queen elizabeth theatre

Having missed Nightwish’s previous visit to Vancouver, I was keenly looking forward to Saturday’s return at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.  The six piece from Finland have a reputation for theatrical performances, and this time around they would be treating their fans to a showcase of their work spanning their entire career.

For those not familiar, the band comprises founder members, Tuomas Holopainen (Keyboards) and Emppu Vuorinen (Guitar), with Marco Hietala (Bass), Kai Hahto (Drums), Troy Donockley(Wind), and fronted by the irrepressible Floor Jansen.  Having formed in 1996, the initially acoustic sounds was quickly changed into a darker, heavier sound with a distinctively orchestral backbone. This is something that has made them so recognizable worldwide.

Given their theatrical leanings, the band certainly know how to build the anticipation for the show. Doors to the auditorium finally opened 30 minutes before the show, allowing the crowd to flood in and take up seats or positions close to the stage. With 15 minutes to go the huge backing screen sprung into life, and the excitement mounted.

The show had an amusing start, with a request to the audience to suspend their current day obsession with cell phones, and travel back in time for a couple of hours to a time before they existed.  This was a nice touch, although largely ignored.

The show began with multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley taking the stage for a beautiful intro before the rest of the band took the stage and launched into End of All Hope, which immediately had the crowd on their feet, this was a sound that has not been played for almost 15 years. This them of revisiting older, and less played tracks continued throughout the show, much to the delight of the audience.

Floor Jansen, who endeared herself to the audience by sharing that Vancouver is one of her favourite places, commanded the participation of the crowd easily, and lent her magnificent voice to such poetic numbers as Elan, Dead Boy’s Poem and The Carpenter, as well as belting out the heavier tracks such as the always popular I want My Tears Back. Marco Hietala joined her on vocals, adding his gruff, tuneful voice to the mix. The playfulness of Emppu, who was constantly engaging with the audience, the beautiful melodies provided by Troy on the Uilleann pipes, the solid back line of tour drummer Kia, and of course the masterful keys of Tuomas, the two-hour set came to a close all too soon.

The wonder Ghost Love Score, sandwiched by parts of the thought provoking epic Greatest Show on Earth, backed by some amazing visuals closed out the show. While the audience waited for maybe one more track the band came out, looking very pleased with the reaction of the crowd, and took their bows.

It was the end of a wonderful performance, and if Nightwish are heading on your direction you should snap up tickets now, as this is a show not to be missed.

More from Nightwish at

Check out our images from the show courtesy of Stewart Johnstone

the darkness

vogue theatre vancouver

Until this evening, I only had one reason to thank the traditional English seaside town.  One of my first childhood memories revolves around the jumbled thought of ants, cough medicine, and a dull dark chalet – good times.  Now however I have a renewed appreciation for this town on the Suffolk coast, as the home of one of the most unique, enjoyable and energetic rock bands on the scene today.

Formed in 2000, The Darkness consists of Justin Hawkins (lead vocals, guitar), brother Dan Hawkins (guitar, backing vocals), Frankie Poullain (bass, backing vocals) and Rufus Tiger Taylor (drums).

The band achieved success early in their career, their debut album, 2003’s Permission to Land sold more than one million copies, and the band cleaned up at the 2004 Brit awards with Best British Group, Best British Rock Act, and Best British Album. After the release of their second album, One Way Ticket to Hell… and Back, the band split.  Happily, however in 2011 they reunited and have been rocking the world ever since, with several new albums, including the most recent, Pinewood Smile, released late in 2017, which is the basis for the current “Tour De Prance” which kicked off a week ago, in LA.

If you are a fan of 70’s classic rock acts such a Queen, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and others, then you have to do yourself a favour and see The Darkness now. With lycra cat suits, songs with spiraling falsetto breaks, and solid, SOLID musicianship, and a healthy degree of political incorrectness, they represent what if great about rock music.

You know you are about to see a band that has supreme self-confidence in its rock roots when they have the balls to play Arrival by Abba as the intro to the show. After taking the stage and blowing kisses to the adoring fans, the band lit of the up show the Open Fire and Love is Only a Feeling before bursting out the hard-rocking Southern Trains.  This was the first of a handful of tracks from the latest album, and the lyrics showcase one of the key features of the band, they are funny and do not take themselves too seriously. [side note – Justin kindly asked for the photographers to be allowed an additional song from the pit, for which we were all grateful]

This comedic talent, along with front man Justin Hawkins ability to really connect one on one with the audience is what sets The Darkness apart from many other bands (in addition to their musical talent).  Whether it is borrowing clothes from the audience, stopping the show to sign an autograph, or sexting Joey’s girlfriend in new West (hope you got your denim patches Joey 😉 ) this guy knows how to entertain, and the fans love him for it.

The audience were treated from songs from across the back catalog, but mostly the first and the latest album, and overall this was a great choice.

We were even treated to an extended version of Love on The Rocks with No Ice, again thanks to Joey’s persistence, and the bands ability and willingness to connect.

This was an outstanding show, so if The Darkness are headed your way on the current tour, do yourself a favour and grab some tickets.


Photos: Stewart Johnstone


diarrhea planet

vogue theatre vancouver

Garage rock band Diarrhea Planet are immediately striking.  Seeing 5 guitars lined up, backed by a drummer is a somehow pleasingly disturbing sight.  You know just from looking at them that this Nashville six piece are going to make some noise.

They did not disappoint at the Vogue tonight playing a hard driving set, alongside with stage theatrics and a bit of crowd diving. Overall they provided a solid performance, picked up some new fans, and warmed the crowd up nicely for The Darkness.

The band, who have graced the stages at SXSW and Bonnaroo comprise of singer/guitarists Jordan Smith, Brent Toler and Emmet Miller, guitarist Evan Bird, Mike Boyle on bass, and the man with sticks in his hands, instead of an axe Ian Bush.

The latest album, Turn to Gold, their third, was largely recorded live, in a space of days rather than months. This really allows listeners to get a feel for the massive sound that these guys can produce live.

More at:

Or follow them on facebook/twitter/instagram at @DiarrheaPlanet

Photos: Stewart Johnstone

Vancouver art gallery

Shawn Austin, The Boom Booms and little destroyer

As part of the Vancouver hosted JUNO’s this weekend, there has been a whole bunch of great music to catch up on with almost 100 artists performing as part of JUNOFest.

The Vancouver Art Gallery has been hosting a number of great artists over the weekend.  I was lucky enough to catch three very different, but equally talented bands and individuals on Friday.

Check out some images from Shawn Austin The Boom Boom’s and Little Destroyer.

Photos: Stewart Johnstone


Old.Soul.rebel, BRDGS, Nuela Charles
and Ria Mae

As part of the Vancouver hosted JUNO’s this weekend, there has been a whole bunch of great music to catch up on with almost 100 artists performing as part of JUNOFest.

I spent last night darting between a couple of venues to grab some images of some of the great acts on offer.

The night at the VENUE was launched by the talented Old.Soul.Rebel, with Chelsea Johnson and Lola Whyte holding nothing back, and really relishing getting the night going. This duo, backed by some solid horns, and percussion have the perfect blend of soul and kick ass rock and roll that leaves you smiling every time you hear them.

(Check out our images from their show at the CBC Plaza earlier in the year)

Next up was energetic electro-pop performer BRDGS, a great young act, originally Steady Brook, Newfoundland and now based out of Toronto. BRDGS is getting established very quickly on the Canadian scene, and tonight’s performance will undoubtedly win over more fans.

Nuela Charles, the first of two JUNO nominees of the evening took the mood in a more soulful direction. The singer who is nominated for the Adult Contemporary Album of the year, used her powerful voice to full effect during a set which showcased her vocal range effectively.

Closing the evening out was Ria Mae, nominated for Pop Album of the Year, Ria is no stranger to the award process having previously been nominated for Single of the Year at the 2016 JUNO’s.

Check out our images below

Photos: Stewart Johnstone





As part of the Vancouver hosted JUNO’s this weekend, there has been a whole bunch of great music to catch up on with almost 100 artists performing as part of JUNOFest.

I spent last night darting between a couple of venues to grab some images of some of the great acts on offer.

The night kicked off at the Roxy with Derrival. This young band, which was one of three bands chosen for the inaugural Juno Masterclass, gave an energetic performance and clearly enjoyed being on stage.

Next up was Calgary’s indie-rocker Matt Blais, who brought a bit of a Bob Dylan/Neil Young vibe to venue, taking the stage with guitar and harmonica in place. Matt, who has in the past opened for Blue Rodeo, and collaborated with Sam Roberts performed flawlessly, to an appreciative audience.

Last up for the evening, and by far the most energetic was Victoria’s Jesse Roper. Jesse is an hypnotic performer to watch. He never stops moving, and the only time he seems to stop smiling is when he is grimacing during his wonderfully grungy/dirty guitar solos. This guy is a bona fide star, and backed by an equally talented band easily tore down the house after a great evening of quality music.

Check out our images below

Photos: Stewart Johnstone

Childish Gambino Unveils 2018 North American Tour With Special Guest Rae Sremmurd (PRNewsfoto/Live Nation Entertainment)


LOS ANGELESMarch 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Today, GRAMMY, Golden Globe and Emmy-Award winning and multi-talented recording artist, actor, and producer Donald Glover a.k.a. Childish Gambino announced dates for his upcoming North American tour with special guest Rae Sremmurd. Produced by Live Nation in partnership with Wolf + Rothstein, the month-long outing will visit 13 cities across North America, kicking off in Atlanta on September 6 and wrapping in Vancouver on September 30. 

Tickets go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, March 9 at 12pm local time at American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Tuesday, March 6 at 12pm local time through Thursday, March 8 at 10pm local time.

Childish Gambino’s last live music production, “PHAROS,” was a runaway success in 2016. The highly-acclaimed performances took place in Joshua Tree, California, where Gambino debuted songs from his third studio album “Awaken, My Love!” The performances were recorded and later accompanied the vinyl release of the album, along with a VR headset and an app that allowed owners to access the “PHAROS” performances. The critically-acclaimed, certified gold album was nominated for Album of the Year and Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 2018 GRAMMY Awards, while “Redbone” won for Best Traditional R&B Performance and received nominations for Record of the Year and Best R&B Song.

“PHAROS” returns this year to New Zealand on November 23, 24 and 25. More information and tickets are available now through the Pharos Earth mobile app


Thu Sep 06

Atlanta, GA

Infinite Energy Arena

Sat Sep 08

Chicago, IL

United Center

Mon Sep 10

Toronto, ON

Air Canada Centre

Wed Sep 12

Boston, MA

TD Garden

Fri Sep 14

New York, NY

Madison Square Garden

Tue Sep 18

Philadelphia, PA

Wells Fargo Center

Wed Sep 19

Washington DC

Capital One Arena

Sat Sep 22

Houston, TX

Toyota Center

Sun Sep 23

Dallas, TX

American Airlines Center

Wed Sept 26

Los Angeles, CA

The Forum

Thu Sept 27

Oakland, CA

Oracle Arena

Sat Sept 29

Seattle, WA


Sun Sep 30

Vancouver, BC

Rogers Arena

About Live Nation Entertainment: 
Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) is the world’s leading live entertainment company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, and Live Nation Media & Sponsorship. For additional information, visit


SOURCE Live Nation Entertainment


Robert Plant has announced a new series of North American headline dates celebrating his acclaimed new album, CARRY FIRE. The dates, for which Plant is once again accompanied by The Sensational Space Shifters, begin June 8 in Atlanta, GA, and then continue through the month. Special guests on the tour will include Sheryl Crow, Jim James solo acoustic, Elle King, Seth Lakeman, Jon Langford, Los Lobos, and Lucinda Williams. The complete itinerary is below.

Spotify will offer special presale access to Plant’s biggest fans. A presale code will be sent out via email onMarch 7 at 10am ET/7am PT. Pre-sales begin Wednesday, March 7 from 10 am – 10 pm (local); local pre-sales follow on Thursday, March 8 from 10 am – 10 pm (local). Remaining tickets to most announced dates will be released to the general public on Friday, March 9 at 10 am (local). For complete tour details and ticket availability, please see Every ticket purchased online for Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters’ headline shows includes a CD or digital copy of CARRY FIRE (festival dates not included). Instructions on how to redeem the album will be emailed after ticket purchase.

Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters have only just wrapped up the sold out first North American leg of the CARRY FIRE tour, earning enthusiastic praise at every stop:



8 – Atlanta, GA – Venue TBD w/special guest Elle King

10 – Richmond, VA – Virginia Credit Union LIVE! At Richmond Raceway

w/special guest Elle King

12 – Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion w/special guest Sheryl Crow

13 – Forest Hills, NY – Forest Hills Stadium w/special guest Sheryl Crow #

15 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage w/special guest Sheryl Crow

17 – Chicago, IL – Millennium Park Pritzker Pavilion w/special guest Jon Langford

19 – Vail, CO – Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater w/special guest Seth Lakeman ###

21 – Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre w/special guest Jim James Solo Acoustic

23 – Stateline, NV – Harveys Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena w/special guest Los Lobos

24 – Pasadena, CA – Arroyo Seco Music and Arts Festival

26 – Troutdale, OR – Edgefield w/special guest Lucinda Williams

27 – Redmond, WA – Marymoor Park Amphitheatre w/special guest Lucinda Williams

29 – Vancouver, BC – Vancouver International Jazz Festival


Vancouver based The Long War are to release their first album – Landscapes – on April 20th.

The band, which won last year’s CBC Music Searchlight award recently released the first single  “Breathe In Breathe out” from the album.

They have also performed the whole album as part of CBC’s First Play Live, so check that out here 

Check out our photos from the band’s performance at the CBC Plaza back in July of last year.



The Flamingo Presents

Rollin’ Trainwreck Live at Ocean Park Hall

A fundraiser for Penmar Community Arts Society

The Rollin’ Trainwreck is a bluegrass-country-rock inspired trio consisting of Jesse Burch, Philip Puxley and Phil Bell. They live to play music and they don’t get their name for nothin’!
Their live performances stand apart because of the trio’s organic on-stage style, showcasing their skills on the banjo, acoustic guitar and upright bass.
They are bringing it to Ocean Park Hall on Saturday March 3rd! Tickets $20 first drink included with advance ticket purchase.
This event will help fund the future of live music in Ocean Park with a 50/50 draw, a Tower of Beer, gift baskets and more to win! All proceeds to Penmar Community Arts Society, a national arts charity that fosters the development of live music and the arts in communities outside major metropolitan centers.
Support live music in your community and have great night out in Ocean Park with Rollin’ Trainwreck!
Doors 7:30PM 19+
Drinks $5
1577-128th Street, Surrey
Rollin’ Trainwreck