Summer heat, sizzling sound: the Georgia Straight’s totally opinionated guide to Vancouver concerts and festivals

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      Summer isn’t even here yet, and already the city has been hotter than a Texas barbecue pit on the Fourth of July. Impossibly, the following shows are going to raise the temperature at least a half-dozen degrees.

      Red Truck’s Truck Stop Concert Series

      Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Hollerado, and Jon Pardi are the main draws, but don’t overlook a solid undercard that includes local aces the Ballantynes, Washboard Union, and Bend Sinister. Oh yeah, there’s also beer—a whole brewery’s worth.

      When and where: June 11, July 9, and August 6 at Red Truck Brewery.

      Suggested retail price: $35 per show; $85 Tailgate pass for all three.

      Fan profile: Vancouver’s Craft Beer Nation, which right now is growing at a rate that makes one wonder why anyone talks about the kingdom of Portlandia.

      Dress code: Trucker hat emblazoned with the East Van cross.

      You’re going because: A music festival where you can actually walk around watching bands instead of being herded into a tent to drink draft out of a plastic cup? Man, we’ve come a long way since the days of No Fun City.

      Festival d’été francophone de Vancouver

      Get set for the city’s largest one-stop celebration of francophone music, with an emphasis on both modern and traditional. Highlights this year include Yann Perreau, Ponteix, and Ariane Moffatt, a slew of cross-Canada imports, and local faves like Pascale Goodrich-Black.

      When and where: June 16 to 25 at various locations.

      Suggested retail price: See the Le Centre Culturel website for full details.

      Fan profile: Not everyone in this city has moved to wonderfully cosmopolitan—and considerably cheaper—Montreal. By the end of this year’s Festival d’été, however, the home of the Canadiens will look better than ever.

      Dress code: Because re-creating spring on Saint Catherine Street is hard to pull off on these fashion-challenged shores, go for the retro sporting look with an old-school Quebec Nordiques jersey.

      You’re going because: Sooner or later you’re moving to Quebec, and not just because you can no longer afford Vancouver. Consider this a primer.

      Lauryn Hill is out of trouble and back on-stage.

      TD Canada Trust Vancouver International Jazz Festival

      For its 31st annual edition, organizers have landed some major scores, the big ones being the normally reclusive R&B star Lauryn Hill, newly minted supergroup case/lang/veirs, Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, and local giant Sarah McLachlan. Add to those marquee shows literally hundreds of performances in dozens of venues, the talent ranging from the most experimental of jazz renegades to unabashedly mainstream crowd-pleasers.

      When and where: June 24 to July 1 at various locations.

      Suggested retail price: Visit the Coastal Jazz website for a full breakdown.

      Fan profile: Open to everything except close-mindedness.

      Dress code: Nothing is as timelessly cool as vintage Ray-Bans.

      You’re going because: One of Vancouver’s most enduring festivals hasn’t lasted this long by being boring.

      Tiger Army

      Stability isn’t a buzzword when it comes to Tiger Army, with the L.A.–based punkabilly three-piece having seen a small platoon of musicians pass through its ranks over the years. The one constant is singer Nick 13, whose continued devotion to the campaign is best measured by his still having something to say a decade into the band’s run. Expect Tiger Army’s fifth full-length, and first album in nine years, when V••• arrives this summer.

      When and where: June 24 at the Commodore.

      Suggested retail price: $30, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Guys who buy Brylcreem and black combs in bulk; gals who look like they’d win a knife fight with Poison Ivy Rorschach.

      Dress code: Black leather jackets, vintage poodle skirts, and full-sleeve tattoos.

      You’re going because: The Horrorpops aren’t touring this year.

      Skrillex (above) will collaborate with Diplo at FVDED in the Park—and you just might see both of them throw their mikes on-stage simultaneously at the end.

      FVDED in the Park Summer Music Festival

      Seemingly arriving out of nowhere a couple of years back, FVDED has become a marquee mega-event for Metro Vancouver EDM fans. As if an A-list undercard (Bryson Tiller, RL Grime, Travis Scott, Carnage) weren’t sweet enough, headliners for the two-day extravaganza are Zedd and the killer Skrillex-Diplo collab Jack Ü.

      When and where: July 2 and 3 at Holland Park in Surrey.

      Suggested retail price: Visit the FVDED In The Park website for info.

      Fan profile: Everyone who has ever left megafestivals like Pemberton and Squamish knowing the best fun is on the EDM stages.

      Dress code: If last year’s FVDED was any indication, the less you show up wearing, the better.

      You’re going because: As if shaking your ass to Galantis’s insanely excellent “Peanut Butter Jelly” won’t be awesome enough, you get Skrillex and Diplo together on the same fucking stage. Thank you, God!

      Dixie Chicks

      Most country artists fancy themselves badass rebels, but Natalie Maines, Emily Robison, and Martie Maguire famously put their money where their mouths are when they stood up post–9/11 and announced that George Bush made them ashamed to be from Texas. Who cares if the Chicks haven’t released a new album since 2006’s Taking the Long Way? Some acts have earned the right to coast on their past.

      When and where: July 7 at Rogers Arena.

      Suggested retail price: $75.15 to $131.75, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Mainstream country fans who’ve never heard of Neko Case—and as sure as Patsy Cline does most of her walking after midnight, in this case that’s okay.

      Dress code: A Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, or Gram Parsons T-shirt, because all three would appreciate the Dixie Chicks.

      You’re going because: Mainstream country doesn’t—despite understandably popular opinion—always suck like Hank Williams Jr. at a dive-bar glory hole.

      Hannah Georgas might get burned if she strikes this pose on the pavement during the West 4th Avenue Khatsahlano Street Party.

      West 4th Avenue Khatsahlano Street Party

      Way back in the day, Zulu Records was the go-to place to discover bands that were more underground than Nirvana during the Bleach sessions. Today, one of Vancouver’s most enduringly cool record stores curates the music for one of the biggest street festivals this city has ever seen. This year’s lineup features pop breakout queen Hannah Georgas, indie supergroup Mounties, Straight cover star Rodney DeCroo, alt-country gems Jody Glenham and Twin River, and alternative standouts Mu, Hot Panda, and Holy Hum.

      When and where: July 9 on West 4th Avenue. Suggested retail price: Free.

      Fan profile: Those who are proud to be from Vancouver—even if originally from Toronto or Alberta, which is basically every second person in the city. And more importantly, proud of the Vancouver music scene, which continues to boom even as living in Lotusland becomes challenging like never before.

      Dress code: Given past sun-scorched Khats events, the Coppertone SPF 120 is a must. Accessorize with a Go Four 3 T just to show you were a regular at Zulu back when Vancouver was a sleepy backwater.

      You’re going because: Last time we checked, no one else offers an entire day of music—not to mention an all-hands-on-deck megaparty—for free.

      Rajasthan Josh will bring some friends to the Orpheum during Indian Summer, but don't expect to see Ganesh.

      Rajasthan Josh and Friends in Concert

      The Beatles were onto the magic of Indian music before most western pop stars, but we’ve come a long way since then. From the Fab Four’s “Within You Without You” to later classics like Dan the Automator’s Bombay the Hard Way: Guns, Cars and Sitars, artists on both sides of the Atlantic have taken inspiration from Indian sounds. Consider how the collective Rajasthan Josh has collaborated not only with the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, but also artists ranging from the Grateful Dead to Dub Colossus. For this visit, guests of the Sufi-music-inspired supergroup will include alternative chanteuse Kinnie Starr, drummer Ashwin Sood, violinist Sara Fitzpatrick, and the Sarah McLachlan School of Music Youth Choir.

      When and where: July 9 at the Orpheum.

      Suggested retail price: Visit the Indian Summer Festival website for a full breakdown.

      Fan profile: Let’s start with Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, director Paul Thomas Anderson, and no less than celebrity chef Vikram Vij, all of whom have pledged their admiration for Rajasthan Josh.

      Dress code: Pay tribute to where the marriage of eastern and western music began by consulting the back cover of Sgt. Pepper’s.

      You’re going because: The world’s always a better place when different cultures meet.

      Steven Tyler was last in Vancouver to rewew acquaintances with the Vancouver police.

      Steven Tyler

      After the robots have risen and Skynet has decimated almost everyone on the planet—including John Connor—only the cockroaches will be left. And also Keith Richards and Steven Tyler. The scarf-obsessed half of the Toxic Twins has bailed on Aerosmith at age 68 to fly the solo flag, playing classic songs from the band’s back catalogue while offering detailed stories about their origins.

      When and where: July 10 at the Orpheum.

      Suggested retail price: $69.96 to $169.95, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Seventies obsessives who’ll argue that no rock band—including the Sex Pistols, Nirvana, and the White Stripes—has made a decent record since Toys in the Attic.

      Dress code: Scarves, wrapped around your neck, ankles, arms, head, and, if you cut out the eyeholes correctly, face.

      You’re going because: Aerosmith hasn’t played soft-seaters since its early years, which means getting the chance to be up close to a living legend before he dies—in 2084.

      Meghan Trainor

      With the possible exception of Meghan Trainor herself, no one saw this coming. This time last year, the American pop queen looked headed for one-hit-wonder status—but what a hit it was, with “All About That Bass” really all about the monster hooks. As sure as “I Kissed a Girl” was just the start for Katy Perry, Trainor has shown she’s got more than one song in her arsenal, which explains why her Untouchable Tour has her moving up to amphitheatres.

      When and where: July 14 at the PNE Amphitheatre.

      Suggested retail price: $49.95/69.95, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Unabashed consumers of ready-for-the-radio R&B–pop.

      Dress code: You know how Portlandia once argued everything looks better with a bird on it? Based on the “All About That Bass” video, the same goes for chiffon hair bows.

      You’re going because: The last time Trainor roared into Vancouver, she headlined the Vogue. If her career trajectory continues, next time it’ll be all about the hockey rinks.

      An elder statesman named Snoop is coming to Pemberton to share his marketing wisdom with Tyler, the Creator.

      Pemberton Music Festival

      A couple of years back, just when the Squamish Valley Music Festival was becoming B.C.’s biggest concert event, the Pemberton Music Festival cheekily sprang up out of nowhere. This summer, it’s the only one standing, with a lineup that’s heavy on iconic acts (Pearl Jam, the Killers, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube) as well as with-a-bullet upstarts (FKA twigs, Hudson Mohawke, and Tyler, the Creator). If you do one event this summer, make it this one.

      When and where: July 14 to 17 in the Pemberton Valley.

      Suggested retail price: Visit the Pemberton Music Festival website for a full breakdown.

      Fan profile: The beauty of Pemberton is that it has no use for musical boundaries, which means getting your freak on to Die Antwoord and then swimming in the mainstream with Arkells.

      Dress code: Take a black Sharpie, write “Last One Standing” on the front of a white shirt.

      You’re going because: Seriously, Cypress Hill, Cold War Kids, White Denim, and the incredible Savages on the same bill? Amazing.

      Insane Clown Posse

      “What is a Juggalo?” you might ask. According to the Insane Clown Posse’s essential 1997 work, The Great Milenko, it’s someone who “gets butt-naked and then he walks through the streets winking at the freaks with a two-liter stuck in his butt-cheeks”. Juggalos, of course, worship the greasepainted Detroit rap duo made up of Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J, which should make this the freak show of the summer. IC-fucking-P!

      When and where: July 15 at Venue.

      Suggested retail price: $40, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Unabashed white trash—the kind that stockpiles Faygo because you never know when the world is going to start looking like The Road.

      Dress code: Um, get the greasepaint ready.

      You’re going because: Until welfare pays enough for plane tickets to the Gathering of the Juggalos, this is as close as you’ll be to getting down with the clowns.

      Bruce Cockburn doesn't realize that you're supposed to look the other way in a mug shot.

      Vancouver Folk Music Festival

      As it approaches its 40th anniversary, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival continues to broaden its base of fans with a truly inclusive lineup. Traditionalists will be happy to see the likes of Martin and Eliza Carthy and Bruce Cockburn still represented and going strong. Those with a taste for daring alt-country will thrill to Lord Huron and the teaming of Jolie Holland and Samantha Parton. There’s the New Pornographers and M. Ward for the DIY crowd, Faris Amine and Jojo Abot for world- music explorers.

      When and where: July 15 to 17 at Jericho Beach Park.

      Suggested retail price: Visit the Vancouver Folk music Festival website.

      Fan profile: Unlike your grandparents’ folk fest, today’s version of the Vancouver classic draws everyone from Biltmore indie kids to Highlife Records regulars to members of Commercial Drive’s expansive alt-country club.

      Dress code: That’s going to depend entirely on which musical subgroup you most closely identify with.

      You’re going because: Some events deliver year after year. The Vancouver Folk Music Festival is one of them.

      By now, Adele is rich enough that she's ready to put in a bid for Buckingham Palace.


      There are upsides to having a relationship blow up in your face. Adele turned a messy chapter in her personal life into 19 back in 2008, immediately catching the world’s attention with a sound that was Amy Winehouse lite. Today, Adele travels a grander and more orchestral route with her work, but still mines her private life for inspiration, as proven by her megaplatinum latest, 25. The biggest difference, however, is that her confessional songs have touched a generation, making her one of the world’s biggest celebrities. Hello, superstardom.

      When and where: July 20 and 21 at Rogers Arena.

      Suggested retail price: $49.50 to $195, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: The perpetually heartbroken and the emotionally traumatized people who love them.

      Dress code: If you bought a 19 tour hoodie when Adele played the Red Room her first time through Vancouver in 2008, this is the time to wear it.

      You’re going because: Love hurts. And it’s good to know that someone understands that.

      Hiatus Music Festival

      Good things come in small spaces, especially when it’s one of the city’s most history-rich bars. The inaugural Hiatus Music Festival will spotlight the cutting-edge likes of Bear Mountain, Youngblood, DiRTY RADiO, and Rainer + Grimm on five stages at the Waldorf Hotel. That’s right, the Waldorf, which is home to the best tiki décor not only in Vancouver, but also in North America. In addition to genre-spanning musical experimentalism, expect visual-art installations, food trucks—and did we mention the brilliance of one of the greatest venues in the city?

      When and where: July 23 at the Waldorf Hotel.

      Suggested retail price: Visit the Hiatus Music Festival website for a full breakdown.

      Fan profile: Solidly outside the box.

      Dress code: Despite the fact you’re going to be spending a day in one of the city’s most retro-stylin’ Polynesian landmarks, there’s a place and time for a Hawaiian shirt.

      You’re going because: It’s good to expand one’s mind, hopefully while drinking rum out of a coconut.

      Gord Downie (centre) has decided to take the boys on the road after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

      Tragically Hip

      Bittersweet only begins to describe what might be the Tragically Hip’s last swing across Canada, a country that it has owned since the 1989 debut album, Up to Here. As you might have heard, singer—and unofficial poet laureate—Gord Downie has been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. But like all great heavyweights, he’s going out swinging with a tour that promises to be among the most emotional the Great White North has ever seen.

      When and where: July 24 and 26 at Rogers Arena.

      Suggested retail price: Visit the Live Nation website for info.

      Fan profile: Any Canadian who has ever sung along to “New Orleans Is Sinking”, “Little Bones”, or “Locked in the Trunk of a Car”, which is to say all of us.

      Dress code: Considering what the Tragically Hip means to Canada, anything in Maple Leaf red.

      You’re going because: What better way to show your appreciation for almost three decades of making us all proud to be Canadian? Let’s just hope it’s not goodbye.

      Someone forgot the rule on what coloured jackets members should be bringing to the photo shoot.

      Weezer and Panic! At the Disco

      On the surface, the pairing of ’90s survivors Weezer and ’00s emo upstarts Panic! At the Disco makes for a rock ’n’ roll version of the Odd Couple. The band that made Rivers Cuomo famous dates back to when Kurt Cobain was the saddest boy on Earth, while Panic! comes from a time when Pete Wentz was the sexiest rock star on the planet. But if the bands share one thing, it’s a desire to do guitar music on their own terms. From the breezy “Islands in the Sun” to the almost operatic “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived”, Cuomo’s written some of the most left-field hits ever to come out of the alternative nation. Panic’s Brendon Urie has given every indication that theatre might be his other calling with numbers like “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”.

      When and where: July 28 at Deer Lake Park.

      Suggested retail price: $55, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Adventurists in alt-music, which (sorry, CFOX listeners) doesn’t mean Pearl Jam and Creed.

      Dress code: Because in some ways Kurt Cobain made all of this possible, there’s nothing wrong with a Nirvana shirt, even if it was purchased at the Hot Topic in Bellingham.

      You’re going because: For generational reasons, you’re probably showing up for either Weezer or Panic! At the Disco. The upside to that is there’s a 50-percent chance you’ll be discovering your new favourite band.

      Kacey Musgraves has managed the near-impossible feat of topping the country charts with music that’s actually good.

      Kacey Musgraves

      There’s a new old-school gunslinger in town, with Kacey Musgraves sounding as authentic as the circa-1940s Grand Ole Opry on her old-timey barnburners like “Biscuits”.

      When and where: August 2 at the Vogue.

      Suggested retail price: $39.50/47.40, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Classic-country fans. And by “classic”, we mean Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, not Shania Twain and the Judds.

      Dress code: Cowgirl hats are too obvious—not to mention inconsiderate in a concert setting—so let’s go with faded Levi’s, a button-up rhinestone shirt, and a chiffon scarf.

      You’re going because: Considering Musgraves is billing this her Country & Western Rhinestone Revue tour, you’re not getting some prefab Nashville dullard standing in front of a mike.

      Frazey Ford went looking for a wall that contrasted perfectly with her white attire.

      Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival

      Think about the name of the Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival, and you’ll notice the all-day event aims for something more than turning Deer Lake into a Metro Vancouver version of the Crossroads. While the blues this year are well represented by the likes of Colin James, Dawn Pemberton, and Billy Dixon, the roots component is equally strong thanks to Lindi Ortega and hometown heroes like Ben Rogers and Frazey Ford.

      When and where: August 6 at Deer Lake Park.

      Suggested retail price: From $50, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: A mix of Burnaby-ites making the most of their idyllic back yard and music fans who appreciate that blues and roots music make pretty great bedfellows.

      Dress code: It’s tempting to ask “What would Robert Johnson or Hank Williams wear?” but no one wants to stand around in a suit and tie in August, so go with shorts and flip-flops.

      You’re going because: Deer Lake remains one of the crown jewels of the Metro Vancouver concert circuit, so even if you don’t know Leadbelly from a lead pipe or Patsy Cline from Peppermint Patty, there are worse ways to spend a day.


      When the Georgia Straight first profiled Flume back in 2013, he was a platinum-shifting artist in his native Australia but under the radar in North America. That explained why he was playing the now-shuttered Electric Owl instead of headlining B.C. Place. Today, the genre-jumping producer’s profile has grown considerably. After mixing everything from spectral prog to candied hip-hop to wistful Afro-pop on his eponymous debut album, Flume returns to the worldwide concert circuit this summer with his follow-up, Skin.

      When and where: August 7 at the PNE Amphitheatre.

      Suggested retail price: $39.50/59.50, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Every Aussie snowboarder, bartender, and professional partier looking for something to do in the big city knows that the Whistler slopes are closed.

      Dress code: Ask yourself what the guy from Wolfmother would wear and then don’t show up in that.

      You’re going because: You’re still kicking yourself for binge-watching Breaking Bad instead of dragging your ass down to the Electric Owl on March 29, 2013.


      Foals weren’t exactly an instant smash on these shores, as the British five-piece struggled to fill Richard’s on Richards and Venue on its first visits to Vancouver. Last year’s What Went Down was loudly hailed as the band’s most bombastic to date, the reward for that being that singer Yannis Philippakis and company are finally doing two-night stands at venues like the Commodore.

      When and where: August 7 and 8 at the Commodore Ballroom.

      Suggested retail price: $39.50, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Brit-rock disciples who have no problem with Foals’ primary influences, including American icons like Sonic Youth, Black Flag, and the Smashing Pumpkins.

      Dress code: Given Philippakis’s penchant for doing photo shoots in shirts and coats that would blind Don Cherry, there’s no such thing as going too loud.

      You’re going because: Who needs their hearing?

      Miike Snow

      Good God, Sweden has given us some great things: Daniel and Henrik Sedin, IKEA, Swedish meatballs, and the chef from The Muppet Show. Miike Snow is every bit as great as all of the above, not to mention the Hives, Absolut vodka, and that girl with the dragon tattoo. The new iii has got the Stockholm three-piece invited to high-wattage gigs like Lollapalooza, Coachella, and the Governor’s Ball.

      When and where: August 12 at the Orpheum.

      Suggested retail price: $25 to $39, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Connoisseurs of indie-oriented synth pop. And with Miike Snow’s recent single “Genghis Khan” racking up nearly eight million views on YouTube, there is no shortage of such fans.

      Dress code: Modern Viking, which is to say longhaired and bearded.

      You’re going because: If you’re fascinated by the art of writing catchy pop songs, get ready to study a group of masters.

      There's a reason why these guys are called the Sheepdogs.

      PNE Summer Night Concerts

      No one can accuse the PNE of not covering all bases with its Summer Night Concerts series. Organizers have kept things current with the inclusion of Hedley, the Sheepdogs, Monster Trucks, and A Tribe Called Red, all of whom are at the top of their game. Those who’ll argue music was better when they were growing up can raid the storage locker for their spandex pants, wineskins, and unisex makeup as they pick and choose from heritage-act giants like the Steve Miller Band, Simple Minds, Culture Club, Pat Benatar, and the Monkees.

      When and where: August 20 to September 5 at the PNE Amphitheatre.

      Suggested retail price: Free with PNE admission.

      Fan profile: With everyone from ’70s superstar Olivia Newton-John to R&B crooner Dru Hill to Celtic fave Alan Doyle on the list, think of it as a box of Forrest Gump–brand chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get.

      Dress code: Leave the sunglasses, hats, and all other loose articles of clothing at home, because you’ll want to ride the wooden roller coaster at least six times before the show.

      You’re going because: Thanks to the wooden coaster, you’ll have already been at the PNE for the better part of a day, making that Summer Night concert doubly appealing.

      Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas

      Demi Lovato has done well for herself since debuting as a child actress on Barney & Friends, the multiplatinum singer’s admirers including Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, and Katy Perry. Same for Nick Jonas, who didn’t seem to miss his brothers while burning through a smouldering “Close” with Tove Lo on Saturday Night Live a couple of months ago. The teen-pop titans team up in a double bang for your buck on the Future Now tour.

      When and where: August 24 at Rogers Arena.

      Suggested retail price: $29.95 to $99.95, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Teens and tweens who, thanks to gateway drugs like Jonas and Lovato, get obsessed with music at an early age. When they grow up to become Gwen Stefani or Jack White, you’ll know who to thank.

      Dress code: Think Tove Lo if you’re hoping to catch the attention of Jonas from the stage.

      You’re going because: Either you love jams like “Give Your Heart a Break” and “Champagne Problems” or you’ve got a kid who’s dragging you away from Netflix for the night.

      Gwen Stefani

      Back in the day, we’d look at celebrity-marriage implosions and find ourselves praying for a Barbara Walters interview for the dirt. Nowadays, all the gory details are out on within minutes. In case you missed what happened with megastar Gwen Stefani and her less successful other half, Gavin Rossdale, she wrote a record about it called This Is What the Truth Feels Like. Some icons get mad. This one gets even.

      When and where: August 25 at Rogers Arena.

      Suggested retail price: $39.95 to $149.95, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Given how long Stefani has been megafamous, expect to see middle-aged No Doubt fans and newbies who will one day use songs like “Used to Love You” to get through dark times.

      Dress code: So many eras to choose from, whether it’s the track-pants-and-bindi years or the hip-hop–chic excellence of the “Hollaback Girl” video.

      You’re going because: How can one resist bathing in the awesomeness of a legend who’s been great longer than most of her fans have been alive?

      Yes, Duran Duran still exists.

      Duran Duran

      Don’t bother denying it: every time “Hungry Like the Wolf” pops up on the radio, you sing along to the “Do do do do do do do” part like the new-romantic movement never died. And let’s not get into what happens when you stumble onto the uncut “Girls on Film” video on YouTube. The ’80s are long gone, but Duran Duran is a rare giant from the era that’s endured.

      When and where: August 28 at Rogers Arena.

      Suggested retail price: $45 to $125, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Still-stylin’ soccer moms, former Luv-A-Fair regulars, and a new generation that thinks everyone in the ’80s spent their weekends lounging on yachts in silk Armani suits.

      Dress code: Silk Armani suits, which will look even better on you if you happen to be female.

      You’re going because: As great a time as you have singing along to “Hungry Like the Wolf” in the shower, imagine doing it in a hockey rink.

      Explosions in the Sky

      Some people don’t get instrumental rock, mostly because they’ve been conditioned to expect easily digestible verse-chorus-verse songs by years of listening to the radio. Drag them to Explosions in the Sky and blow their minds, as the Austin quartet takes postrock to transcendental extremes. And because instrumental music is all about painting pictures in your head, don’t forget to maximize the experience by smoking a Ping-Pong ball of Moroccan hash.

      When and where: September 4 and 5 at the Commodore.

      Suggested retail price: $30, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Heads who hate sleeping, if only because it robs them of the experience of stumbling through life completely stoned while listening to Explosions in the Sky’s The Wilderness.

      Dress code: It doesn’t matter if you show up naked—just don’t forget the earplugs.

      You’re going because: You’ve been saving that ball of Colorado bubble hash for a special occasion.

      Keith Urban

      While we sometimes forget, Keith Urban was actually famous long before he hooked up with Nicole Kidman. Even more impressive than his landing the former Mrs. Tom Cruise is the fact that he somehow managed to become one of the biggest country stars in America, despite being from a country where cowboys herd kangaroos rather than cattle.

      When and where: September 10 at Rogers Arena.

      Suggested retail price: $69.50 to $109.50, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Urban cowboys wearing hats as big as all of Australia. Long hair with blond streaks optional, as is arriving at every hot premiere in Hollywood with Nicole Kidman on your arm.

      Dress code: See fan profile.

      You’re going because: From “But for the Grace of God” to “Break on Me”, Urban has proven a nonstop country hit machine for almost 20 years. Plus, there’s always the chance you’ll end up seeing Nicky Kidman.

      Drake tried every pickup line he could think of, but the naked lady with the flowers was unmoved by his advances.


      As much as we’re prone to be proud of everything that comes out of Canada—maple syrup, Chad Kroeger, and poutine—Drake was one of those things it took us a while to get. Sure, he practically owned the Squamish Valley Music Festival, but that didn’t really impress. And then we saw Taylor Swift singing along to Drake’s “Jumpman” on an iPod commercial, at which point resistance became futile.

      When and where: September 17 and 18 at Rogers Arena.

      Suggested retail price: $49.50 to $179.50, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Urban-music aficionados who’ve gotten Drake right since the So Far Gone EP, and not just because they liked him on Degrassi: The Next Generation.

      Dress code: A Degrassi: The Next Generation backpack, mostly because there’s no better way to show you weren’t late to the party.

      You’re going because: Thanks to “Jumpman, Jumpman, Jumpman/Them boys up to something/Woo,” this will be one of the few times it will be acceptable to yell “woo” at a concert.

      Hey, that's a great photo!

      Sigur Rós

      There are many reasons to visit Iceland, including the chance to eat fermented sleeper shark, the humiliation of the showering process before entering the Blue Lagoon, and the promise of seeing the mighty Sigur Rós perform on the black lava fields of Storavitishraun. Sadly, the latter isn’t likely to happen on nine out of 10 visits, but you can take the sting out of that when one of the greatest bands ever to come out of Iceland—not to mention the world—performs two sets on its current tour.

      When and where: September 18 and 19 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

      Suggested retail price: $56.50 to $76.50, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Sonic adventurists who’ve learned that everything goes better with Sigur Rós on the iPod, whether it’s enjoying daybreak on the wild coast of Scotland, walking the majestic trails of Mount Baker, or eating gag-inducing hákarl in a Reykjavík dive bar.

      Dress code: To show you have as keen a sense of humour as the next Icelander, an NPR pin. And if you somehow don’t get the joke, Google “NPR + Sigur Ros + Bryant Park Project”.

      You’re going because: Let’s face it, as long as you are living in Vancouver, you’re never going to be able to afford tickets to Iceland.

      Dolly Parton

      Jack White not only covered Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”, but also once picked up her tab at a Nashville eatery, despite not even being at the same table. And you know why? Because the guy has impeccable taste. Still motoring along in her 70s, Parton is hitting the road for what she’s dubbing her Pure & Simple Tour. Expect nothing but the hits, of which there have been an endless string, from “My Coat of Many Colors” to “Islands in the Stream” to, of course, “Jolene”.

      When and where: September 19 at Rogers Arena.

      Suggested retail price: $39.50 to $97.50, plus service charges.

      Fan profile: Classic-country disciples, which is to say everyone from’70s-radio listeners to fans of everyone who has ever recorded for Bloodshot Records.

      Dress code: You and everyone you know would look great in a blond wig the size of a miniature Shih Tzu.

      You’re going because: From David Bowie to Prince to Lemmy Kilmister, a lot of giants have left the planet recently. If that teaches us anything, it’s that you never pass up the chance to see a living legend.