From boy band graduates to Canada Day concerts, it's all happening this month
1. Surrey Canada Day at Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre – Sunday, July 1
Facebook/Surrey Canada DayIt’s our beautiful nation’s 151st birthday, and—as usual—Surrey is hosting a huge bash to celebrate. This time around, the celebration will feature amusement park rides, drone racing, the Surrey Rides All-Wheels Jam, vendors, food trucks, fireworks and a full day’s worth of crackerjack entertainers. The headlining spotlight will shine on Ontario’s high-energy indie-pop songstress Serena Ryder, Northeastern Alberta’s hard-working country crooner Brett Kissel, and the always crowd-pleasing Canadian classic rock cover band Toque. No need to worry about clicking a link to scoop up tickets because this party is absolutely free and everybody’s welcome to join in on the fun. Happy Canada Day, eh. Pass the poutine!
2. Honeymoon Suite at Steveston Salmon Festival – Sunday, July 1 & TD Concerts at the Pier – Thursday, July 5
Facebook/HMS LiveKeeping with all the free goings-on, Honeymoon Suite is set to kick off the new month playing not one but two gratis gigs in our region. The band that put Niagara Falls on the map (because it’s not like they don’t have a pretty huge natural attraction or anything special there) will take part in Canada Day festivities at the Steveston Salmon Festival, hitting the main stage early in the evening at 5 p.m. Four days later, we’ll see these guys headlining the first night of White Rock’s 4th annual TD Concerts at the Pier at 8 p.m. This is your cue to play like “Wave Babies” and take advantage of the sunshine at one or both of these excellent summer shindigs.
3. The Damned at Commodore Ballroom – Thursday, July 5
Facebook/Official DamnedIf you cast your memory back to the mid ’70s London punk scene, you’ll likely pit The Sex Pistols and The Clash as England’s premiere harbingers of dissonance. What often gets lost, however, is the fact it was specifically The Damned who were the very first of the U.K. punk bands to commit their noise to vinyl. Over 40 years and countless lineup changes later, they’re still recording, touring and creating general discord with substance (as any legitimate punk outfit should strive to do). If you’re plebeian enough to consider groups like Blink 182 as pioneers of the genre, give your brain a good shake and get yourself over to the Commodore to see what authenticity looks like.
4. Harry Styles at Rogers Arena – Friday, July 6
Facebook/Harry StylesI’m boy band intolerant. I have no patience for boy bands, and I won’t stand for them. I’ve even entered into serious debates with those who’ve insisted on tagging that moniker onto Duran Duran (I’m not kidding. Let’s talk if you need me to explain the difference). Harry Styles, on the other hand, has caused me to rethink my stance just a little bit. Make no mistake, I will not sit here and wax praise upon One Direction. I have my limits and a certain amount of credibility to maintain. However, this kid is different. Turns out he has a little more to offer outside the constraints of 1D. His debut solo album is actually good. Take what you want from that, but considering the disc has offered me somewhat of a momentary detour from my self-imposed prog-nerd status, I’ll give it decent marks. The only thing keeping me from attending this concert is my not entirely irrational fear of being trampled by hysterical eleventeen-year-old girls. Laugh all you want, but the threat is real. I recommend suitable head protection and elbow pads.
Tickets from $32
5. Melvins at Venue – Saturday, July 21
Facebook/Melvins ArmyThe Melvins took the Pacific Northwest by storm, long before “grunge” was a thing (for the record, I strongly dislike that term when used to describe a genre but we’ll talk about that next month). More accurately described as sludge metal or even experimental punk, this band is often credited with influencing many of the so-called “grunge” acts of the day, including Nirvana, Soundgarden and Green River. But many would be surprised to discover their impact touched a much more diverse array of artists, including Tool, Faith No More and Mastodon. Now with over 35 years of experience under their belts, Buzz Osborne and the rest of the guys from Montesano bring their lunch bucket work ethic and extensive setlist to the Granville hot spot for one night only. And, if you absolutely must, go ahead and wear your flannel.
6. The Psychedelic Furs at Commodore Ballroom – Saturday, July 28
Facebook/Psychedelic FursAsk some of today’s more successful alt-rock performers about their influences, and many will cite The Psychedelic Furs as an authority. Initially coming together in England’s aforementioned ’70s punk scene, the Furs took more of an art-rock path with a dark, poetic, almost Bowie-esque style, eventually finding commercial success with hits such as “Love My Way” and “Pretty in Pink” during their heyday. Over 40 years down the road, their sound is still as fresh as ever. Here’s an opportunity for us new wave kids to relive a great decade alongside younger folk who are just now discovering how awesome pop music used to be.
Tickets from $45
7. Toto at The Centre – Monday, July 30
Facebook/Toto BandThose of us who share a fond appreciation for the ’70s L.A. session musician scene were pretty stoked to find out Toto will be paying us a visit at the end of the month. In this age of auto-tuned pop fluff, it’s reassuring to bear witness to a band that has always been based on nothing more than pure talent. Here, you’ve got an outfit boasting wall-to-wall musicianship and exceptional songwriting. These days, the guys from Toto are all laughing at the fact their seminal hit “Africa” has once again topped the charts over 35 years after its initial release, but this time as a cover. Sure, it took a substantial social media campaign from a young Weezer fan to accomplish it, but whatever. I always think it’s a really cool thing when kids show that kind of respect and I personally hope to see plenty of young faces in the crowd that evening as the band commemorates 40 Trips Around the Sun.
Tickets from $45