A season of shows in Vancouver to get you off the couch
Forget late spring, or the lead-in to summer—here’s what most folks around here refer to this godforsaken time of year as: Juneuary. Why? Well, if you’re from these parts, you know that January in Vancouver is the cruellest month of the year, when the holiday season festivities are replaced by endless days of grey skies dumping buckets of black rain on the city streets. And you know what? As usual, fucking June looks just like fucking January. Thank Christ the summer concert season is just around the corner, giving all of us a chance to escape the warm confines of our 650-square-foot rain shelters and get hot and sweaty in the city’s clubs, concert halls, and outdoor venues. We’ve cherry-picked some of the best and biggest shows of the summer for your concert-planning needs. Now cross your fingers and hope that the next two months don’t look like Junely and Augustary.
Make Music Vancouver
No one can accuse the organizers of Gastown’s Make Music Vancouver of keeping things small and low-key. You want a big bang for your metaphorical buck? Consider that last year’s inaugural festival showcased over 150 performers. This year, volunteers will be wrangling a mammoth list of up-and-comers including, but not limited to, the Teapot Hill, Jody Quine, Elvis Was a Blonde, Multiple Partners, and Exit Nation.
When and Where: June 21 at various locations in Gastown.
Suggested Retail Price: Totally free.
What We’d Trade Our Tickets For: Given the price, it would be plain ignorant to ask for something in return.
Fan Profile: Posters for the street party, which officially gets under way at 5 p.m., are promising rock, pop, classical, heavy metal, First Nations, country, and more, so that pretty much includes everyone. Except, perhaps, dubstep fans.
Appropriate Attire: In honour of Gastown’s history, a poorboy cap and your best circa-1867 finery.
What You’ll Walk Away With: That smug feeling you get from scoring a great deal—namely, free music for making the effort to get off the couch.
TD Canada Trust Vancouver International Jazz Festival
As major happenings go, few in this city are more enduring or more loved. This year’s lineup for the Vancouver International Jazz Festival includes everyone from iconic legends (George Benson) to blue-chip local chanteuses (Jill Barber) to your mom’s favourite DJ (the incomparable Kid Koala).
When and Where: June 22 to July 1 at various locations.
Suggested Retail Price: Visit www.coastaljazz.ca/ for a full breakdown.
What We’d Trade Our Tickets For: The chance to be transported back in time to see Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra at the Rainbow Room.
Fan Profile: Considering that the long-running festival takes place everywhere from the streets of downtown Vancouver to ornate concert halls to sweaty clubs, everyone from fresh-faced toddlers to aficionados in their ’80s. Jazz is nothing if not inclusive.
Appropriate Attire: Ask yourself this: what would the Shuffle Demons wear? And then, for Christ’s sake, wear anything but that.
What You’ll Walk Away With: A refresher course in why the Vancouver jazz fest remains one of the most important cultural events of the year. Seriously, it doesn’t get more eclectic than Benson and Kid Koala standing under one umbrella.
Foster the People
In a day and age when everything is pillaged off the Internet, it’s reassuring to know that someone is still making a living through art. Take Foster the People, for example. Three years ago singer Mark Foster was eking out an existence as a Los Angeles jingle writer (hands up if you’ve ever sung along to his work in the commercial for Muscle Milk). Today, the former ad man has officially traded commerce for art, with Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” one of those rare hits you actually don’t mind them playing on the radio every 36.7 minutes.
When and Where: June 25 at Deer Lake Park.
Suggested Retail Price: $42.50 plus service charges.
What We’d Trade Our Tickets For: A mint-condition pair of black-and-blue-patterned Air Jordans, preferably still in the box.
Fan Profile: Fresh-faced preps who proudly admit they never listen to anything they haven’t heard on the radio first.
Appropriate Attire: Pumped-up kicks, of course, but not the kind that are going to get you plugged full of lead on the mean streets of Burnaby.
What You’ll Walk Away With: “Pumped Up Kicks” stuck in your head for a month. Again.
That horn-rimmed-spectacles-sporting egghead from the Black Keys isn’t the first dude to take a shot at Nickelback, and he won’t be the last. Never—well, except maybe for Creed—has a multiplatinum, stadium-packing act been so divisive. Millions upon millions love Nickelback. And millions upon millions hate Nickelback. What does singer Chad Kroeger think about all this? Why would he care? Last we heard, he drives a Ferrari and has a full-size ice-hockey rink in his basement.
When and Where: June 26 at Rogers Arena.
Suggested Retail Price: $99/69/49 plus service charges.
What We’d Trade Our Tickets For: Because playing at 11 p.m. on Sundays at Britannia sucks, a regular prime-time ice slot at Kroeger’s rink. We’ll even supply the goalies.
Fan Profile: Impossible to say, because you’ve probably never met anyone who will admit to liking Nickelback, especially if you live off Main.
Appropriate Attire: A vintage Starfish Room T-shirt, mostly to prove that you were there when Kroeger and company were playing the long-gone club in the late ’90s.
What You’ll Walk Away With: The knowledge that, when it comes to having a secret thing for Chad Kroeger, you are not alone.
There’s nothing more satisfying than watching an artist suddenly toughen up and grow a set of nards. You know, the way Pat Boone did when he shocked the world with In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy. Although Ben Harper once made mellow guitar music for dedicated Bonnaroo-boogie granola munchers, these days he’s a reborn bluesman, cranking the amps loud enough to annoy the neighbours. Assuming, that is, the neighbours aren’t the Boones, who are so badass not even Slayer’s Reign in Blood on 11 is going to bother them.
When and Where: July 4 at the PNE Amphitheatre.
Suggested Retail Price: $47 plus service charges.
What We’d Trade Our Tickets For: Barack Obama’s personal email. Harper is a vocal fan, the respect being mutual enough that he’s played the president’s rallies.
Fan Profile: Free-spirited and adverse to deodorant (for impossible-to-understand political reasons).
Appropriate Attire: Jam-band casual, which is another way of saying that, if you’ve got sandals, don’t be afraid to wear them.
What You’ll Walk Away With: Good vibes and, if the past couple of years are any indication, melted fillings from Harper’s vaunted six-string attack.
The Head and the Heart’s Charity Rose Thielen enjoys wearing the sort of eye-scorching pants you can only get away with when you play folk festivals.
Vancouver Folk Music Festival
How the hell did this happen? Thanks to the likes of Bon Iver, folk music has suddenly become hotter than a Texas six-shooter on the 4th of July. Picking up on the new life that’s been breathed into the genre, organizers of this year’s Vancouver Folk Music Festival have, once again, done a great job of keeping things current. In addition to cooler-than-hell old-timers like Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, you get the likes of the beardo-approved Cave Singers and DIY breakout faves the Head and the Heart.
When and Where: July 13 to 15 at Jericho Beach Park.
Suggested Retail Price: Visit thefestival.bc.ca/ticket-information for a full breakdown.
What We’d Trade Our Tickets For: A weekend of walking in Bon Iver’s shoes, if only so we could clean out his bank account.
Fan Profile: Goodbye Birkenstocks, hello Main Street beardos.
Appropriate Attire: Facial hair, especially the variety that gets people playing the ever-amusing game of Homeless or Hipster?
What You’ll Walk Away With: Confirmation that folk is the new (take your choice) dubstep, posthardcore, indie rock, and/or prog-pop.
Sorry, Axl, but ever since you started dragging that glorified karaoke band across the world, there’s been zero question as to who our favourite former Guns N’ Roses member is. Take two steps forward, Saul Hudson, and not just because you had the good taste never to appear on-stage in a fur stole and nutty buddy–baring white biker shorts. The man known as Slash is on the road supporting his latest solo effort, Apocalyptic Love, with a backing crew that includes former Vancouverite Todd Kerns.
When and Where: July 14 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Suggested Retail Price: From $45 to $29.50 plus service charges.
What We’d Trade Our Tickets For: A Guns N’ Roses reunion. The real Guns N’ Roses, that is.
Fan Profile: Guitar World subscribers, Guitar Hero addicts, anyone who’s ever coveted a Gibson Les Paul guitar.
Appropriate Attire: Um, like, duh, a black top hat.
What You’ll Walk Away With: A concussion, from being punched in the head by the Whalley biker behind you for stubbornly refusing to take off your fucking top hat.
Florence + the Machine’s Florence Welch has figured out a way to avoid shaking the hands of people she meets.
Florence + the Machine
Shirley Manson is a tad too scary (in a cockpuncher kind of way), Geri Halliwell couldn’t sing her way out of a paper bag (or sack, or boot, or whatever they call them in England), and Tori Amos is way too freaky (and not just because of the plastic surgery). So who you gonna make your favourite flame-haired goddess? Why, Florence Welch, of course, who’s graduated from punk-loving teenage oddball to a master of genre-mashing pop.
When and Where: July 20 at Deer Lake Park.
Suggested Retail Price: $49.50 plus service charges.
What We’d Trade Our Tickets For: An official exemption card for the next Kick a Ginger Day.
Fan Profile: Sensitive misfits who look for kindred spirits in a singer-songwriter, but not one who’s clearly fucking nuts like Lady Gaga.
Appropriate Attire: What would Raggedy Ann wear?
What You’ll Walk Away With: A wonderful, warm, fuzzy feeling that not all redheads are evil.
Khatsahlano! Music + Art Festival
Remember how, for years, you’d gaze longingly at the Capitol Hill Block Party lineup in Seattle and wonder why the hell we couldn’t have something like that here? Well, it’s time to put the green-eyed cat back in the bag. The second installment of last year’s smash success will feature an A-list array of talent, including sometime-Pornographer Kathryn Calder, garage-soul upstarts the Ballantynes, indie-rock stalwarts Ladyhawk, and a boatload of other local greats, as well as artisan tables, patio parties, and more. Best of all, unlike the Capitol Hill Block Party, you don’t have to pay to attend. Take that, Seattle!
When and Where: July 21 on West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano.
Suggested Retail Price: Free, including service charges.
What We’d Trade Our Tickets For: Sun. Hot, blazing, skin-frying sun.
Fan Profile: Hipsters of all stripes and vintages.
Appropriate Attire: Skinny jeans, white glasses, and a non-repro REO Speedwagon T-shirt. Bonus points if you show up wearing all of those unironically.
What You’ll Walk Away With: The notion that you really should do more to support your excellent local music scene.
What do the Monkees, Urge Overkill, UB40, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash have in common, besides having jack diddlysquat in common? How about the fact that they all serve as testament to the complete genius of Neil Diamond, said acts having all scored hits with covers of the American legend’s work. If you haven’t seen the iconic songwriter live, you have no idea what you’re missing out on. Where else are you going to see mohawked punkers and grey-haired grandmothers locked arm-in-arm, belting out the bah-bah-bahs on “Sweet Caroline”?
When and Where: July 21 at Rogers Arena.
Suggested Retail Price: From $149 to $19.99 plus service charges.
What We’d Trade Our Tickets For: A signed VHS copy of The Jazz Singer.
Fan Profile: Grey-haired grandmothers, mohawked punkers, and anyone who ever sang “Forever in Blue Jeans” at the dearly missed Dufferin.
Appropriate Attire: Ass-hugging black slacks. If they’re good enough for Neil Diamond, they are more than good enough for you.
What You’ll Walk Away With: Close to 12,000 new best friends, all of whom will be joining you on “Sweet Caroline”.
As rapid ascents go, few on this planet have enjoyed the meteoric rise of Skrillex, who, just a year-and-a-half ago, was rocking university pubs and underground dives. Fast-forward, and the bespectacled dubstep/electronica/insert-genre-here producer has jumped to cavernous hockey arenas. Man, it might be time to think about investing in an iMac and learning how to work Fruity Loops.
When and Where: July 22 at the Pacific Coliseum.
Suggested Retail Price: $128.50 to $78.50 plus service charges.
What We’d Trade Our Tickets For: Exclusive iPhone video footage of Skrillex playing the Pit Pub at UBC in January 2011.
Fan Profile: A new wave of electronica aficionados who’ve abandoned Deadmau5 for being so sadly 2010.
Appropriate Attire: Anything emblazoned with “From First to Last”, which proves that you know more about Sonny Moore than the average dubstep bandwagon-jumper.
What You’ll Walk Away With: Living proof that despite what the Intraweb says every three weeks or so, Skrillex is not dead.
As John Travolta proved with Pulp Fiction, everyone loves a comeback story. Fiona Apple is the latest to show that despite what F. Scott Fitzgerald argued, there are second acts in American lives. While her last hit record was in the mid ’90s, the emotionally fragile alt-rock songstress is still packing soft-seaters. It doesn’t hurt that her most recent effort, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, is about 200 times more listenable than anything Alanis Morissette and Lisa Loeb have done lately.
When and Where: July 24 at the Orpheum.
Suggested Retail Price: $75/55/39.50 plus service charges.
What We’d Trade Our Tickets For: A fly-on-the-wall transcript of what went down when Apple played 2005’s famously rejected Extraordinary Machine for the suits at Epic.
Fan Profile: Emotionally tortured and psychologically fragile. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Appropriate Attire: That purple-silk-ginch-and-blue-lace-bra combo that Apple rocked oh-so-provocatively in the “Criminal” video.
What You’ll Walk Away With: Hope for Courtney Love, because if Apple can keep it together, there’s a reason to live for even the most certifiable among us.