2015 is shaping up to be an amazing year for live music in Vancouver, and July is no exception. With so many concerts and festivals invading our city in the next little bit, we’ve decided to split this month’s concert listings into two.
I’ll be focusing on the pop(pier) acts while Yasmin will preview the indie artists in her column later this week.
Lots of 80’s superstars are headed this way in July (Blondie, Culture Club and Platinum Blonde, to name a few) but none are as big or as awesomely cheesy as Journey. The band has sold 90 million albums worldwide and somehow managed to survive and thrive after the departure of lead singer Steve Perry (the spot was filled permanently in 2007 by YouTube cover singer Arnel Pineda). Fans will get a taste of the original lineup as well, as Journey’s original guitarist Neal Schon will be serving as the band’s opening act for the Canadian leg of the tour.
Pemberton Music Festival
After a hugely successful run last year, the folks behind the Pemberton Music Festival plan to do it all again on the weekend of July 16. This year’s lineup is one of the strongest of any festival this summer, and virtually every musical genre is represented. Expect killer performances from headliners J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, the Black Keys and Tiesto and intimate sets from up-and-comers Hozier, Father John Misty and Vancouver’s own Dan Mangan. Oh, and Missy Elliott will be there too so be sure to shave your cho-cha before heading down to the festival site.
Pemberton Music Festival
The iconic 80’s rockers are playing North American venues for the first time in 15 years and begin their tour at the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam. The newly-reunited Culture Club recorded an album last year but haven’t released it, and they scrapped a comeback tour scheduled for last fall after lead singer Boy George became ill. If all goes well, Vancouver fans can expect a fun show chockfull of hits (and probably a couple of misses).
July 17 is the busiest day of the year for B.C. music lovers. The hipsters will be at Pemberton and the nerds will be at Rush, which means everyone else will be at One Direction’s show at B.C. Place. The fab
five four’s On The Road Again tour continues to be a massive seller, even with the recent departure of breakout star Zayn Malik. The band’s setlist is packed with hits from their first four albums including current single “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”. Sweden’s Icona Pop is opening for the boys.
Canadian idols Rush are celebrating 40 years on the road with their R40 Live tour. Rumour has it this trek may be their last big one; lead singer Geddy Lee said that discussion of future touring amongst his bandmates is “a decision that’s in flux”. The prog rock trio have built the biggest cult fanbase is rock music history and have sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. In preparation for the tour, the group released R40, a boxed set comprised of ten DVDs that includes four decades’ worth of live performances and an epic version of “2112” played in its entirety. Their Vancouver date is sure to sell out, so RUSH to get your tickets now.
Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Blondie return to B.C. for the first time since dominating last summer’s Pemberton Music Festival. Tickets for this tour have been selling briskly, and the band recently performed at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden for the first time in their 40-year career. Expect classic hits as well as a few choice covers (Blondie paid tribute to Joey Ramone at Pemberton last year and later performed a mashup of “The Tide Is High” and Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is In The Heart”).
5 Seconds of Summer
Australia’s 5 Seconds of Summer (aka 5SOS) say “g’day!” to Vancouver on July 25. The band of boys (apparently they HATE being referred to as a “boyband”) have released just one studio album so far but quickly developed a big following after opening for One Direction on three tours. 5SOS is literally on fire – in June, group member Michael Clifford was injured during a concert when he shimmied too close to a pyrotechnic display and burnt his hair and face. The guitarist is on the mend and in good spirits, later joking that he was “shredding so fast that my fingers caught on fire.” We advise those of you with floor seats to the big show to shimmy AWAY from the pyrotechnics, not towards.
5 Seconds of Summer
Imagine Dragons are returning to Vancouver for the first time in a year as part of their Smoke + Mirrors Tour. Their Grammy Award-winning debut album Night Visions sold seven million copies worldwide but, 2014’s Smoke + Mirrors hasn’t fared so well despite being a hit with critics. Expect the band to play the new album almost in it’s entirety (only “Dream” and “It Come Back To You” failed to make the setlist) as well as a cover of Alphaville’s “Forever Young”. Toronto’s Metric will serve as the band’s opening act.