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Critic's picks: The Blue Stones; Cult After Dark; Being Robert Schumann

Our Arts reporter's top picks for the week ahead: The Blue Stones play Capital Ballroom; Cult After Dark lights up the screen at The Vic Theatre; and the Victoria Symphony takes on Robert Schumann
Windsor, Ontario duo The Blue Stones. NICK FANCHER


Where: Capital Ballroom, 858 Yates St.

When: Nov. 24, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $38.11 (incl. taxes and fees) from

Why: The Blue Stones have a lot working in their favour, from the bare bones guitar-drums framework to a blues-rock soundscape not unlike The Black Keys. Their approach differs from others of its ilk (such as Black Pistol Fire) in that the Windsor, Ontario, duo favours substance over style, putting separation between singer-guitarist Tarek Jafar and drummer Justin Tessier and the rest of the pack. Known for being an estimable live unit, the group found their feet in the studio on Pretty Monster, their second album in two years and the first to turn up the electronic influence. They ride elastic grooves on songs like Good Ideas, a big step in the right direction and perhaps a sign of yet more intriguing things to come from these Juno Award winners.


Where: The Vic Theatre

When: Nov.24-Dec. 29

Tickets: $13.33 (or $30 for three films) from

Why: In the 1970s and ’80s, when The Vic Theatre was known as the Towne Cinema, Midnite Madness was a recurring series of cult classics catering to a certain kind of cinephile. Everything from Altered States and Pink Floyd the Wall to Russ Meyer movies drew big crowds, which is what organizers are hoping for with the similarly minded Cult After Dark series. The three-film gorefest opens tonight with Terrifier 2 and continues with American Psycho (Dec. 8) and Mandy (Dec. 29) — a trio of excellent, albeit shocking and gratuitous, feasts for the senses.


Where: Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton St.

When: Nov. 27, 2:30 p.m.

Tickets: $29-$68 from the Royal McPherson box office (250-386-6121) or

Why: Sunday afternoon is an ideal for a program such as this, with composer Robert Schumann’s brooding Symphony No. 4 taking centre stage. In addition to works by Felix Mendelssohn (The Fair Melusine) and Benjamin Britten (Lachrymae), of note is the Victoria Symphony premiere of Ian Cusson’s meditative song cycle, Songs From the House of Death (Poems by Joy Harjo). The co-commission features soloist Alex Hetherington, a mezzo-soprano with the Canadian Opera Company whose talent will bring Cusson’s composition to life.


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