see all cities »


The Best Gig Ever?

When I read Carly’s blog post about her house concert experience a few weeks ago, I got that frisson that you only experience at live shows, especially shows where you get up close and personal with your musical icons. Many moons ago as a teenager, I had the pleasure of singing around a hotel piano with Jerry Lee Lewis. Now wonderful things have happened in my life and a nod here goes out to my son and husband, but the feeling of being so close to that sort of talent is hard to beat.

So in need of some musical therapy myself and intrigued by the space, I asked Carly to hook me up with some tickets for the next Victoria House Concert B. Not only did she hook me up but double bonus, she came with me and we got to watch JP Maurice of the band Maurice

JP of Maurice at House Concert B. Singing about having love, or losing love. Either way it was beautiful.

The atmosphere was undoubtedly very special and despite being almost a bottle of wine in once we left, my vow to ‘attend every single house concert party ever for all eternity’ still stands. This was definitely one of the most unusual venues I have had the pleasure of visiting and it got me thinking about all the great gigs I’ve seen here in Victoria.

So I asked about and talked to local venues and musicians about favourite local gigs, favourite non-local gigs and dream gigs. Here’s a small selection of the answers:

First up I asked JP and although his initial response was ‘Victoria House Concert B’ to all questions (what can I say the ambience is infectious) he retracted the statement and replaced it with this:Favourite local gig – ‘The Constantines at Logan’s, around 2004. It totally changed my perception of music and a live show. I felt I was closer to God then I had ever been in my life…so magical.’ Favourite non-local gig – ‘That would have to be seeing Tom Petty at Pemberton. I realized while watching that the music he makes is a perfect mix of timeless catchy song that are supported by tremendous character and integrity.’ Dream gig; ’playing the main stage at Sasquatch would be a dream come true. It is an unworldly beautiful location.”

The Fort Street Cafe has to be one of my favourite venues in town. I’ve always liked that underground cafe style and that’s easily achieved with the Fort Street given that it’s an underground cafe. I asked Benji, one of the owners, my three questions. His favourite local gig was ’Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings at the Alix Goolden Hall, The control was amazing and the delivery inspired.’ His dream gig? ‘Wilco, Vetiver and BoneHoof live at the Fort Cafe! Everyone has a front row seat and a cheeseboard and wine/beer glass that magically replenishes.’I’ll point out that Benji is in the band BoneHoof and they WILL be playing with Vetiver on the 16th of this month at Logans, so his dreams are coming true, lucky devil!

Nadine Morency is one of my favourite singers in town, to the point that I stalked her into becoming my friend and now my neighbour mwahahahaha. Nadine plays regular gigs with Paul Laverick at The Superior and The Heron Rock Bistro and has the sultry jazz tones that every listener covets and adores. Her dream gig? ‘Miles Davis in an underground New York jazz club, with guest appearances by all my favourite leading ladies, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughn. Basically any of my favourites in an intimate setting. A small, underground club, where I can almost touch them, and talk to them on break like a normal person.’ Her local fave involved Jets Overhead, one of the finest bands here in Victoria.

Title: Victoria’s Jets Overhead, Heading For Nowhere

Next up, I talked to Jay Stirling Forbes, Assistant General Manager at Darcy’s Pub. Darcy’s has regular live music and is loved all the more for it. Jay has been playing around town for years so asking him his favourite local gig was a tall order, here’s what he said “Explosive Rage Disorder was one of my favourites back in the 90s/early 2000s but they don’t exist anymore. As far as existing local bands go The Ball Gag N’ Chain Gang is my favourite show. So dream gig? It’d be a lie to say I wouldn’t want my band involved so how about us, Danny Kilshaw, with Red Fang, Mastodon and Clutch at the Commodore. That’d be a crazy show.”  Yup. Crazy awesome.

If you are a music lover, gig goer and record fiend and you live in Victoria, likelihood is you pay regular visits to Ditch Records on Fort Street. If so, one of the nicest guys in the local music scene, Geoff Howe, has probably met you at the cash desk. Geoff has an incredible knowledge of music, so I was excited to hear his answers. Best Gig Ever: ‘Flaming Lips at Stanley Park, Vancouver, 2007. A totally euphoric hippy love-In!’ Best local gig: ‘Fleet Foxes at Element Night Club, 2008. The Foxes’ harmonies were even better live than on record.’ Dream gig: The reunited Beach Boys are touring this year for their 50th Anniversary, so I hope to catch that.’

Last but not least, I asked Brian and Robin of 1073Kool FM’s morning show. These two are cards let me tell you. Robin was very sweet and chose Brian’s band Ocean Noise as her favourite local gig whilst Brian sparked my envy when he listed Coachella 2007 as his non local fave. Here he saw Amy Winehouse, hence my envyometer going into overdrive.

So tell me, what was your favourite local gig and if you could see any band or any lineup, who would it be? Did you go to any of the gigs listed above?

I think my favourite gig in Victoria has to be Leonard Cohen at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. They talked about the cathedral effect on his last tour which is a truly fitting description for such a beautiful, mesmerising and uplifting gig. As for best all time, that’s a tough one, so I’ll leave you with my worst. I have never ever wanted to leave a venue as badly as when I saw Kid Rock.

Marketing Manager at Lover of yoga, bees, red wine, rock n roll music, good books and mountain views.

8 Responses to “The Best Gig Ever?”

Carly Russell-Huntley

Okay so you never told me you sang with Jerry Lee Lewis???? How amazing are you!!!

My favorite gig in Victoria was seeing Craig Northey from The Odds play at Upstairs Caberet about 8 years ago. Turned out that his back up band was actually Pat Stewart and Doug Elliott from the Odds so it was like seeing the whole band in concert. Plus the opening act was the lead singer of Wide Mouth Mason! It wasn’t advertised well so there were only 30 people there which made it even better!


Amber R Bosma

Carlito, I was at many a Jerry Lee gig as a kid… it helped that I was 13 at the time, I got backstage at every gig, sad but true. And seriously, one day I’m gonna let you give me a A to Z of Canadian music because I have to ask someone every time you mention a band you like.



Worse gig (and first big concert ever): R Lady Peace in Kelowna
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings @ Alex Goolden Hall
G. Love and the Special Sauce @ Club 9ONE9
John Mayal @ Club 9ONE9
Jets Overhead @ Sugar
Hey Marmaduke @ Lucky
Seven Year Old Poets (every show at Steamers)
Sarah McLachlen @ BC Place
U2 @ BC Place


    Amber R Bosma

    hahaha! Thank you Deanna! I love the Seven Year Old Poets too, best band in Victoria I’d say!


How did I forget Leonard Cohen! That was the concert that kicked all concert’s asses! Wow, very ethereal…walk away with god in my back pocket.


    Amber R Bosma

    That was an incredible concert. The difference in sound between that and Kid Rock… ack.. I could go on alll day about that!


Best gig – Rolling Stones in Vancouver a few years back. Row 7 seats, when we paid for nosebleed ones. How that happened is a long story….. 🙂


Leave a Reply