From homegrown talent to bucket-list bands, it's all happening this month

1. The Flaming Lips at Commodore Ballroom – Monday, May 2 and Tuesday, May 3

Flaming LipsFacebook/Flaming LipsIf you’re into bucket lists and you care about how other people think you should fulfil them, you’ll want to check out The Flaming Lips because they’re among Q Magazine’s '50 Bands to See Before You Die'. Sure, there are plenty of other reasons to attend a show by the three-time Grammy-winning psych-rockers from Oklahoma City. A mere sampling of their cool achievements? Their hit “Do You Realize??” was voted Oklahoma’s official rock song with an online fan vote in 2009; they once held the Guinness World Record for most live shows (eight) performed in different cities in 24 hours; and they recorded a track-for-track cover of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon with Stardeath, White Dwarfs, Henry Rollins and Peaches. Wow! OK, I fully realize you’re not going to hear them play any selections from DSOTM at this show, but you’ve got to admit it’s a fun side note and something worth seeking out.
Tickets from $82.25

2. Opeth and Mastodon at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre – Saturday, May 7

OpethOpethSweden’s finest export (and I’m not talking about Abba, Ikea or Saab) Opeth once again joins Atlanta’s Mastodon for a co-headliner of premium prog-metal. Yes, they’ve done this before almost exactly 10 years ago (May 1, 2012 at the Orpheum Theatre, to be exact). But this time, they’re in a bigger venue and they’ve swapped out Ghost for Denver’s doom-metal experts Khemmis. Expect Opeth to lean heavily on tracks from their monster 2019 release In Cauda Venenum, while Mastodon will debut numbers from 2021’s Hushed and Grim, featuring their Grammy-nominated song “Pushing the Tides". Even if you’re not a fan of these bands or the genre, just go for Opeth frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt’s dry humour. Trust me on this.
Tickets from $77.30

3. Josh Ramsay at Hollywood Theatre – Sunday, May 8 and Monday, May 9

Josh Ramsay OfficialJosh Ramsay OfficialVanCity’s son Josh Ramsay has seen his fair share of remarkable success, not only as leader of pop-punk darlings Marianas Trench, but also as producer and songwriter for many well-known performers, including Simple Plan, 5 Seconds of Summer and, most notably, Carly Rae Jepsen on her chart-topping hit “Call Me Maybe” (I’m thinking he can comfortably retire on that one). But now, he’ll step away from his day job for a quick minute. It’s OK, he’s not going away, but he just released his first solo album (appropriately titled The Josh Ramsay Show) a month ago and he wants to perform it for his hometown crowd in the intimate setting of the Hollywood Theatre for two nights before heading back out on the road. Making it a full Canadian clambake, Coquitlam’s own singer/actor Tyler Shaw and Toronto’s DJ George Thoms will be joining him at these gigs and on his entire nationwide tour.
Tickets from $67.38

4. Corb Lund at The Wise Hall – Wednesday, May 18 to Friday, May 20

Corb LundFacebook/Corb LundIf you’re one of those people who doesn’t consider themselves a country fan (present company included), there might still be a chance you like Corb Lund. I mean, he’s got a t-shirt saying as much, and you can order it from his website (it’s on the interwebs, so it’s gotta be true). The Taber native has 10 long-players to his credit, with three of them certified gold, alongside a Juno and 11 Canadian Country Music Association awards, so you can bet your bottom dollar his trophy case is gleaming with country pride. Tickets to all three shows have been sold out for quite some time, but if I were you, I’d check the day of shows for last-minute production hold releases. Then go get your boots on and join him and his critically acclaimed Hurtin’ Albertans band as they hit town in one of East Van’s coolest down-home venues.
Tickets from $53.35

5. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark at Malkin Bowl – Friday, May 20

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the DarkFacebook/Orchestral Manoeuvres in the DarkThey’re celebrating “40 years of greatest hits,” but Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark have been together since 1978, with a 10-year hiatus in 1996. I’m guessing the topic of basic arithmetic doesn’t enter into this band’s conversations all that much, but they do have no fewer than seven greatest hits collections, so I guess that little tidbit of information factors in for something. It’s fine though, because if you’re a big fan of ’80s British synth-pop, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more authentic representation of the era. However, I do have to question the sanity of hosting an outdoor concert in May in the rainiest city in the Pacific Northwest. I don’t know who thought that was a great idea, but check the weather report first ’cause it might be wise to consider wearing galoshes instead of Capezios.
Tickets $60.50

6. Vance Joy at Rogers Arena – Friday, May 27

Vance JoyVance JoyIf there’s one thing Taylor Swift does very well (besides selling a bajillion copies of each record she releases), it’s curating talent that catches fire whenever she brings them along on tour. Think Ed Sheeran, James Bay and Shawn Mendes, and then go ahead and add Vance Joy to the mix. While it’s fact that the 34-year-old Melbourne singer-songwriter built up a fair following in his home country when he debuted his first EP in 2013, it wasn’t until he opened for Swift on her 1989 tour in 2015 that things really skyrocketed for him worldwide. Don’t miss this chance to see him live on one of only two Canadian dates before he heads back for an extensive tour down under to thrill his native Aussie followers with his unique brand of indie-folk-pop.
Tickets from $62.05