Not only a worldwide pop star, the always provocative Lady Gaga manages to juggle many other roles including producer, fashion designer, actress, LGBT activist and philanthropist. Since her 2008 debut, the five-time Grammy award winner has sold more than 24 million albums and 125 million singles. Currently on tour to support her latest album, Artpop, Lady Gaga’s upcoming show at Rogers Arena on May 30 is sure to be an electrifying event filled with many surprising onstage antics and costume changes.
Hello… is it Lionel you’re looking for? The ‘80s dreamboat and former lead singer of Motown group The Commodores is set to perform a concert in Vancouver late this month. The pop/R&B singer boasts a back catalogue filled with hits, including five songs that reached #1 on the Billboard singles chart. Even at age 64, Lionel Richie’s still got it – his latest album, Tuskegee, peaked at #1 after it was released. His show at Rogers Arena on May 29 will feature both old favourites and new numbers, as well as a special guest appearance by singer and The Voice judge, CeeLo Green.
American songstress Lana Del Rey (born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant) burst onto the scene in the summer of 2011 when the low-budget music video for her single “Video Games” went viral on YouTube. Following six months of hype, her album Born to Die was released in early 2012, spawning another five singles over the next year. Her deep, captivating voice has drawn comparisons to Nancy Sinatra; she is like a lounge singer who can fill arenas. Lana Del Ray performs her first concert in Vancouver at the PNE Amphitheatre on May 25.
Yet another group of talented sisters, Haim is comprised of Los Angeles’ Alana, Danielle and Este Haim. Bursting onto the scene last year with their debut album, Days Are Gone, the group quickly found themselves on the covers of national magazines and selling out concerts around the world. The group has carved their own genre of “nu-folk-meets-90s-R&B” (think a mixture of Fleetwood Mac and TLC), capturing the attention of critics and music fans alike. Haim bring their unrivalled energetic live show to Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl on May 24, along with special guest Tennis.
Sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg make up the acclaimed Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit. The pair first found success as teenagers in 2008 when their cover of a Fleet Foxes song went viral on YouTube. They have released two full-length albums since, as well as the upcoming Stay Gold, slated for release in June. The sister’s harmonies are so powerful that they can even move Paul Simon to tears, which is what happened when they covered Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” at a 2012 award ceremony with Simon in the audience. First Aid Kit performs at The Vogue Theatre with special guest Willy Mason on May 23.
One of Britain’s most-beloved indie rock bands of the last decade, the Mercury Prize-winning Elbow write thoughtful, melancholy songs influenced by artists like Peter Gabriel and Radiohead. Although the band has yet to find major success in North America, their albums and live shows are often showered with praise – even Coldplay’s Chris Martin once admitted to borrowing from Elbow for his own band’s music. The band’s new album, The Take Off and Landing of Everything, is an understated affair brimming with songwriting prowess. Returning to Vancouver for the first time in six years, Elbow perform with special guest John Grant at the Commodore Ballroom on May 23.
Although he got his start with the Canadian screamo/punk band Alexisonfire, songwriter Dallas Green has found the most success writing melancholy folk and alternative rock songs under the alias of City and Colour. Over the last decade, he has released five full-length albums, all of which have gone platinum in Canada. Currently on tour to support his latest release, The Hurry and the Harm, Dallas Green and his band play one of the first outdoor concerts of the season at Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park on May 23.
Hugh Laurie with the Copper Bottom Band at The Orpheum – May 20
Almost everyone knows Hugh Laurie as television’s cynical and narcissistic Dr. Gregory House, but few realize that the British actor is also a talented singer and multi-instrumentalist. As a young English schoolboy, Laurie became infatuated with American blues music. Today, Laurie writes music that sounds like it's straight out of New Orleans. Laurie has recorded and released two albums to date, 2011’s Let Them Talk and last year’s Didn’t It Rain. He has also collaborated with legends like Tom Jones, Irma Thomas, Dr. John and Shaun Verreault. Laurie performs with his Copper Bottom Band at The Orpheum on May 20.
Backstreet’s Back, alright. With two members now in their 40s, the popular boy band is still relentlessly touring the world, and this time with senior member Kevin Richardson (who left the group in 2006) back in tow. A lot has happened with these boys over the years (remember Nick’s reality TV show? Brian’s open-heart surgery? A.J.’s stint in rehab?), but they have all grown into committed family men. Currently on tour to promote their latest album, last year’s In A World Like This, Backstreet perform together at Rogers Arena on May 20.
Originally from Missouri, songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff has been based out of Denver since the age of 18. He released his debut album in 2007 and has been gathering a dedicated following in Colorado ever since. His latest album, Falling Faster Than You Can Run, has given him some well-deserved widespread exposure, along with an opening slot on The Lumineers’s most recent tour (which included a stop at Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park). His upcoming show at The Media Club on May 15 promises to be a much more intimate event.
Victoria-based band Current Swell mixes a number of genres (namely folk, rock, roots, blues, and even a little reggae and ska) to create its signature island sound. Making music together since 2005, the group has released five full-length albums to date, and in 2011, won Vancouver’s competitive Peak Performance Project. Currently promoting their brand new album, Ulysses, Current Swell plays a show at the Commodore Ballroom on May 10. Fans of Jack Johnson, Bedouin Soundclash, and Xavier Rudd should not pass this one up.