Boozy Holiday Tribute to Keith Richards Returns to Vancouver: Keithmas VI, Dec 18

Photo credit: SolarScott | Wikipedia

Photo credit: SolarScott | Wikipedia

Looking for a different way to ring in the holiday season?

This Dec. 18, Rolling Stones guitarist and legendary party animal Keith Richards will be turning 72 years old. In tribute to Keith, and in keeping with the spirit of the season, Vancouverites will again be marking the occasion with Keithmas – quite possibly the weirdest holiday tradition in the city.

The one-of-a-kind celebration, held this year in downtown’s Rickshaw Theatre, fuses Christmas themes with debauched live rock-and-roll music. At least nine separate bands will take the festively decorated stage over the course of the evening, performing hard-rocking covers of Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones.  

Image from timbreconcerts.com

Image from timbreconcerts.com

The concert serves as a “fundrager” for the Greater Vancouver Foodbank Society. Bands perform for free. Proceeds from ticket sales go to the food bank, and in the past guests who brought non-perishable food to donate got discounted admission.

This year will be the sixth annual instalment of Keithmas, which is usually quite the rager of a show. As part of a time-honoured tradition, band members drink throughout the night from a single, giant bottle of Jack Daniels, the spirit of choice of the Stones’ fast-living, take-no-prisoners guitar player. The musical lineup this year features a who’s who of local Vancouver rockers including Rich Hope & His Evil Doers, The Jolts, The Vicious Cycles MC, Elliot C Way & The Wild North, The Rentalmen, The Ballantynes, La Chinga, Dahle Brothers and The Tranzmitors.

Photo credit: Machocarioca | Wikipedia

Photo credit: Machocarioca | Wikipedia

Crowds have also grown bigger every year, with the event now raising upward of $2,800 for the food bank. It’s success, in no small part, owes to the weird, timeless appeal of Richards – rock’s original break-all-the-rules bad boy who somehow, against all odds, is still alive and (relatively) well in his seventies. In 2010, English journalist Peter Hitchens famously called Richards, “a capering streak of living gristle who ought to be exhibited as a warning to the young of what drugs can do to you even if you’re lucky enough not to choke on your own vomit.” But we still love him all the same.

Combine the Richards mystique with a few Christmas lights and some seasonal cheer and you’ve got the recipe for a new holiday classic in Vancouver.

Keithmas VI is Friday, Dec. 18, at 8 p.m., in the Rickshaw Theatre. Tickets are $15 online. 

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