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Critic's picks: Dune Rats, Victoria Symphony and Choke

Our Arts reporter's top picks for the week ahead: Dune Rats get loud at Wicket Hall; Victoria Symphony highlights musical genius; punk band Choke returns to Victoria.
Brisbane, Australia, rock trio Dune Rats will perform at Wicket Hall on Friday. F7 ENTERTAINMENT GROUP


Where: Wicket Hall (919 Douglas St.)

When: Friday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $26.63 from

Why: Think of Dune Rats as Letterkenney: The Band and you’ll have an idea of what to expect when this group from Brisbane, Australia, performs at the Strathcona Hotel’s Wicket Hall tomorrow. Even though it’s an early show, these popular indie rockers favour mullets, beer and weed as much as they do three-chord rock songs from Incesticide-era Nirvana, so this won’t be a quiet kickoff to the weekend. This is a rare opportunity to see a band that is much bigger outside Canada — Dune Rats had two consecutive recordings, 2017’s The Kids Will Know it’s Bullshit and 2020’s Hurry Up and Wait, debut at No. 1 in Australia — play in a club environment. Cue the stage diving.


Where: Farquhar Auditorium, University of Victoria, 3800 Finnerty Rd.

When: Saturday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $48-$68 from or the UVic Ticket Centre (250-721-8480)

Why: Victoria Symphony conductor Christian Kluxen and soloist Brian Yoon (cello) highlight the wide expanse that is Musical Genius: Pundits & Puzzles, the latest instalment of the ongoing Saturdays at the Farquhar series. There’s a bit of everything on this program, with estimable musical talent as the glue that bonds everything together. From Heinrich von Biber’s 350-year-old battle music for string orchestra (Battalia à 10) to Friedrich Gulda’s contemporary, jazz-inflected Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra, variety will definitely be on display. A chamber piece by Oliver Knussen (Music For a Puppet Court) and Symphony No. 35, Mozart’s fiery serenade-turned-symphony, complete this challenging concert.


Where: Upstairs Cabaret, #15 Bastion Square

When: Saturday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m. (doors at 6:30)

Tickets: $23.35 from

Why: Edmonton punk band Choke has not played Victoria in 15 years, which adds some intrigue to the band’s Upstairs Cabaret debut on Saturday. Though several “old punks don’t die, they just…” jokes come to mind, Choke never chased trends during their initial run, and their memorable all-ages shows in the market proved they could wow fans on opposite sides of the age spectrum. Expectations are high for this performance, as Choke’s founding lineup remains in place and the band’s new music rails with a familiar intensity. Opening acts are Victoria outfits Surveyors and Shallow End.

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