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April Wine at the Commodore Ballroom

October 13, 2012

I’ve heard a lot about the Commode so I was really looking forward to checking it out, plus seeing a bunch of West Islanders playing chomrock was a very good idea after 6 weeks away.   It started raining in the morning, I took great pride in calling the locals pussies until i noticed how this little drizzle completely soaked me.  Doesn’t matter, from what I’ve heard it doesn’t rain often in Vancouver and shouldn’t last very long.

Met up with my buddy who works at the local classic rock station and sings for a pretty heavy band.  He kindly took me for my first burger at Vera’s Burger Shack.  Their shockingly familiar motto is “You Can’t Beat Vera’s Meat”.  Nice big ass burgers with a great Granville Island Honey Draught was very satisfying, but they claimed it was a homemade veggie burger – I’m pretty sure it was Yves.  We went back to his place as he told me he had the new KISS record.  I’m gonna give it three full listens before I review it, but already I can say it’s full of ripoffs and cliché’s.   The only saving grace is Tommy playing more like Bruce Kulick than Ace. 

Moving right along, he had something awesome at his place:

I don’t know if I should somehow be collecting royalties, but it’s an actual space monkey action figure!  Complete with wind up movement.  I tried to steal it but he noticed… 

After a Maudite, we headed off for the Commowhore…  very interesting place.  They made me check my water bottle which but when I asked for a water they gave me a nice glass with ice and fresh water.  Very civilised…  It looks like a huge version of the Telus Theater in Montreal, only way nicer.  After seeing pictures of the 100-year-old place I was very disappointed to see they got rid of the beautiful hardwood dance floor.  Apparently the new floor bounces but to me it just felt like a typical concrete floor.  The wood was way nicer.  The bars are fully stocked, great selection of drinks – I ordered a pint of Murphy’s stout and was quite happy not to be drinking a Molson Ex poured into a plastic cup.   While we’re on it, I finally sampled BC’s finest and it truly lives up to its reputation.  This is truly the sweetest I’ve ever tasted.  Almost like eating a piece of moist, rich cake but you can still have a conversation after.

April Wine sucked – it was awesome!!!  The crowd was like a rock n roll version of what I encountered at the Olivia Newton John show.  Their vocals were really weak, and they kind of played like they were at Clyde’s.  April Wine really are Canada`s bar band, they just draw a lot more at home than on the road.  I must say that Myles Goodwyn is a sick guitar player – highly underrated…  his solo’s were Clapton-esque.   As I chanted my “Vive le Quebec Libre” and “Parle Francais, toi!”  in between songs I was very happy to see everyone else yelling at them as well.  Apparently, the fun Canadian rock thing to do is yell at April Wine on a Friday night.  Truly my kind of people. 

It was definitely lacking without Gerry Mercer on drums, and I noticed a very different set order than they would have done in Montreal.  “Could Have Been A Lady” was second instead of the encore, and I was really tempted to run onstage and help out with the falsetto harmonies… they could have used the help.  I made it through a bunch of the hits and bathroom break songs – my buddy just wanted to hear “I like to Rock”  Or “I like the cock” or whatever it’s called but halfway through was the extended drum solo and we bailed.

The best part of the night happened as he had to tie his shoe and yelled “Hold on a minute Babins”.  Everyone has been calling me Mike for two months, it felt really good for someone to finally call me by my real name.

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