Vancouver. I’ve always wanted to go to Vancouver. I have some Canadian friends who insist that Vancouver ranks as the most beautiful city in the world. So recently, I decided that instead of just thinking about it, it was time to just do it. I needed a vacation. And so off I went by myself.
One of my goals while in Vancouver was to check out the local music scene so that I could write a column for TRAffIK. The search started on a Friday afternoon at a Burbank Barnes and Nobles. I went to the travel section and started to scan through a couple of the Vancouver books. Two music venues caught my attention: The Brickyard and Sonar. On a Sunday night, I mapped out the two locations.
I got to Vancouver Monday afternoon and decided that evening to see if there was anything happening at these two locations. Now I couldn’t help but transfer some of my Los Angeles based knowledge over to Vancouver. You can find some decent stuff on Monday nights in Los Angeles. You have free shows at Spaceland and Silverlake Lounge. The Key Club has Steel Panther (Metal Skool) and every so often some of my favorite local bands play that night. So I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps Vancouver had some Monday night shows, as well.
Both locations were within a kilometer or two of where I was staying so I headed off on foot towards these two locations. I got to Sonar first. It was closed and actually it wasn’t called Sonar anymore. I then headed off in the direction of The Brickyard. I soon found myself passing by groups of people who didn’t look all that well. I soon realized I was walking through Vancouver’s version of Skid Row. This wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be, but then I was close enough to The Brickyard so I headed over there. There was no Brickyard. The building was getting remodeled. A total strike out. A lesson learned: don’t trust those travel books.
I headed back towards the Sonar – walking on the road part of the way to avoid certain folks of questionable emotional stability. There was a pub right next door to the Sonar. I walked up to the door guy and asked him, “Is there a local music scene around here? You know, local bands.” The door guy responded, “I don’t know, but maybe John [made up name] might know. Hey, John, this guy wants to know where the local music scene is.” John came over, “What are you looking for?” I replied, “I’m looking for the local music scene – local rock bands.” He answered, “I’m not sure. I’m a DJ in the area. You can try out Honey. They’re doing 50’s/60’s music.” His girlfriend (or female companion) jumped into the conversation, “There is something going on at Richard’s on Richards tonight. M83 is playing.” She said it with a conviction that this was a well known band. Perhaps I should feel ashamed to admit that I hadn’t heard of this band. Anyways, John gave me some basic directions and off I went.
When I got to Richard’s the door guys there told me it was $20 Canadian. I did have some Canadian dollars that I’d gotten at the LAX airport – what a rip-off by the way, but I felt like I needed some Canadian currency should I find myself in a situation where only cash was accepted. I walked up to the ticket gal who then said, “$30.” Now that was all my Canadian money. I’m a cautious person. Giving away all my money just doesn’t sit well with me in general. I have this penchant for always wanting to carry some cash around with me and that feeling only grew stronger while in Canada. I had to pass. I regret that I did. I later found out that after Richard’s M83 was going on tour with Depeche Mode in Europe. (Note: I’ve read – in doing some post-Vancouver vacation research — that Richard’s on Richards might be closing down to make way for a condo project. (more…)