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I’m back from a great week in Palm Springs and though I see grey skies outside my window here in Vancouver, my disposition is still 100 degrees and sunny, thanks to the awesome show that is Coachella.

Unfortunately my plan to review every band playing the festival before I went down there never happened. There was just too much good music (and I easily get distracted). So instead I’ve decided to offer up my review on Coachella 2008, my take on the good, the bad and the ugly, and my recommendations on who you should definitely check out and who you should leave alone.

I saw an amazing amount of music: 32 bands over 3 days, however I didn’t see everything so I will (in fact, I hope) offend, annoy, infuriate and piss some of you off. If you think I’ve got it wrong, let me know… tell me your favourites or ones you hated. On to the review:

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Who’d have thought that a Vancouver crowd could be so passionate about music?!?  Normally known as being laid-back and ‘too cool’, the crowd at the DJ Champion and his G-Strings show last night WENT OFF!!  And so did the ‘band’, err ‘DJ’, err ‘group’… whatever they call themselves, they rocked the house!! Read the rest of this entry »

Dudes… sometimes with a dark cloud of death and destruction that rains misery down upon us all (see earlier post about Hot Hot Asses) there’s a silver lining… and on Tuesday night at the Commodore there was a silver lining… 4 dudes took the stage and said “I want to take you out behind the gym and get you pregnant” and with that I was introduced to The Dudes.

I confess I’ve never heard of them. At first I thought they were a bit of a joke, hold-overs from the 80’s, driving their Trans Ams and sporting pornstar handlebar ‘staches.

Dudes, listen up. Listen up good.  These dudes rock! Hard!

You could be in trouble. Yeah you. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m rather depressed. Though I’m feeling better than I was on Monday night when I was leaving the Commodore after listening to Hot Hot Heat butcher their own songs.  There were literally moments that were excruciating I stood there dumbfounded.

I think enough has been said about this. I’m moving on. Or trying to at least.

I went into this show with little in the way of knowledge or expectations about the Painted Birds, but I left impressed and a fan!

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Following a rather in-depth and pleasantly explicit interview with the boisterous members of Hey Ocean I hung around the Media Club to watch them hit the stage. The event was a fundraiser to replace some guitars that were stolen in Toronto recently and featured a long list of friends, including a very pleasantly surprising rap act called DNA6.

How best to describe Hey Ocean? Fun, charismatic, effervescent… yes,’effervescent’ works!

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The girl can sing. She’s tiny, damn tiny, but she almost tore the roof off the Commodore tonight. Though there were only 300 people at the show tonight, they gave their all – singing, shouting, and generally rocking out to a solid hour and a half of Cranberries greatest hits and songs from her new album, Are You Listening?Opening with Zombie, Dolores strode on to stage strumming her Gibson SG like a true rock star. 90 minutes later she left the stage after a rousing rendition of Salvation which left the crowd a little hoarse.

I’m not sure what to make of it all. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the show, it was like a reunion with the hits of your life from 10 years ago mixed in with some solid new material (overall I think her new album held its own for the most part) but part of me was looking forward to seeing a young and refreshed Dolores, ready to embrace today… with a young and relevant band. Instead we got an aging band of long-haired rockers that looked like they would rather be roadies for Def Leppard! Dolores was pulling out her best rock star hand-waving and Axl Rose shuffle-dancing moves but it felt a bit… tired!

I was ready to dismiss her as another aging rock star that hadn’t kept with the times but she rocked it, she really rocked it. She has a unique voice and she came to play…hard! I just hope that for her next album she looks to her peers and not her elders to back her up on tour!

Dolores O’Riordan’s new album is Are You Listening? It’s solid! Get it now!

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It’s not often you get to see a true rock legend play a packed small club like the Commodore. Thanks to Molson Canadian (shameless plug!) I got to see Chris Cornell, former frontman for grunge gods Soundgarden and later Audioslave, rock the house.

Talk about stage presence, talk about intensity, talk about a great rock show. Mixing in material from his new solo album with a veritable greatest hits collection from his previous bands, Cornell owned the stage for close to 2 hours. Highlights for me included the night-ending Black Hole Sun, No Such Thing and of course the classic Spoooooooonmannnnnnnnnnn!!

There were some glitches with the sound quality and it was pretty funny to watch some kid try to crowd surf to a ballad (!!) but at the end of the night it was a damn impressive show and it was great to see a true rock star rock the Commodore.

The show will be featured on Sympatico MSN’s site in the next few days. I encourage you to check it out. Chris’ new album, Carry On, is out as well and it has some great, mature songwriting and some real rockers. His stripped down, deconstructed cover of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean is worth the price alone.

The Sympatico MSN Chris Cornell site is here: http://entertainment1.sympatico.msn.ca/Music/Molson/ChrisCornell

Chris’ myspace page is here: http://www.myspace.com/chriscornell

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Some nights you go see a band and 30 minutes in you start looking at the clock and counting down to the end. Tonight was not one of those nights. O.A.R. (stands for Of A Revolution) played to a half-full crowd and it felt like a packed Wembley Stadium. Gaining steam throughout their almost two-hour set, the boys entertained us with old and newer stuff, including an unreleased track never played live before. The crowd ate it up, singing the lyrics sometimes to the obvious surprise of the lead singer.

The Commodore’s famous bouncy floor was in full effect as the younger crowd moshed, jumped and danced throughout the night. The obvious highlight was Crazy Game of Poker where everyone knew the song by heart but Lay Down, Hey Girl, Love and Memories (rock it out lads!!) and Nightshift grabbed the audience by the hearts and minds and didn’t let go.

Since I saw them last year at the same venue OAR has gotten tighter but has also begun to succumb (just a little) to the temptations of every funky rock band to stretch out the solos (a la Dave Matthews Band) though for the most it worked. I hope they don’t take it too far, though I doubt the audience really minded, given the amount of pot being smoked.

Opening for OAR was local boy Jeremy Fisher who laid down a nice funky, slightly country-inspired groove. Though not yet ready to fill the Commodore I’d happily see him play a smaller local venue again. It was especially nice to see him come down to the crowd after his set and talk to fans and pose for pictures.

It’s nice to see a band that plays to their fans and doesn’t run off after a quick hour-set. OAR definitely satisfied some long-time fans and made a bunch of new ones tonight. Next time they’re in your town, go check them out, you won’t be disappointed!!

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