Friday, May 13, 2011

Sweet sounds of summer

My recommendations for outdoor concerts this summer is this week's WEVancouver cover story.

Gillian Welch hits the Vancouver Folk Festival this summer.
Gillian Welch hits the Vancouver Folk Festival this summer.

MUSIC: Sweet sounds of summer

Whether under the stars or beneath a sunny sky, there are plenty of reasons to venture outside this
summer for your music fix.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
May 27 at Malkin Bowl, 5:30pm. $32.50 from Ticketmaster

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are the modern titans of retro-soul/R&B. Jones has sass to spare and knows her way around the most soulful of songs, and backing band the Dap-Kings offer bold bursts of brass and woodwind and down and dirty guitar flourishes. Plus, this is one of those rare concerts where everyone will definitely show up on time, since it’s pretty much a fact that opening acts don’t get more awesome than Austin-based vintage-blues/soul group Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears. A sweet double bill.

Sam Roberts Band
May 28 at Malkin Bowl, 5:30pm. $35 from Ticketmaster

The Juno Award-winning indie rocker made Canadian music history with his best-selling independent 2001 release, The Inhuman Condition. Since then, he’s continued to woo fans thanks to songs that range the spectrum from social commentary to relationship stuff. His most recent album, Collider, hits stores this week, and has already received enthusiastic praise from critics across the country.

8th Annual In the House Festival
June 3-5 at various venues. Single tickets: $8-$13; 4-show pass: $25-$45; weekend pass: $65-$85

This unique and intimate festival transforms a selection of Commercial Drive houses and backyards into unlikely stages for cabaret, film, puppets, poets, theatre, and, yes, live music. So much live music — including local acts Company B Jazz Band, Aaron Malkin and folk-blues musician Buckman Coe.

TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival
June 24-July 3 at various venues. Outdoor shows are free.

The 26th annual festival features over 400 concerts at 40 venues around town, and a bonanza of outdoor options for jazz, blues, funk, Latin, world and electronica lovers. There are over 150 free concerts, and plenty of outdoor options, including the opening weekend party in Gastown, which features local favourites Jasper Sloan Yip and Five Alarm Funk and the closing weekend party at David Lam Park, where you can catch Will Campa y su Gran Union, Jaffa Road, The Crackling and Gypsophilia.

Kid Cudi
June 16 at Deer Lake Park, 5:30pm. $49.50 from Zulu Records, Red Cat Records, Highlife, Ticketmaster

One of Rolling Stone magazine’s favourite rappers — seriously — Kid Cudi has made a name for himself thanks to his hit song “Day ‘n’ Night” and smart collaborations with Kanye West, Common and Chip Tha Rapper. He’s also turned his attention towards the small screen, starring in former rapper Mark Wahlberg’s new HBO comedy series, How to Make it in America. Plus, the prolific rhymer has promised he’ll be venturing into rock soon, so who could say no to a possible sneak preview of what that will sound like?

Black Keys
June 27 at Deer Lake Park, 5:30pm. SOLD OUT.

The Grammy Award-winning garage rock duo’s show sold out fast,and there’s a good reason for that: they are a damn good band and even better live. Apparently there won’t be any tickets made available the day of the show, so start scouring Craigslist now.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival
July 15-17 at Jericho Beach. $40-$165 from

The 34th annual folk festival has gotten decidedly more modern in recent years, but with over 50 artists and bands over three days, there is still something for everyone. Among the highlights: remarkable alt-country singer-songwriter Gillian Welch; famed singer-songwriters in their own right Roseanne Cash (daughter of John) and Justin Townes Earle (son of Steve); local solo artist and New Pornographer Kathryn Calder; and beloved Canadian alt-country super-group Jim Bryson and the Weakerthans. All of this amazing music against the backdrop of beautiful Jericho Beach? Well, even better.

Harmony Arts Festival
July 29-Aug. 7 at John Lawson Park, West Vancouver. Free.

West Vancouver’s 21st annual festival features art, cinema and nightly sunset concert series with some of the province’s best local bands. Among the main stage acts are the uncanny tribute band Nearly Neil & The Solitary Band; bluegrass/Celtic favourites The Paperboys; Afro-Latin dance band Tanga; and acoustic rockers Headwater. If booze helps you groove, the garden stage offers an expanded lineup with local alt-country rock band Dustin Bentall Outfit; Spirit of the West lead singer John Mann; and JunoAward-winning bluesman Jim Byrnes.

Burnaby Blues & Roots Festival
Aug. 13 at Deer Lake Park, 1pm. $55-$70 from Ticketmaster

The 12th annual festival makes it worth the trek to Burnaby by garnering some superstar wattage with alt-country Canadian crooner k.d. lang, who reminded us just how much we missed her last year with her haunting rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at the Olympics opening ceremony.

MusicFest Vancouver
Aug. 5-14 at various venues. $32-$42 from

The annual MusicFest features big name draws like Sarah MacLachlan and runs Aug. 5-14, but organizers have saved the best for last: the closing night concert at the beautifully sculpted VanDusen Botanical Garden. It’s a world music extravaganza with acclaimed Cuban jazz pianist Ernán López-Nussa and his trio, and 14-piece Danish outfit, Touché Vocal Jazz, which explores big band arrangements and swing with equal aplomb.

LIVE at Squamish
Aug. 20-21 at Logger Sports Grounds (39503 Loggers Lane, Squamish)
$79-$199 from

The outdoor festival promises to have found its feet in its second year, with on-site camping, better parking and a strong lineup with some local and international favourites, among them ’90s stalwarts Weezer; Canadian indie rock acts Metric and Stars; Australian roots-jam band John Butler Trio; and mash-up maestro Girl Talk. Plus, it’s a terrific venue to catch beloved local acts including Hey Ocean, Bend Sinister, The Zolas and Black Mountain.


Ryan said...

Tragically Hip - July 15 @ Deer Lake

Andrea said...

Yes! Bobcaygeon all the way.