Are you ready Vancouver? May is proving to have one of the best concert line ups of the year so far. From surprise last minute concert announcements, to some talented up-and-comers, this month’s shows are scattered throughout the city’s best venues. May also means the start of outdoor concerts. Besides the big ones, like Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett on May 25 or U2 on May 14 and 15, here are some of this month’s must check out gigs.
Female indie-rock trio Sleater-Kinney are back. Formed in the early 90’s, these rocking ladies have been in the forefront of the “riot grrrl” scene. Their 2014 reunion led to the release of their latest “No Cities to Love” earlier this year. From being named America’s best rock band in 2001, to a little show called Portlandia which stars member Carrie Brownstein, this show is highly anticipated by many, and is one of the top shows to look forward to this month.
Hailing from Dublin, the Irish four piece Kodaline may not be a household name in Canada yet, but it looks like they are on their way. The band rose to fame with their single “All I Want” in 2012, which was featured in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy at the time. Kodaline has since released two studio albums, one of which is their 2015 release “Coming Up for Air”. With the majority of their North American “Ones to Watch” tour sold-out, Vancouver’s show has limited tickets available.
Instrumental hip hop producer Blockhead has been producing underground funky beats for over ten years. Six albums and several collaborations later, the beat master returns to Vancouver bringing his downtempo/trip hop vibes to the dance floor. Fans of the genre shouldn’t miss this New Yorker’s gig this month!
U2 kicks off their 2015 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE world tour with two shows in Vancouver at Rogers Arena. The tour will see the group play at indoor arenas for the first time in a decade and will visit 19 cities around the world, and play two shows in each city. The tour follows the recent release of U2’s 13th studio album “Songs of Innocence.” To date, the album has been streamed 81 million times and downloaded by 30 million fans.
Flume announced his Vancouver stop just five weeks before the tour date and managed to sell out Malkin Bowl within minutes of presale and regular sales. The Australian electronic music producer has become a headlining name at some of the world’s largest music festivals, and it comes as no surprise. His high energy sets, along with instrumental beats and layers of diverse vocals, result in unforgettable live shows. Probably the show everyone will talk about this summer – until festival season. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.
Last year, Milky Chance’s “Stolen Dance” was the song of summer. And this month, the band finally makes a stop in Vancouver touring their 2014 studio debut “Sadnecessary.” The electro-folk German duo’s first show date sold-out back in October, when the concert was first announced, resulting in the addition of a second date. But if you miss them, they are back this summer at the Squamish Valley Music Festival.
Another one for electronic music fans, SBTRKT plays a DJ set this month at Celebrities. This Blueprint event features the London based producer, Aaron Jerome aka SBTRKT, who always plays with a face mask on. He’s not across the pond very often, and this show is guaranteed to sell out. And in case you’re wondering, it’s pronounced “subtract.”
SBTRKT (DJ set)
Future Islands’ single “Seasons (Waiting on You)” was a longtime favourite on many indie music blogs last year. The synthpop American band has a nostalgic electro sound that resonates with many, and although it may seem like these guys just came out of nowhere, they have released four studio albums with their latest album, “Singles”, released over a year ago. They are on tour with Spoon during their Vancouver stop.
Spoon with Future Islands
Relatively new to the indie rock scene, British band Glass Animals have a talent for layering instruments and sounds. The result is a distinct sound heard throughout their debut album, “Zaba”. Glass Animals played a sold-out show at the Biltmore in September 2014, and it would be no surprise if their upcoming gig at the Vogue followed suit.
For two nights this month, Vancouver will get to experience the legendary Tony Bennett and pop superstar Lady Gaga as their highly anticipated “Cheek to Cheek” concert tour comes to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to highlight Coastal Jazz’s 30th anniversary. These once in a lifetime performances will feature tracks from their critically acclaimed album “Cheek to Cheek,” which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts when it released last September.
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
Tame Impala brings back the psychedelic rock in a most welcoming sound. The Australian band’s 2012 album “Lonerism” was critically acclaimed, and received several music awards. To follow up, Tame Impala releasing “Currents” later this summer, the album the band is currently touring. Their stop at Malkin Bowl might just be the perfect venue for this live performance.
End the month’s concert going experience with Portland’s own Shy Girls. Shy Girls is Dan Vidmar, a vocalist and producer who creates a soft, soulful mix of electronic and R&B. Shy Girls has collaborated with Odesza recently, and has a collaboration with Vancouver’s Cyril Hahn. His tracks are warm and crisp on headphones, and this should transfer well in the intimate setting of the Electric Owl.