By Jodi Gibson
VANCOUVER — If you’re looking for a killer excuse to get wasted and worship the Rolling Stones this holiday season, look no further. Keithmas, Vancouver’s most obscure tradition that celebrates both Keith Richards’ birthday and Christmas, is back for its sixth edition on December 18 at the Rickshaw Theatre.
The rock and roll love child of Hidden Charms promoters John Hewer and James Hayden, this magical event not only celebrates the legendary guitarist (who somehow turns 75 this year), but also exists as a fundraiser (or “fundrager”) for the Greater Vancouver Foodbank Society.
“They’ve really got their shit together as far as the charity goes,” Hayden says, of the Vancouver Foodbank. “The interest and willingness has been astounding.” Items are coming in from all around the city to raffle off to Keithmas partygoers, with some exciting goods up for grabs including an amp, a Union pedal and — best of all — an authenticated pair of Italian jeans worn by Keith Richards himself.
Along with rejoicing in the season and paying tribute to Richards, Keithmas is also an exhibition of local music camaraderie, with most of the performing bands returning from last year. This year will see groups like The Jolts, Rich Hope and his Evil Doers, La Chinga, Wild North, The Ballantynes, the Tranzmitors, the Rentalmen (a pick up band that strictly only play Keithmas), and more. Special guests will also include brothers Ryan Dahle and Kurt Dahle — members of Age of Electric, Limblifter, and The New Pornographers.
“[The Rolling Stones have] occupied a rock space and encompass a lot of eras and genres,” says Hayden, adding that the performing bands will offer their homage to the riff master by performing three Rolling Stones songs dressed in full garb and swigging Jack Daniels from an enormous, communal band bottle.
At the end of the day, for Hayden, it’s “more a feeling that we get with it…it’s the first band, usually The Rentalmen, when I hear the sound check.” The only thing missing from this joyous gathering? “A Keithmas blessing from Keith Richards,” Hayden says.
They’re working on it.
Keithmas is held at the Rickshaw Theatre on December 18.Age of Electric, BC, British Columbia, Keith Richards, Keithmas, La Chinga, Limblifter, Rich Hope and his Evil Doers, Rickshaw Theatre, The Ballantynes, The Jolts, The New Pornographers, the Rentalmen, the Tranzmitors, Wild North