The Commodore Ballroom is one of the most notable historic buildings in all of Vancouver. Able to seat almost 1,000 people, the venue has seen some of music’s greatest names pass through its doors since it opened in 1929. Today, the Commodore offers its stylish stage to mid-level bands from across Canada and around the world.
Located on Granville Street across from the Orpheum Theatre, the Commodore began its life as a place “where people came for dinner and dancing music,” as historian Aaron Chapman notes in a Georgia Straight interview. When Drew Burns took over as the ballroom’s promoter in the 1960s, he began to book concerts in the hall instead, according to the Straight.
Acts from nearly every era of popular music have set foot within the Commodore, from swing pioneer Duke Ellington to rock icons such as David Bowie to hip-hop luminaries like Dr. Dre. Tom Waits played the theatre’s 75th anniversary, while acts such as Sleater-Kinney, Eagles of Death Metal and Death Grips have performed since. Past Canadian guests include The Arkells, The Sheepdogs, Peaches and many others. The venue has deep roots within the Vancouver community, as it hosted Canadian Celtic folk band Spirit of the West on St. Patrick’s Day every year until the band played its final show ever at the Commodore in 2016.