Local and touring bands alike have wowed crowds at the Rickshaw Theatre on East Hastings Street. From the open floors near the stage to the balcony in the back, the venue’s design accommodates everything from small comedy shows to punk blowouts.
The venue was established in 1971 as a cinema owned by the Shaw Brothers’ legendary Hong Kong production company. The movie house eventually closed, but the building was repurposed and given new life as a concert hall in 2009. Owners renovated the Rickshaw a few years later, adding benches and curtains that create a better vibe for smaller shows, according to promoter Stephen Lyons.
As a result, a diverse array of talent has hit the Rickshaw over the past few years. Internationally acclaimed indie bands such as Real Estate, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Chelsea Wolfe have performed in recent years, along with local acts like dance-rockers Sex With Strangers and psych-rock act Black Wizard. The venue also hosts plenty of metal and hardcore acts from both home and abroad such as Without Mercy, Discharge and Aggression. Festivals such as Metalocalypstick and Levitation have held fundraisers or main events at the Rickshaw, and Westward Music Festival has presented acts like noise-rock trio METZ and multimedia creator Chad VanGaalen in recent years. Comedy performances featuring acts like Jackass’s Steve-O and David Liebe Hart from Tim and Eric also happen regularly. This eclecticism means audiences are sure to find something for them at the Rickshaw.