Month: October 2011

Shimmering Stars

September 16th: the basement of the Waldorf Hotel is packed for the release of Shimmering Stars’ debut album, Violent Hearts. The faux-tiki decor of the venue, like the band’s early pop-inspired tunes, appears to have come from a different time. A bartender who strikingly resembles Buddy Holly takes my order. Drink in hand, I dance the night away. Eight days earlier, I met with the band’s frontman Rory McClure for a drink at the Railway Club. Arriving for our meeting after class on UBC’s campus – where he’s a newly enrolled student – he takes a hard look at what’s on tap before having a seat and ordering a beer. Putting down his bag, he casually mentions, “I don’t have a place to live right now,” and then says something about a rat infestation. Despite having recently returned from a European tour, being in the midst of “trying to find a new place to live, figuring out student loan shit, starting new courses” and prepping for the impending release of Violent Hearts, he doesn’t seem too stressed. …

Save the Red Gate

It’s the same familiar story, only this time the venue at stake is 152-156 West Hastings Street, the multi-purpose art center known as the Red Gate. If you’ve never noticed it, it’s probably because it’s not the regular type of underground cultural space that the City of Vancouver typically shuts down for the fun that goes on behind closed doors. The Red Gate is a legitimate space for artists, musicians, photographers and filmmakers to create and display art. What’s more, for the past seven years, the 15,000 square foot space has been a 100 per cent self-funded and self-organized cultural facility dedicated to fostering the boundary-pushing creativity for which the DTES is historically known. In spite of all this, without warning, on May 24, 2011, the City of Vancouver’s Building Inspector Branch issued the Red Gate a 30-day Order to Vacate notice, citing “serious life and safety concerns.” The city, however, took no initiative to inform the Red Gate of their apparent concerns, nor did they provide them any time or instruction on how to …

Powerchord: “Mistress of Metal”

Ask the Mistress of Metal what album she’d take with her to a deserted island and you’d be asking a lot. Bring up her radio show Powerchord’s upcoming 25th anniversary concert at the Rickshaw (May 21), however, and her veil of indecision is lifted. When the Mistress, the third person to host the long running heavy metal program, realized that 25 years had passed since Metal Ron and Gerald Rattlehead first started Powerchord on CiTR, it was obvious to her that they had to commemorate the occasion. The milestone is especially impressive, given that Powerchord is the longest running metal radio show in Canada. “Kind of a big deal,” is how she put it. She further describes the concert as “Canadian head-banging history.” Featuring a of diverse ballot of Canadian metal talent—Woods of Ypres, Titans Eve, Scissortooth, Scythia, Magnus Rising and Auroch—the concert represents what Powerchord’s all about: bringing metal to the masses. All proceeds from the concert will benefit the Music BC charitable foundation, bringing the gift of music to classrooms across British Columbia. …