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Five concerts coming to Vancouver in April that you need to see

There’s plenty on offer in April for the music lovers in Metro Vancouver

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As the flowers begin blooming, the tours began moving.

Spring has always marked the first wave of the new year’s concert events and this year is as busy as ever. Artists are out on the road trying to recoup the losses of the COVID years, and venues are only too happy to provide space as they try to replenish the coffers as well.

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Post-pandemic demand does appear to be waning in the face of exponentially higher ticket prices and general economic hardship, but until the weather gets to the point where hanging outside is a thing, folks will be going to hear someone sing, play or perform.

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Here are the top five concert picks for April, in order of date, and why you should consider adding them to your concert calendar.


loving
Loving is a Victoria duo whose latest album is titled Any Light out on Last Gang Records. 2024 Photo by Glyn Manwaring-Jones /sun

Loving

When: April 6, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Rickshaw Theatre, 254 E. Hastings
Tickets/info: $25 at ticketweb.ca

The latest release from Victoria psychedelic folk duo Loving — David Parry and Jesse Henderson — is titled Any Light and was released by Last Gang Records on Feb. 9. Produced by the band, the new album finds the group expanding its sonic range with far more layered production and considerable orchestration on pastoral ditties such as Medicine. It could stand alongside seventies progressive U.K. folk as well as contemporaries like Big Thief.

Why you should go: The group is riding a wave of buzz brought on by plenty of positive press, including a review in Pitchfork that compares the band to such artist as George Harrison and Harry Nilsson. In other words, this is a group on the rise who might very well be playing larger and less intimate venues in the future. See them before you need binoculars.

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Tyr
Tyr, a metal band from the Faroe Islands, featuring, from left, Tadeuz Rieckmann (drums), Terji Skibenaes (guitar), Heri Joensen (guitar), Gunnar H. Thomsen (bass). PNG

Hyperspace Metalfest

When: April 11 — 13, various times
Where: Rickshaw Theatre and WISE Hall
Tickets/info: google.com/journeymanproductions.org

Journeyman Productions bills this year’s lineup as its most epic ever. It would be hard to disagree with that. The multi-venue, three night event has grown to encompass artists working under the metal banner and a dizzying array of sub-genres. So much so, that the only thing these acts have in common is a unifying appreciation for turning their amps up and rocking.

Why you should go: There is nowhere else you’ll find a bill with bands ranging from the Faroe Islands power metallists Tyr, Norwegian folk thrashers Trollfest, pirate metal freaks the Dread Crew of Oddwood and others one night to original thrashers Flotsam & Jetsam and Surrey’s pounding Iron Kingdom on another.

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Jacob Collier
Jacob Collier at the 2017 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival. Dan Nawrocki (Ottawa Citizen) Photo by Dan Nawrocki /sun

Jacob Collier: The Djesse Solo Show

When: April 14, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Tickets/info: livenation.com

English musician Jacob Collier is the first British artist to earn a Grammy award for each of his first four albums. Not only did he land on the scene with a deal with Quincy Jones’ management group, but his own custom-designed audiovisual live performance set up enables him to perform as a one-person band. That alone makes this artist interesting. What makes him baffling is his proficiency on a multitude of instruments as he creates incredible versions of classics by the likes of Stevie Wonder to the Flintstones theme song.

Why you should go: That custom MIT Media Lab set up Collier uses is a gearhead fantasy. But how he engages with it to bring his audiences to their feet is something to see. Collier’s music may be quite sophisticated, but his live show is an upbeat, crowd-pleasing performance that is earning him regular standing ovations.

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Afrorack
Brian Bamanya, a.k.a. Afrorack is a pioneer of DIY modular synthesizers from Kampala, Uganda. Photo by Lorenzo Palmieri /sun

Afrorack

When: April 20, 8 p.m.
Where: Red Gate, 1965 Main St.
Tickets/info: redgate.tv

It’s no secret that some of the most original sounds emerging in the electronic and dance music scenes are coming out of the African continent. Among the leaders in this new wave of technological experimentalists is Kampala, Uganda’s Afrorack. The alias of musician Brian Bamanya, Afrorack is both the working name of the artist and the homemade modular synths and FX units that he has constructed in his repair shop. This is this pioneering musician’s first ever North American show.

Why you should go: Not only does Afrorack make some of the most intriguing and genre-jumping dance music around, his groove-heavy gigs usually take place in big spaces like Ugandan street parties or U.K. festivals rather than cool small rooms like the Red Gate. Also, DJ Adam 2 and audiovisual artists Goo and Jacob Audrey Taves are on the bill as well. Make a night of it.

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Rhiannon Giddens
Rhiannon Giddens performs on the main stage with her band at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in 2017. Ian Kucerak / Postmedia Photo by Ian Kucerak /Postmedia

Rhiannon Giddens

When: April 15, 7 p.m.
Where: Chan Centre, UBC
Tickets/info: chancentre.com

The combination of having both Grammy Awards and a Pulitzer Prize is a rare one, but North Carolina singer/composer/songwriter Rhiannon Giddens is a rare artist. First coming to the attention of local audiences after her appearance at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival with the band Carolina Chocolate Drops, Giddens has since gone on to release five solo albums, including last year’s acclaimed You’re the One. She followed that album with the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Omar, co-written with American composer Michael Abels. She is also the recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant.

Why you should go: All those awards wouldn’t amount to much if they weren’t the product of a career built on captivating live performances and Giddens is a firebrand on stage. Performing on fiddle, banjo and other instruments with her crack band or on her own, her songs run the gamut from old time Americana to expansive multicultural folk and pop genres. Add in her work on such T Bone Burnett-produced projects such as the New Basement Tapes featuring the newly discovered material by Bob Dylan and the set list is sure to be varied. Plus, Indigenous artist Charly Lowry opens.

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