The Best Shows Hitting Vancouver December 2021

From Canadian indie rock to EDM festivals, it's all happening this month

From Canadian indie rock to EDM festivals, it’s all happening this month

* Due to present circumstances surrounding COVID-19, all event statuses are subject to change. Please check for updates.

1. Mother Mother at Commodore Ballroom – Thursday, December 2 to Sunday, December 5

If there were some sort of race to become Canada’s most successful indie rock act of the moment, Mother Mother would surely be the frontrunner, based on sheer frequency. I’m exhausted just typing about their impending VanCity smackdown of a whopping six performances, so I can imagine the pride of Quadra Island are pretty pleased to be bringing their witty alt/folk vibes to the Commodore for five shows over four dates before helping a local legend ring in the new year at a much bigger barn. After that, they’ll be heading stateside to gain a wider following, so I don’t want to hear any of you complaining about not getting a chance to see them before they made it super huge. Six shows, people! How many opportunities do you need?
Tickets from $71.25

2. Thievery Corporation at Commodore Ballroom – Monday, December 6 and Tuesday, December 7

Bonding together over their mutual love of electronica, dub and bossa nova in the mid ’90s, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton took it upon themselves to form Thievery Corporation to help fill a void in the D.C. club scene. Over the course of a quarter century, the duo has seamlessly blended the elements of acid jazz, reggae, Indian classical, Middle Eastern and Brazilian music into their repertoire, amassing 10 studio long players alongside a bevy of compilation albums to supplement over 30 singles. You’ll be hard pressed to find tickets for the Monday show, as it’s been sold out for quite some time (although verified resale tickets are available). But fear not, Tuesday’s wide open.
Tickets from $85

3. Swallow the Sun at Rickshaw Theatre – Wednesday, December 15

Just another casualty of the pandemic, Finnish death/doom metal outfit Swallow the Sun were originally scheduled to hit the road last year to celebrate their 20th anniversary on their first headlining tour of North America. As we are all too painfully aware, every single one of those special “anniversary” events were not to take place. But forget all that because it’s time to move on, and the Finns are more than ready to “funnel the darkness in life and the beauty in death” into their set, featuring songs from their 2019 album When a Shadow is Forced Into the Light. Olympia-based (by way of Phoenix) symphonic black metal favourites Abigail Williams will provide support, alongside Massachusetts’ prog/folk metal dudes Wilderun, and Vancouver’s own doom experts Tribunal.
Tickets from $25

4. Contact Winter Music Festival at The Vancouver Convention Centre – Wednesday, December 29 and Thursday, December 30

Well, it’s that time of the year again when you’ll spot thousands of young people traversing the downtown sidewalks without the benefit of shoes. Far be it from me to understand why the Contact Winter Music Festival attracts so many barefoot kids—in December—but that’s not for me to judge. What we do know is that day one of this premiere EDM festival will be headlined by Kelowna’s own Jeff Abel, better known as Excision, and day two will be spearheaded by Stockholm’s Eric Prydz. Filling out the bill, you’ll get L.A.’s Slander, Ontario’s Loud Luxury and France’s Madeon, amongst a whole whack of others. I’m assuming footwear is optional.
Tickets from $174.90

5. Bryan Adams, Mother Mother and 54-40 at Rogers Arena – Friday, December 31

Fresh off his Las Vegas residency (all the cool kids are doing it), Bryan Adams returns home, so to speak, for a big, old fashioned New Year’s Eve party. Yeah, yeah, we know he’s resided far from these parts significantly longer than he ever actually lived here, but most of us still refer to him as a hometown guy, and, boy, has he ever come a long way since his dishwashing days at the Tomahawk. North Van’s award-winning Officer of the Order of Canada singer/songwriter/producer/photographer/activist/vegan/philanthropist will be capping off this mother of a year with a little help from Mother Mother (oh, THEM again!), and every Vancouverite’s favourite Thanksgiving band 54-40. This party just seems like a great opportunity to say good riddance to the train wreck of a year that was so we can all look forward to better times ahead in 2022.
Tickets from $32.66