The Best Shows Hitting Vancouver in June 2023

Check out performances by The National, The Cure, Seal plus more this month

Check out performances by The National, The Cure, Seal plus more this month

1. The Cure at Rogers Arena – Friday, June 2

I’ve said it before: I hate writing about sold-out concerts because it’s almost as if I’m poking a finger in your belly and saying, “Sorry, you can’t go.” But there’s no way I could dip my toes into June without mentioning The Cure. Unlike all the other absurdly wealthy performers who’ve been dumping their greed into the TicketMonster bucket as of late (I’m side-eying you, Madge and The Boss), frontman Robert Smith took up arms to fight the system. And he didn’t even need Swifties to do the work for him as he decided it wasn’t up to his band’s fans to do the heavy lifting (shame on you, TayI see you). He fought this beast entirely on his own. Did he win? That’s an unequivocal yes. There was no “platinum” seating (read: legalized scalping) available; ticket prices were kept within reason; no resales were allowed; and when TicketMaster tried to tag exorbitant service fees above and beyond the face price, Smith forced the corporation to issue rebates. He even took it upon himself to cancel over 7,000 secondary-market sales. Suffice to say, Bob is the hero we all need, but ultimately don’t deserve. So hey, if you missed out and you’re hoping to attend this show, I suggest taking the advice I always provide here: click the ticket link on show day to check for last-minute production holds. You’re welcome.

2. The National at Deer Lake Park – Monday, June 5

Hailing from Cincinnati, yet formed in Brooklyn, The National began their tenure as a quasi-college-rock outfit at the tail end of the 20th century. Since those salad days, the indie-alt-folk-rock quintet has been quietly but steadily gathering up a fan base starving for moodier and more melancholy alternatives to their chronic diet of Radiohead and Interpol. So where do you position a performance from such a gloom-stricken band in the final days of spring heading into what we hope will be a proper summer? Well, that would be an outdoor concert a Deer Lake Park, because Vancouverites are all aware how we regularly experience Juneuary at this time of year. While it’s fact I always question the wisdom of an open-air gig in this region during any month that isn’t July or August, I figure this timing and placement might be considered both genius and apropos. After all, you do desire the full effect, don’t you?
Tickets from $85

3. Seal at Orpheum Theatre – Wednesday, June 14

I’m noticing a lot of musicians these days tend to be typically bad with numbers. I mention it because soulful pop-R&B sensation Seal is riding on a 30th anniversary world tour celebrating his first two eponymous albums released in 1991 and 1994. I suppose he’s splitting the difference, but I guess it’s okay because he intends to cap off the three-decade milestone in the historical plushness of our very own Orpheum Theatre and he’s promising to perform all the hits that allowed him to sell over 20 million albums worldwide. What makes this event even more intriguing is the presence of his long-time producer Trevor Horn, both in his capacity as the evening’s musical director and as a performing member of new-wave-synth-pop duo The Buggles who are all set to open the show. Now that’s just “Crazy.”
Tickets from $66.50

4. Econoline Crush at The Pearl – Saturday, June 24

Remember the 1990s when Canadian music was really good? I mean, I do. It was a time when you could pop into spots like the Rock Cellar or the Town Pump to catch a great up-and-coming neighbourhood band for less than the price of a McDonald’s Extra Value Meal (although, back then it was known as the “Full Meal Deal”). Those were the days. Yes, I may have travelled well past my best-before date, but I’ll still tell you VanCity’s own Econoline Crush was one of those such acts, and they never failed to deliver a high-energy performance of their unique brand of industrial-alt-rock to the local faithful. After many stops and starts over the years, the Crush are back on their Western Canadian When the Devil Drives tour, topping off at The Pearl (formerly known as Venue, formerly known as the Plazais this nostalgia killing you yet?) on what’s expected to be an excellent evening of ’90s CanCon from better days. The ticket may cost a touch more than what you would’ve paid 30 years ago, but then again, the price of a Quarter Pounder has escalated as well, so choose wisely.
Tickets from $31.83

5. Nickelback at Rogers Arena – Wednesday, June 28

Because this thing should not only be about what I happen to like, I have to be an equal-opportunity columnist when it comes to mentioning the good, the bad, and the downright mediocre acts rolling through town. Although I sometimes feel guilty about not always being complimentary when I talk about some of the not-so-great entertainers, along comes Nickelback, proud card-carrying champions of the “bro anthem,” and I get over it. Did I ever tell you about the time I found myself in a situation where a hardcore fan issued a challenge to the room, insisting nobody could actually explain why they dislike the band so much? Wow! Just… wow. How much time do you have? I was tempted to offer up my 6,000-word dissertation, but being how she was the sister of the party’s host, I decided it would be tacky for me to start something in the dude’s house. Besides, I’m personally trying to figure out how anybody who says they love them can actually explain why. Even quite recently, frontman Chad Kroeger gave an interview stating, “there’s been a softening in hate” toward the band. Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not true. Okay, wait, perhaps it’s not so much about hatred towards the band, per se. I’ve been to one of their shows. They’re not the absolute worst, and they do have good pyro. It’s more about Chad himself. It’s still there, but he’s not listening because he’s too busy trying to convince everyone his band is the most “diverse” in the history of all music on this planet. It’s hilarious. You can’t make that stuff up. So fine, soften your hate. Do whatever. Just don’t tell me to “look at this photograph.”
Tickets from $112