As 2015 winds down, and the holiday season begins, Vancouver’s concert scene continues to gift us with some incredible upcoming shows.
With lots of locals returning for hometown shows, along with several renowned Torontonians and one notorious Miley Cyrus, December has a good variety of musical tastes. This month also includes the Vancouver debut of Skepta and Majid Jordan – two highly anticipated shows in the rap/hip-hop scene.
It’s been an amazing year of concerts, from legends to debuts, and we are excited to end it with some of our personal favourites this month.
Our man’s on the road and doing promo for Beauty Behind The Madness, his latest disc that debuted at number one on Billboard’s Top Albums chart in September. It’s been a busy year for The Weeknd, born Abel Tesfaye – he scored a massive hit with “Earned It” from the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack and headlined a slew of summer music festivals, including Vancouver’s very own FVDED In The Park. Tickets for Tesfaye’s North American tour are pretty much sold out, but a handful of seats are still available in a pit located inside the singer’s stage. Rapper Travis Scott and indie darling Halsey of “New Americana” fame will serve as opening acts.
The veteran of U.K. grime himself, Skepta makes his way across the pond for his Vancouver debut. To say this show is long awaited might be an understatement. Skepta’s music career spans back 10 years, with a recent massive comeback in 2013. This year, his single Shutdown made its way to the Top 40 in the U.K, and got the attention of Drake and Kanye West. After a quick appearance at OVO Fest in Toronto in August, Skepta headlined his first Canadian show there that night to a sold-out crowd. I was lucky enough to be in attendance, and Skepta shut down the Six that night. Although some may find the price steep for a debut gig, this show is bound to sell out, and for good reason. It may be one of your most memorable gigs this year.
The Toronto rap/hip-hop movement continues. Returning to Vancouver this week is the Six’s Jazz Cartier – who is slowly becoming an internationally recognized name in the industry. At only 21-years-old, Jazz Cartier has already toured globally after releasing his debut mixtape Marauding in Paradise. Although he is sometimes compared to Travis Scott and A$AP Rocky, Cartier has his own new school urban sound. His mixtape is a showcase of Cartier’s different influences, and his live performances are a showcase of his talent and energy. Jazz Cartier is one artist to look out for in the coming year, and you can check him out live this weekend.
Pop-rock duo Twenty One Pilots rose to fame in 2013 while opening for Fall Out Boy on their Save Rock & Roll tour, and scored their first-ever number one album with this year’s Blurryface. Not content to stand still and perform their songs as-is, the guys like to mix things up a bit – expect singer Tyler Joseph to perform backflips off of his piano and Josh Dun to play drums on a platform raised above the crowd. “Our strategy needs to be putting on a live show that people don’t forget, or will go tell their friends or family,” says Dun. Their December 9 show at the Vogue Theatre was originally scheduled for October but was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances; all tickets purchased for the original show will be honoured on the make-up date.
The English rockers return to Rogers Arena in support of their seventh studio album Drones. The disc, produced by Canadian hitmaker Robert “Mutt” Lange, garnered the band some of their best reviews ever (Spin magazine called Drones a “wonderfully overblown record). For their world tour, Muse will perform “in the round”, giving Vancouver fans a spectacular 360-degree view of the show. Frontman Matt Bellamy promises the event will be “even more theatrical than probably any show we’ve done in North America” and the group plans to incorporate actual drones into their performance. Take that, selfie stick lovers.
Possibly one of my current favourites, Toronto duo Majid Jordan make their debut in Vancouver next week at the most intimate venue, The Alexander. If the name sounds familiar, they were featured on Drake’s hit Hold On, We’re Going Home and are signed on his OVO Sound label. Although fairly new to the game, Majid Jordan released their EP A Place Like This in 2014, and this year Drake premiered their track My Love on Apple’s Beats 1 radio. This is just the beginning for these talented young producers, who’ve already sold-out their upcoming show in Vancouver. If you don’t catch them this time around, be sure to watch for their next city appearance, probably at a much larger venue.
From young Toronto producers, to a young Vancouver producer. Local fave Ekali returns home after a European tour to headline at Fortune Sound Club in December. Ekali, aka Vancouver’s Nathan Shaw, is arguably one of the city’s most talented producers – with remixes on Soundcloud with over a million plays. His energetic sets has made him a favourite at music festivals, like Shambhala, and has him selling out shows globally. The Red Bull Music Academy alumni’s return to the Vancouver stage is bound to be a celebration – one we are very much looking forward to.
Music’s biggest troublemaker returns to Vancouver for the first time in two years with her Milky Milky Milk tour. Cyrus, accompanied by alt-rock gods The Flaming Lips, is playing just a handful of club shows and her stop at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre is one of only eight dates on the tour. Fans hoping for a career retrospective will be disappointed, as the singer will only perform songs from her latest album Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz (with the exception of show closer “We Can’t Stop”). Those lucky enough to score tickets for the intimate set will be treated to an extravaganza filled with confetti, balloons, unicorns and a nearly-nude Cyrus donning fake breasts and a prosthetic penis. The show is billed as “all ages” event but may we suggest you leave the little ones at home with a Hannah Montana DVD.
Our fave local duo are back in town – and in a big way. Nick Middleton and Duncan Smith, aka The Funk Hunters, return to their home for two back to back shows at the Commodore Ballroom this month. This duo is known for their incredible live act, and their enigmatic stage presence. After catching up with them earlier this year, The Funk Hunters were on the road internationally before making their way back home. These guys have clearly made their mark here, after their first show on December 22 sold-out, they put on a second date the next day – which will also probably sell out by then. Celebrate the holidays and get your groove on with The Funk Hunters this month.
Western Canada’s largest indoor music festival returns to Vancouver for a fourth consecutive year, and 2015’s lineup is probably its best yet. 28,000 EDM lovers are expected to fill BC Place over the course of two days and will bust-a-move to killer sets from Above & Beyond, Hardwell, Grammy nominee DJ Snake and more. Fans who asked Santa for the VIP experience will receive priority entry into the venue, as well as access to special viewing areas and a separate beer garden.