When Joe Strummer died 10 years ago, a number of Vancouver musicians came together for an impromptu tribute to the lead singer of The Clash. Now, a decade later, local artists are again banding together for another tribute, this one a little more organized.
Vancouver Calling, on Sunday Dec 23 at the Electric Owl, includes guest appearances by C.R. Avery, Jim Byrnes, Colin James, Rich Hope, Craig Northey (The Odds), Colleen Rennison (No Sinner), Shaun Verreault (Wide Mouth Mason) and more performing Clash and Strummer songs. Steve Dawson (guitars, pedal steel), Keith Lowe (bass), and Geoff Hicks (drums and percussion) make up the house band that will provide backing.
For the uninitiated, The Clash came up in the first wave of British punk, shortly after the Sex Pistols. What made the group unique was the disparate influences of its chief songwriters/vocalists: Mick Jones was a pop/glam-rock kid, Strummer more of an R ‘n’ B/folk dude. Mixing these two sensibilities with the exciting new energy of punk, the Jones/Strummer songwriting partnership resulted in five albums, at least two of which are regarded as classics (the Clash’s self-titled debut and its third, double album London Calling*), numerous singles and EPs and even some producing gigs (notably, Jones got to produce one of his heroes, Ian Hunter).
The Vancouver Calling tribute is a collaboration between Steve Dawson’s Black Hen Music and the North Shore Credit Union Centre for the Performing Arts. An award-winning guitarist, singer-songwriter and producer, Dawson was behind the award-winning Mississippi Sheiks Tribute project which began as an album featuring John Hammond, Bruce Cockburn and Madeleine Peyroux, and led to a series of live performances including two performances during the 2010 Vancouver Cultural Olympiad. Dawson’s latest release Nightshade made Acoustic Guitar’s top ten list of Essential Acoustic Albums of 2011.
Of the guest musicians, C.R. Avery is a Vancouver singer/songwriter/spoken-word performer. Colleen Rennison fronts No Sinner, fresh off a break-out performance at this year’s Vancouver International Jazz Festival and one of the city’s most promising young bands. Colin James is a respected blues guitarist.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show is at 8 at Electric Owl (926 Main Street). Tickets are $25 in advance through capilanou.ca/nscucentre or $27 at the door.
You can see more of Vancouver photographer Bev Davies’ work on her flickr page. You can also get a calendar full of Bev’s photos along with the compilation album Busy Doing Nothing, which features Vancouver media personality Nardwuar the Human Serviette, Kate Nash, the Cribs and more performing songs by Vancouver bands. Order it here.
*Rolling Stone named London Calling Album of the Decade for the ’80s, and the record scored the number 8 spot in their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, selling more than 2 million copies worldwide.