Gig review – TABOO QUEEN & AIR STRANGER at Studio Records, Vancouver – Nov. 18, 2016

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A while back, I reviewed Taboo Queen’s debut EP ‘Fever In Your Eye’ for Rock And Roll, and ever since I’ve been wanting to go see them live. (I also know guitarist Jason Lane since his days in SwaggerJack, and was eager to see what he’s up to these days.) Well, this Friday night I got my wish: the band had their EP release party at Studio Records on Granville Street in Vancouver, and I transported myself downtown to give the band a look and a listen.

And what a great EP-release party it was! By the time Taboo Queen took the stage, the place was full, people were dancing on the floor in front of the stage, and the band was lighting up the place. Singer Mandy Cee apparently had a cold, but you couldn’t tell when she was singing: she has an amazing voice – strong, clear, warm – and it was on full display on each and every track.

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The band tore through their blues / r&b / rock tunes with abandon – making the audience love every minute of it. There were tracks from the EP, of course, and some covers as well: everything delivered with skill and style. Taboo Queen has been gigging regularly and you can tell they’ve got their set down: this is a skilled and talented band that knows how to get a crowd going.

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And again: Mandy Cee might have been feeling under the weather, but her performance was fantastic.

Taboo Queen really has a special vibe: great tunes, great stage presence, and great music make for a fantastic package. Definitely a band to keep an eye on, and I will try to catch them live again in the future.

Taboo Queen is:

  • Mandy Cee
  • Jason Lane
  • Frankie Star
  • Gord Wilson
  • Chantal Sayers


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Air Stranger

There were three opening bands on the bill, but one had cancelled at the last minute, and due to circumstances, I can only review the last opener, Air Stranger.

This is a young band that I had never listened to, or even heard of before, but they impressed the heck out of me with a terrific singer, and some inspired playing from the rest of the band.

Air Stranger plays a blend of funk and prog rock. An interesting mix, for sure. Their original tunes were solid, and they brought the house down with a floor-shaking version of Superstition. A gutsy choice for a cover, but they knocked it out of the park with Guy Wilkins doing a great job on vocals, guitarist and bass-player trading solos for a while, and at one point, blending it with Queen’s ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ (!). I’ll be checking this band out further in the future.

Air Stranger is:

  • Guy Wilkins – Vocals
  • Sebastian Chamney – Guitar
  • Colin Sankey – Bass
  • Eric Sankey – Drums

Air Stranger’s website / Facebook / YouTube / Bandcamp

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