Whitehorse bands prepare David Bowie tribute

When news broke of the death of legendary musician David Bowie last month, tributes poured in from all over. Social media feeds filled up with stories and links to people's most beloved Bowie tunes.

When news broke of the death of legendary musician David Bowie last month, tributes poured in from all over.

Social media feeds filled up with stories and links to people’s most beloved Bowie tunes.

“When Bowie dies, your mom’s talking about it, your aunt, that guy that you don’t really like anymore… Everyone was like, ‘I love Bowie. Here’s my favourite song,’” said Darren Susin.

That’s bound to happen when a music legend, with a career that spanned more than five decades, dies.

“For days and days it was just people linking YouTube clips of their favourite Bowie songs and you just realize the extent of the breadth of the work,” said Mike Millar.

“There’s just so many good songs.”

On Saturday, Yukoners will dust off their favourite sparkle wig, channel their inner Labyrinth character or spaceman far above the moon, and honour Bowie at a tribute night at the Jarvis Street Saloon.

It’s been dubbed “Let’s Dance.”

Susin, Millar and Bailey Staffen began organizing the concert within 24 hours of news breaking that Bowie had died of cancer.

All proceeds from Saturday’s event will be going to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Seven groups from around the Yukon ranging from rock band Speed Control, to the electronic stylings of Andrew G. Smith, to the Whitehorse Pop Choir, are preparing their favourite Bowie songs in their own style.

Many have rearranged their schedules to take part in the event, Millar said.

“What’s kind of neat about this is that there’s a lot of collaboration between artists. So they’ll play separately but then a lot of people are also playing together in different iterations of bands,” Staffen said.

Apparently Yukon artists are big fans of Bowie. The organizers say they’ve had to turn people away who wanted to participate.

Saturday night will include about 20 songs. The night will wrap up with an all-bands version of 1977’s Heroes. But other than that, everyone is tight-lipped about what’s on the playlist.

“It’s an embarrassment of riches and its really difficult to narrow it down to just a few songs,” said Millar, who will also be performing.

This isn’t the first time a tribute night like this has been organized in Whitehorse.

Millar and Staffen met for the first time in 2014 when she helped organize a Nirvana tribute night to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of lead singer Kurt Cobain.

“If the Nirvana Night in 2014 is any indication, it’s going to be something really special,” Millar said.

“Not just your average musicians, these are pretty special performers.”

Staffen said tribute nights like these are a chance for people to reminisce and enjoy good music that means something to them.

“You know, when you can sing the lyrics back to the bands on stage it’s something that people really love.”

Along with the concert, a handful of Bowie prints created by Vancouver artist Andrea Hooge will also be on sale that night.

The doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9:30.

Tickets are $10 and are only being sold at the door.

More information about the show can be found on Facebook.

Contact Ashley Joannou at


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