Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring concert picks

The 10 best concerts this spring.

Jenny and Johnny.
Jenny and Johnny.

MUSIC: Spring shines fresh light on concert scene

For concert goers, Vancouver’s winter season is a routinely barren wasteland, as grey and depressing as the weather outside. But, fellow music lovers rejoice! Spring is here, and with it comes a bevy of bands that will help us leave the SADs behind. Excluding everything that’s already sold out, including Fleet Foxes, Adele, and Twin Door Cinema Club, WE offers up the 10 shows we can’t wait to see.

It’s no surprise that this U.K. outfit’s name came from a dark Danish fairy tale. Their music is equal parts eerie charm and aching, crashing layers of melody and cacophony, exemplified by the band’s “Marching Song.” From personal experience, their live show is as riveting as it is confounding — the way noise pop should be. Mar. 26 at Waldorf, 8pm. $14 from Zulu, Red Cat Records, Scratch and

The Brooklyn-based indie-folk singer/songwriter is known for her confessional, heartfelt songs — after all, her first album was literally a form of therapy following the end of a lengthy abusive relationship. Her new album, Epic, finds her trading her acoustic guitar for electric, adding a backing band and cranking up the volume. Mar. 29 at Media Club, 8pm. $14 from Zulu, Red Cat Records and

World-renowned experimental electronic and hip-hop musician DJ Spooky presents his multimedia work, which promises a breathtaking, multi-sensory exploration of Antarctica’s landscape, fusing visual and sonic projections and live mixing on turntables with performances from string trio Infinitus, and piano music from Corey Hamm. Apr. 9 at Chan Centre, 8pm. $33 from Ticketmaster.

At first, the British singer seemed pure pop confection, radiating sparkle and sass on her 2010 debut Lights. But, in keeping one foot firmly anchored in the indie-folk world, offering occasional acoustic performances featuring just her and her guitar, Goulding promises the rarest of evenings: a well-choreographed dance party with built-in breaks. Apr. 10 at Venue, 8pm. $20 from Zulu, Red Cat Records, Scratch and

For many people, indie-folk-roots acts are the musical equivalent of men’s fitted plaid shirts: ubiquitous, tired and indistinguishable. But this Seattle-based trio manages to stand out in a sea of sameness, thanks possibly to its members’ sonically diverse lineage: the art-punk of Pretty Girls Make Graves, post-grunge of Hint Hint, and Cobra High’s prog-punk, but now with harmonica! April 21 at Biltmore, 8pm. $15 Zulu, Red Cat Records, Scratch and

This Swedish indie-rock trio, featuring famed solo aritst José González, returned in 2010 after a five-year absence. They promptly became every body’s favourite live act. If you missed them last year, here’s a rare second chance. May 3 at Rio, 8pm. $20 from Zulu, Red Cat Records, Scratch and

The electro-pop singer-songwriter ditched her native Sweden in favour of the hot noir of Los Angeles to write her second album, Wounded Rhymes. Her unique voice perfectly navigates the strangely beautiful landscape she’s created, weaving between pounding, tribal beats and ’60s soul. We can’t wait to see how the rich production is recreated live. May 27 at Vogue Theatre, 8pm. $32.50 from Zulu, Red Cat Records, Scratch and

The Californian dance-punk band, generally pronounced chk-chk-chk eschewed the traditional trappings of a name composed of letters, but they are committed to one old-fashioned ideal: rocking out. The sprawling act throws a dance party like almost no other band, perfecting the craft since 1996. Plus, we’re a sucker for any outfit that has a permanent horn player. May 28 at Electric Owl, 8pm. $20 from Zulu, Red Cat Records and Scratch.

Let’s face it: we’ll take Jenny Lewis any way we can. Her new side project with longtime boyfriend Johnathan Rice doesn’t pack the same punch as her indie-rock band Rilo Kiley, and shies away from the bittersweet laments of her solo efforts, but it does offer phenomenal harmonies between her and Rice, and rollicking Americana rock songs that have their own undeniable charm. May 29 at Venue 8pm. $18 from Zulu, Red Cat Records and Scratch.

Modern American soul can feel a little, well, soulless, but this Los Angeles-based seven-piece makes catchy, colourful music that lifts the spirits and gets one’s toes tapping. Their debut full-length Pickin’ Up the Pieces is the perfect kiss off to a failed love affair with enough sunshine and catchy hooks to help even the most weather-beaten among us segue into summer. May 30 at Venue 8pm. $17 from Ticketmaster.

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