Each year around this time, Vancouver sees a flurry of shows. One of the main reasons is that our dear neighbour to the south, Seattle, hosts one of the best music and arts festivals in North America each and every Labour Day long weekend. And for those of us who can’t or don’t make it down, many of the bands do us the favour of crossing the border to play Vancouver. This year is no exception, as alt-rock faves like Deerhunter, the Breeders and !!! (pronounced “chk-chk-chk”) all make the journey. Here’s a look at those and some other shows happening Aug. 30 – Sept. 2.
Deerhunter (Aug 30, Rickshaw Theatre, 254 E. Hastings St.) – This Atlanta, GA rock band are regular visitors up here, despite frontman Bradford Cox experiencing “his worst show ever” (under his solo project name Atlas Sound) a few years back. The group is known for challenging yet accessible guitar-based tunes. Opener is Cindy Lee, a new band formed by former Women frontman Patrick Flegel (and not, alas, Cindy Lee Berryhill, a singer/songwriter on the periphery of the ’90s indie music scene). Show: 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $20.00 advance available online at www.ticketweb.ca.
The Breeders (Aug. 31, Commodore Ballroom, 868 Granville St.) – Speaking of the ’90s, The Breeders are on the comeback trail. On this tour, the Ohio band is returning to the songs (and album) that made them famous with the Lollapalooza generation, including “Cannonball” and “Divine Hammer” (off 1993’s Last Splash). Tweens, a garage-pop band from Ohio, opens. Show: 9:30pm. Tickets: $30.00.
The Sheepdogs (Aug. 30, Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park) – The Sheepdogs’ main claim to fame is being the first unsigned band (as chosen by readers’ online votes) to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. The Saskatoon band writes woolly classic rock with lyrics that definitely won’t tax your brain (see “I Don’t Know”). More impressive: opener Imaginary Cities, from Winnipeg. Show: 7 p.m. Tickets $30.00 (general admission, all ages).
Tegan & Sara (Aug. 31, Ambleside Park, West Vancouver) – It’s a sad day when a group as accomplished and talented as Tegan & Sara opens for a fly-by-night outfit like fun., but that’s the way these things go sometimes. While fun. is benefiting from a hit song (“We Are Young”), Canadian twin sister act Tegan & Sara made a try for the brass ring this year with one of their best albums, Closer. Oh well, at least Taylor Swift showed up onstage in L.A. with them recently to help sing the title track. Show: 5 p.m. Tickets: $45. General admission/all ages.
Victory Square Block Party (Sept 1, 150 W. Hastings St) – Sample a buffet of Vancouver talent, including buzz band Slam Dunk, all-lady trio The Courtneys, ’80s synth-popster Jay Arner and instrumental guitar-rock group the V. Vecker Ensemble. 2 – 9 p.m., and free!
!!! and Ra Ra Riot (Sept 2, Fortune Sound Club, 147 E. Pender St.) – American dance-rock band !!! return to Fortune Sound Club just a few months after their last sweaty show at the venue. The band is on tour to support their latest release, THR!!!LER. New York’s Ra Ra Riot co-headlines. Show: 9 p.m. Tickets: $18.00 at www.ticketweb.ca.