Photo by Martin Fisch
With summer coming into full swing, musicians and music festivals are rolling into Toronto in growing numbers, giving music fans a cause for celebration and many excuses to spend their cash. Here’s an overview of some of the biggest and most promising concerts in June.
Panic at the Disco
Sunday, June 5 at Sound Academy
$35.25 at Ticketmaster
A band that started out making catchy emo music for the teens before branching out into weirder, restless and sillier material, Panic at the Disco have kept their ear for hooks as they channel the sounds of the 80s on their latest album Vices & Virtues. Get ready for a high-energy, head bopping time at the Sound Academy.
Thursday, June 9, at Phoenix Concert Theatre
$23.13 at Ticketmaster
An electronic duo from Hamilton, Junior Boys have been making lovely “bedroom dance” music for years. Dance beats combine with chilly vocals and mellow synths across three critically acclaimed albums, winning the boys a Juno Award for Best Electronic Album on the way. Though Junior Boys have yet to break into the mainstream, their current tour to promote upcoming album It’s All True might just land them a chart hit; at the very least, it will deliver more quality electronic music for those in the know.
Friday, June 10 at Phoenix Concert Theatre
$24.38 at Ticketmaster
A Texan indie rock group who have received much praise and seen just as many lineup changes, Okkervil River steadily gained buzz and fans through the noughties with their rootsy, emotional, and drunkenly dramatic tunes. Catch them at the Phoenix as they perform songs from their new album I Am Very Far.
North by Northeast festival (NXNE)
June 13-19, various venues
$25 (1-day wristband) to $200 (all-access priority pass) at official site
NXNE is a massive annual music festival that showcases indie bands about to make it big as well as established acts. It’s the perfect opportunity to see raw and cutting-edge talent up close before they start filling up arenas. If you’re not convinced, bands that have played NXNE in the past include Broken Social Scene, Feist, Sufjan Stevens, and Peaches. Now in its 17th year, NXNE boasts a whopping 650 bands, and also presents film screenings and panel conferences. Some of the featured bands this year include Art Brut, The Most Serene Republic, Deerhoof, Swervedriver, and The Bouncing Souls. Go to http://www.nxne.com/ for full band listings, schedules, and concert venues.
Tuesday, June 14 at Mod Club
$21.88 at Ticketmaster
The Antlers broke out with their 2009 album Hospice, a conceptual narrative album about the abusive and doomed relationship between a terminal cancer patient and her hospital caregiver. It successfully incorporated diverse elements such as starkly confessional lyrics, ambient soundscapes, lo-fi samples, and grand rock crescendos, and ended up on numerous year-end “best of” album lists. Two years later, the Antlers follow up their breakout album with Burst Apart, featuring a calmer, brighter, and more electronic sound that is already earning another round of rave reviews. Their concert at the Mod Club is a highly recommended show.
Tuesday, June 21 and Wednesday, June 22 at Mod Club
$36.00 at Ticketmaster
In many ways, Sloan have become a quintessential Canadian band. They’ve been around for two decades and they’re still consistently churning out solid, hummable power pop songs, representing some of the best music Canada has to offer, album after album. Though their biggest hits were in the 90s, their more recent albums are no lesser in quality, including their new collection Double Cross. For fans of guitar-driven, Beaties-inspired pop music, be sure to go to one of their two shows this month at Mod Club.
Tuesday, June 28 at Air Canada Centre
$75.50 to $197.50 at Ticketmaster
Sade are a marquee band who’ve been around since the 80s, establishing themselves with smooth, warm, sultry pop-jazz hits like “Smooth Operator”, “Your Love Is King”, and “The Sweetest Taboo”, all sung by the beautiful and enigmatic frontwoman Sade Adu. Since the 90s, Sade have retreated from the spotlight and slowed down their music output substantially, releasing a new album roughly once every decade. However, they’ve managed to keep their loyal fanbase and added a considerable amount of mystery and allure to their image. Recently, the band has been much more active, fresh from releasing a new album last year, a greatest hits collection this May, and embarking on a sold-out world tour throughout 2011. Sade’s show at the Air Canada Centre this month is a precious chance to see this classic group live before they go into hiding for another decade!