The Best Shows Hitting Vancouver in July

Check out performances by Amanda Marshall, Tears for Fears, Tanya Tucker plus more this month

Check out performances by Amanda Marshall, Tears for Fears, Tanya Tucker plus more this month

1. Amanda Marshall at Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Monday, July 3

If you’re anything like me, you could be a Gen Xer who holds a fond appreciation for ’90s CanCon. Not too many of those home-grown favourites are still kicking around making great music, and sadly, a lot of that particular void is indicative of the changing tides and general malaise of the industry. Throw in some lengthy legal battles with deadbeat management, and you’d be hard-pressed to hear anything new from your Canadian musical heroes. But alas, the clouds are lifting in the form of the long-awaited return of Toronto native Amanda Marshall, and I couldn’t be more pleasantly surprised. After a 22-year hiatus, the rare calibre of Marshall’s soulful alto (not to mention the absolute best hair in the business) graces us with her brand spanking new album, Heavy Lifting, along with a cross-Canada tour. What’s even more fun is the fact ticket prices are ridiculously reasonable, so there’s no reason your money shouldn’t be riding on this dark horse, baby.
Tickets from $72.25

2. Daniel Wesley at Commodore Ballroom – Saturday, July 22

By the time you read this, we should be well into the sweltering sunny weather, so it seems like the perfect time to soak up those hot rays with the type of tunes to reflect the season—and Daniel Wesley is here to do just that. White Rock’s native son knows a thing or two about it, so in 2019 he recorded his ninth full-length studio album titled Beach Music, full of those summery alt-folk-reggae vibes he’s become synonymous for. I don’t know about you, but it sounds like a great excuse to “fire up that beach music and toss me a beer.” Be careful about tossing adult beverages in the Commodore Ballroom, though. They might frown upon that. But on an unexpected side note, if you’re not at all interested in live music (why are you here, exactly?) and you were hoping to purchase a home in the Sunshine Coast, have I got the realtor for you!
Tickets from $29.75

3. Tears for Fears at Rogers Arena – Monday, July 24

I’m happy to report that 2023 will be one for the history books when it comes to feasting on a steady diet of nostalgia, at least from my perspective. More on that topic in the coming months, but imagine my delight upon discovering I’d get to attend a Tears for Fears concert a mere 38 years after the last time I saw them (which is weird, because I’m not even 38). However, this time around, I’m just hoping my sister won’t get punched in the nose. Long story. She’s OK and I’m getting her a fully-visored hockey helmet to keep her safe for this show… ssshhh! But anyway, TFF is one of those rare bands that consistently delivers, both in recorded form and in a live setting. If you want a taste, check out their Spotify Landmark performance of “Mad World” and tell me you don’t feel the feels (Curt Smith’s sense of urgency is quite palpable). And if you haven’t heard their latest release, The Tipping Point, you’ve done yourself a great disservice as it ranks very prominently in my list of best albums from 2022, so get on that as well.
Tickets from $45

4. Tanya Tucker at Commodore Ballroom – Wednesday, July 26

I’m sure you’ve read about my distaste for contemporary country music. I mean, with banal lyrics like “I’m a ’90s baby in my ’80s Mercedes,” who can blame me? That’s not to say I don’t appreciate the craft and accomplishments of outlaw country singers from decades gone by, so it’s cool that the Commodore stage will be enriched by none other than the legendary Tanya Tucker. The 64-year-old Texas native has certainly paid her dues since debuting her first hit single “Delta Dawn” at the youthful age of 13. The newest inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame has amassed 23 Top 40 albums and 56 Top 40 singles (10 of them reaching the No. 1 spot). She’s won her fair share of country music awards, but oddly didn’t receive her first two Grammys until 2020 (what took so long?). Now she’s back with her latest release, Sweet Western Sound, which is her second effort produced by two of nü-country’s more palatable talents (and I don’t throw that sentiment around lightly), Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings. Don’t even think about handing over your entire paycheque to see today’s CMA starlets and dudes twanging over at the Enormodome when a fraction of your dough could be better spent catching this bona fide icon in the intimate ranks of our city’s most revered live venue. It’ll be worth your while.
Tickets from $74.25