism.  The opening night was everything you might expect (or dread) from the opening night of a punk rock documentary – most of the musicians were in attendance and they came to party. 

Bloodied But Unbowed – Vancouver Punk New Wave Music Documentary.


March and April were slow music months but I did get to see The Barenaked Ladies at a private, acoustic show at the Fairmont Pan Pacific Hotel.  It was the VIP/Olympic Family headquarters during the Olympics and it’s gorgeous.  The Ladies were doing a one-night only private, acoustic show and I got invited!  How great was that.  I’ve written a bit more about them and the record below.

Great show and those guys are just so much fun – obviously!


Oh yeah, February was when we had that little party called the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.  Even if you were not a sports fan, it was one hell of a party and there was so much live music to see – basically shows on every night.  I got to see Blue Rodeo (yes again) on the night of the Opening Ceremonies – they were playing at the LiveCity site in Surrey and the weather could not have been more brutal.  Freezing cold, pouring rain  – but nonetheless a few hundred fans braved the weather to stand outside and hear them play.    We also saw them again the very last night of the Olympics – this time at the LiveCity Yaletown venue.  Same thing again – freezing cold and pouring rain but the venue was jammed.  Never mind that every day in between had been unseasonably warm and sunny – duh. 

I was lucky enough to have tickets to the Closing Ceremony that saw Alexandre Bilodeau awarded the first ever gold medal (Freestyle Skiing – Moguls) won at home by a Canadian.   And the entertainment that night was The Barenaked Ladies.  They were touring their first record, All in Good Time, since the departure of Steven Page.   It was a ballsy move by them and since I’m a big fan I’m so glad they decided to continue on as the Ladies without him.  

We also went to see punk fiddle genius Ashley MacIsaac at Atlantic Canada House.    Stood in line for FOUR HOURS to get in, but in the end the show was totally worth it.    Here is Ashley playing at the Opening Ceremonies.  He killed it.

Burning Borders and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at The Bourbon.   A little known fact about me and the wingman (at least on my blog)  – we were both Girl Guide leaders for many years.   We are still friends with a lot of those girls and for reasons that are now lost in the sands of time, we had an OMG, you are all 19 now”  reunion party at The Bourbon that night.  We had a whole lot of fun with the girls and  really enjoyed both bands. It’s too bad that Burning Borders lost their frontman.  Hopefully they come up with a replacement and get back to making great music.   


A.F.I. at the Commodore Ballroom.  I hadn’t seen A.F.I. live before and completely enjoyed the show – they were touring their Crash Love record but also played the big hits like Miss Murder.   Super high energy, the crowd were into it, tons of fun – even on a Sunday night.  

Three Days GraceAnother fantastic Canadian band.  Love the music, bought the Life Starts Now CD and  play it all the time.  But really, I need to start a draft of this sort of post earlier in the year if I’m going to remember concerts all the way back to January!!!


2 thoughts on “Tales from the Road: My Ridiculously Fun Year of Concerts-Part 2

  1. jeez, we had a lot of fun last year! Must make sure this year is just as good, if not better – that’s my NYR (new years resolution). and def not missing Warped Tour again!

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