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Critic's picks: Sean Yelland, Big Dog Energy, AC/DC tribute

Times Colonist arts writer Mike Devlin picks his favourite upcoming events, including Sean Yelland at Madrona Gallery, through March 8.
The high realism of artist Sean Yelland will be on display through March 8 at Madrona Gallery. MADRONA GALLERY


Where: Madrona Gallery, 606 View St.
When: Through March 8
Admission: Free

Why: Toronto painter Sean Yelland specializes in highly realistic paintings consisting of everyday life items. Rusted trucks, empty gas stations, and abandoned convenience stores are among his favourite topics, but his execution is anything but ordinary (Yelland bases his paintings off photographs he’s taken). He’s a lot like the photographer Gregory Crewdson in that regard; both artists offer images with untold potential for interpretation, thanks to the moral and physical decay therein. Yelland, who graduated from Ontario College of Art & Design, is a local favourite, and his fourth solo exhibition at Madrona Gallery (entitled The Long Way Home, on through March 8) should not be missed. He’s a contemporary classic.


Where: Ollie Quinn, 531 Pandora Ave.
When: Thursday, Feb. 29, 7:30 p.m. (doors at 7)
Tickets: $17.50 from

Why: Here’s something you don’t see everyday: A dog-friendly, adult-themed, stand-up comedy night held in an optometry/eyewear store. But those who are familiar with the roots of comedy know it flourishes in off-the-map areas, which makes Ollie Quinn, the optometry/eyewear store in Market Square, the ideal spot for such a showcase. Big Dog Energy — cheeky title, by the way — is hosted by Irish comedian Amy Walsh, who is now based in Vancouver. Further information isn’t available, but perhaps that’s the point. The element of surprise is strong on this one.


Where: Hermann’s Upstairs, 751 View St.
When: Saturday, March 2, 9 p.m.
Tickets: $20 from; $25 at the door

Why: Tributes to AC/DC — arguably the most popular, enduring rock band of its era — aren’t rare. And those that pay respect to Bon Scott, the band’s original singer, aren’t necessarily new, either. But I can’t think of a time when this tribute to the thunder from Down Under has made its way into the Hermann’s Jazz Club complex, so this Saturday night’s showcase is worthy of mention for that reason alone. Many of the players in this Vancouver Island revue are veteran players, so expect a close approximation of AC/DC when T.N.T. kicks into Highway to Hell, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, and It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll). And that’s always a beautiful thing.

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