B.B. King plays to a sold-out house at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton

B.B. King plays to a sold-out house at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton

Events that kept Penticton rocking to the new year

Review of hit (and some misses) of concert and events held in Penticton for 2012.

If you think there is nothing to do on the weekends in Penticton, then you must be living in a cave.

One click on our TGIF section on our website (or look in Friday’s paper) would show you ample events, concerts and plays happening around the city and South Okanagan. Lots of these happening at smaller venues, with little to no cover charge at that.

While a number of great bands and events roll through those venues, it was the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, that charted the most page views on our website. His well-attended seminar included some local dogs and their owners along with a dose of Millan’s charming and light-hearted humour.

For me, two of my favourite moments while covering A&E had to be an interesting interview with George Thorogood. He sang me the Canadian national anthem on the phone and when he came to the South Okanagan Events Centre in May with the Destroyers, the 62-year-old proved he could still rock the stage. Nevermind the bra that was tossed on stage from the audience proving he still had it, Thorogood flashed his toothy grin, belted out his signature raspy voice and still could thump on his guitar like he hadn’t missed a step.

My second favourite event this year was in the comfy confines of the Dream Café where the world outside seamlessly felt to stand still as Penticton’s own Shayne Koyczan and his band, The Short Story Long, left many of us in the audience in awe of his word play and got goosebumps from his verbal dexterity. His body of work continues to grow and be loved, as well as educate. The piece Instructions For A Bad Day should be seen by everyone.

If you haven’t ever caught a concert at the Dream Café, you are truly missing out on the intimate atmosphere that is unparalleled by anything else once those lights dim for showtime.

Another top story, according to our website stats, was when the King of the Blues came to the SOEC in May. Although it was my co-worker who attended this concert, I heard nothing but amazing things about the performance 86-year-old B.B. King gave. Despite having dropped a few lyrics here and there, the audience was eating out of the palm of his hand and he extended his stay on stage because of it  — running his concert a little longer than he normally does.

Other hits this year included the awesome lineup for Peachfest in August which included Canadian legends Lighthouse and 54-40 who packed Okanagan Lake Park.

Sunshine Cabaret packed the park across the street, as live acts performed at the Gyro Bandshell including critically acclaimed Michael Burgess and the trio of classically trained singers Romanza. Also in the summer, Global Spectrum took a risk trying to test the demographic and while it wasn’t the best attended concert, the electronic dance music crowd were treated to Avicci on Canada Day. Not helping the cause was it was an early show as Avicci  sprinted off to Alberta for a late evening performance.

Audiences in Penticton were also treated to the 16th annual Pentastic Hot Jazz festival with musicians from around the world, the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, and the Contenders. And seconds before pop darling Carly Rae Jepsen exploded onto the scene, she opened for Hanson amongst the strong acts at the Cleland Theatre. The Shatford Centre also saw its fair share of great artists.

Locally it was also a great year for music as 20 choir members from Penticton high schools got a chance to perform with Simple Plan at the SOEC in January and Nikita Afonso opened for Paul Brandt. Penticton band Oceans & Lights released a CD and hip hop collaborative Mad Melody Records launched their label. They also released a CD and introduced the art of the rap battle competition to the city.

Misses of 2012

One of the most read stories online in the Entertainment section included the announcement of Blake Shelton cancelling his date at the SOEC.

The country superstar broke a lot of hearts when it was announced his Aug. 4 concert would not be happening due to his commitments to the television show The Voice, which he is a judge on.

Rock The Peach also was a miss, not for lack of bands but perhaps for the pricey tickets that many said is what kept them away from the three-day festival. The expansive festival grounds at Lions Park proved to be a bit too large, making the so-so crowds that eventually came out for the headliners look much smaller.

One hit from Rock The Peach happened during the lead up to the festival. The Battle to Rock The Peach invited Okanagan bands out to the Barking Parrot for a chance to earn a spot on the opening day roster for the festival. It provided a great chance to hear local upcoming musicians.