From retro boy band pop to a tribute honouring a Pacific Northwest great, it's all happening this month
1. Paul McCartney at BC Place Stadium – Saturday, July 6
Facebook/Paul McCartneyWhile many other artists of a certain age have been embarking on farewell tours, 77-year-old teenager Paul McCartney exhibits no signs of packing it in. In fact, I fully expect to be telling you all about his 100th anniversary tour when I’m settled down at Del Boca Vista, composing this very column for the Boca Breeze. Be forewarned though—lifelong fans who have not yet had the chance to witness Macca’s charm should arrive prepared. I can attest to this fact after having attended his last two go-arounds in VanCity, and let’s say I experienced panic attacks, debilitating abdominal pain and more than just a fair bit of crying like a baby. Don’t go alone, as you’ll need someone around to help you maintain an upright position in case of potential fainting spells. I should also mention performances by this living legend tend to clock in at around three hours, which is significantly longer than that 20-minute show marking McCartney’s first Canadian appearance (with, you know, that band) at Empire Stadium some 55 years ago. Yeah, yeah, yeah! The cute Beatle is back!
Tickets from $49.75
2. The Aristocrats with Travis Larson Band at Rickshaw Theatre – Sunday, July 7
Facebook/Aristocrats BandWith the band’s namesake borrowed from an off-colour joke (look it up if you have to), The Aristocrats have crafted an impressive product, combining exceptional musicianship and deadpan double-entendres. The members of this trio had paid enough dues recording and touring with a veritable who’s-who of first-class artists—including Joe Satriani, Steve Hackett, Hans Zimmer and Steven Wilson—that they threw together a last-minute performance at a NAMM trade show. While initially intended as a one-off, the gig was so well received that guitarist Guthrie Govan, bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Marco Minnemann decided maybe they should just make this a regular thing. Such was the genesis of this neo-progressive-jazz-fusion supergroup in 2011, and they’re still going strong with the release of their latest offering, You Know What? These guys won’t be showing up alone as they’ll be supported by another trio of extraordinary instrumental-jazz-rock-fusion musicians, the award-winning Travis Larson Band. So maybe it’s a little cliché to point out, but with two adroit high-wire acts in one small venue on one night only, anything can happen. Expect the unexpected.
3. Queen and Adam Lambert at Rogers Arena – Wednesday, July 10
Facebook/QueenA couple months back, I was at Sunrise Records doing what I usually do there (you know, optimistically flipping through the vinyl as if I’d ever find some rarities… at Sunrise… pffffttt… I know!), when I overheard the following conversation... Guy: “I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody last night, and it occurred to me I don’t own any Queen.” Girl: “Oh, yeah, me neither!” The two then stomped over to the cashier to demand information as to why there were no Queen recordings to be found in the entire store. Honestly? Because people like you two have finally decided you’re now huge fans only a mere 28 years after the untimely loss of Freddie Mercury. No… big… deal. Okay, so everyone’s a little slow on the uptake, but this band is tearing things up big time these days, thanks to a sufficiently over-attended, yet historically inaccurate biopic (don’t you walk away from me, Elton John, I’ve got my eye on you, too). It’s a good thing they found Adam Lambert to lead their charge because now there’s a reason to fill a 19,000-seat arena with a bunch of people who’ve just recently heard of this legendary band. As of this writing, the show is completely sold out, so I can’t even tell you how much tickets cost. But if you’re one of the multitudes who’ve just realized this is your all-time favourite band, you should really keep checking because I have a sneaking suspicion they will release a bunch of production holds a day or two before show date.
4. Kiefer Sutherland at Commodore Ballroom – Wednesday, July 10
Facebook/Kiefer SutherlandKiefer Sutherland is a country singer. I’ll rephrase that: Jack Bauer is a country singer. Country. Anyone like me who spent the better part of the first decade of this millennium glued to the real-time action thrill-fest 24 probably didn’t see that one coming. I mean we’re accustomed to twists and turns, but we thought we knew. No, as it turns out, we did not know! Sure, we put up with a season of Designated Survivor before tapping out from sheer domestic terrorism exhaustion. Then there was that bizarre series with all the numbers, what was it… umm… Touch, yeah, I worked really hard to block that one out too (mostly because I’m bad at math). But whatever, my personal favourite Lost Boys vampire is making his way into town to throw down some lariats and heartache, and you’ve gotta be more than just a little bit curious how that’ll turn out. So BRB, I need to hit my storage locker to dig out my old cowboy boots. See y’all there!
5. Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators at Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Thursday, July 18
Slash OnlineMany of my own friends are going to come after me when they read this, but honestly, I don’t get the big deal with Slash, Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. A whole lot of people I know will rank Slash as the greatest guitarist of all time, while others will place Myles Kennedy in the top echelon of singers. While I realize these are opinions and not science, I still can’t help but shrug my shoulders at the whole thing. Both are passable talents, but calm down, Slash wasn’t the best axe-man in Guns 'n’ Roses (although he did wear the best top hat), and Kennedy wasn’t even the best vocalist in The Mayfield Four (semantics dictate he was just simply the only vocalist). Meh. I mean, that guy was rumoured to be taking over Robert Plant’s position in a Led Zeppelin reunion, and I’ll reiterate, he’s not even the best vocalist in Slash’s band! Regardless of my take, there are plenty of you who will be more than happy to spend your hard-earned money to see two of the “greatest ever” together in one small room, and to that, I present to you the ticket link below. Don’t ever tell me I don't get you the best stuff.
Tickets from $53.75
6. The Chris Cornell Vancouver Tribute at Rickshaw Theatre – Saturday, July 20
Facebook/Chris CornellOn May 18th, 2017, our planet lost one of its most powerful voices in Chris Cornell. The chief architect of the ’90s Seattle sound has been missed so dearly that countless tributes have sprung up over the past two years to pay homage to the legendary Soundgarden/Temple of the Dog/Audioslave vocalist and songwriter. This evening’s event will feature two outfits honouring Cornell’s works—Soundgarden/Temple of the Dog tribute Outshined, and Audioslave tribute Civilian, along with two more acts saluting the music of bands close to Cornell’s heart—Pearl Jam tribute Washed in Black, and Alice in Chains tribute AIC-Facelift. All four groups are set to perform for a worthy cause as net proceeds of this event will be donated to a local charity focusing on youth music development, along with the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation, benefitting the music therapy program at Childhaven in Seattle.
7. Backstreet Boys at Rogers Arena – Saturday, July 27
Facebook/Backstreet BoysFrequent readers of my column will tell you I’m boy band intolerant. I have no patience for boy bands and I won’t stand for them! At what point do these groups become “man” bands? I mean it, I’m asking for reals. And why are they considered “bands” anyway? Really? That’s not a band; it’s five choreographed bros lip-syncing incomprehensible fluff written by some Swedish guy. I remember sitting in the Hard Rock lounge with some friends after a concert several years ago (take note: not a boy band) when a Backstreet Boys song came on over the speakers. You know, the one where they white-boy rap about “Backstreet’s back” and “rock your body” and whatever other absurd lyric Max Martin deems clever? Yeah, well, my so-called “friends” were rapping along to it and coordinating dance moves and hand gestures and… I… just… couldn’t… even. One of them said to me, “Oh, come on, you know you like it!” My response? “I’m sorry. Have we met?” It was at that point I realized I had to leave. That was it. It should go without saying those people are no longer in my circle. Well, not because of this particular incident, exactly, but I can’t say with all confidence that it didn’t contribute to our friendship’s demise. Honestly though, it’s okay. I was never really all that coordinated anyway.
Tickets from $148
8. The Psychedelic Furs and James at Orpheum Theatre – Wednesday, July 31
Facebook/Psychedelic FursFormed in 1977, the Psychedelic Furs struck a fairly decent dent in London’s post-punk ’80s era, utilizing Richard Butler’s Bowie-esque vocals in brilliant singles such as “Love My Way” and “Pretty in Pink” (yes, the inspiration for John Hughes’ 1986 movie of the same name). A little later on while the Furs were experiencing a pretty good taste of success, Manchester’s James were forming in 1982, following suit in the ’90s by being dubbed “the next Smiths” (I’ll leave that for you to decide whether or not that’s a good thing), with chart-topping numbers like “She’s a Star” and “Sit Down.” For those who hold fond memories of atmospheric British indie-pop of past decades, this evening promises to be an absolute treat to witness a double bill of two of the UK’s super cool ambassadors of moody tunes.
Tickets from $54.25