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History British Columbia (bc)

Live at the Commodore

The Story of Vancouver's Historic Commodore Ballroom - NEW UPDATED EDITION

by (author) Aaron Chapman

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2023
British Columbia (BC), Western Provinces, History & Criticism
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price

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A new edition of the storied history of Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom, by the author of Vancouver After Dark.

The Commodore Ballroom, located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, remains one of the best-loved music venues in Canada, if not the world; it's played host to a who's who of music greats: the Police, the Clash, Blondie, Talking Heads, Nirvana, New York Dolls, U2, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg, and the White Stripes, among others.

The Commodore's history extends back to 1930, when it was built in the splendour of art deco style. Through World War II and into the 1950s, the Commodore was where Vancouverites went to hear swing orchestras and dance into the late hours. Beginning in the 1970s, the Commodore became a full-on music club, a must-stop for breakout bands and other music acts before they became arena headliners. Vancouverites soon filled the place on a nightly basis, not only to hear the latest in punk, new wave, blues, heavy metal, and rock, but also to dance on its legendary bouncy sprung floor. Now regarded as a music landmark, "the nightclub for all seasons" continues to attract the hottest musicians on tour, defying and outlasting other cultural venues that have vanished as a result of gentrification and the pandemic.

First published in 2014, Live at the Commodore was a BC bestseller and won the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award at the BC Book Prizes. Author Aaron Chapman delves into the Commodore's archives to reveal stories about the club over the last ninety-plus years, as well as startling and outrageous anecdotes about the legendary acts that have graced its stage. Filled with never-before-published photographs, posters, and paraphernalia, Live at the Commodore is a visceral, energetic portrait of one of the world's great rock venues.

This new edition includes a new chapter and several new photographs and posters. Full-colour throughout.

About the author

Aaron Chapman is a writer, historian, and musician with a special interest in Vancouver's entertainment history. He is the author of Vancouver After Dark: The Wild History of a City's Nightlife, winner of the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award (BC Book Prizes) in 2020; The Last Gang in Town, the story of Vancouver's Clark Park Gang; Liquor, Lust, and the Law, the story of Vancouver's Penthouse Nightclub, now available in a second edition; Vancouver Vice: Crime and Spectacle in the City's West End; and Live at the Commodore, a history of the Commodore Ballroom that won the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award (BC Book Prizes) in 2015 (a new edition appears in 2023). In 2020 he was elected as a member of the Royal Historical Society. He lives in Vancouver.

Aaron Chapman's profile page