Spiritualized, Mastodon, Lotus Plaza, Skydiggers and Kid Koala Lead This Week's Can't Miss Concerts

Spiritualized, Mastodon, Lotus Plaza, Skydiggers and Kid Koala Lead This Week's Can't Miss Concerts
Every week Exclaim! encourages readers to go out and see live music. Here's this week's picks for Can't Miss Concerts in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.


Thursday, May 3 & Friday, May 4
Toronto folk rockers Skydiggers will be bringing their adventurous roots music to Vancouver for a two-night stand starting this Thursday. For over 20 years Skydiggers have been blending traditional sounds with psychedelic rock and even trip-hop influences. On their eighth LP Northern Shore, which came out last month, they continue to push boundaries seamlessly mixing sampled beats with country tunes. The group are touring across Canada this summer in support of Northern Shore so now is the perfect chance to see how they've made fans of Canadian rock royalty such as Blue Rodeo and the Tragically Hip.

$15 advance, $20 door at the Railway Club

Friday, May 4
Power metal band Dragonforce hail from the UK and are bringing their almost absurd level of speed and fantasy to Vancouver Friday evening. Their fifth studio album, The Power Within, arrived April 24, and although it features a new lead vocalist, it doesn't stray far from the group's established sound. For what is sure to be a fun night of equally powerful and melodic heavy metal, be sure to go see Dragonforce deliver their twin-guitar attack bolstered with a mighty keyboard and pummelling double bass drum. Opening bands Holy Grail and Huntress will be contributing to the overall medieval atmosphere.

Holy Grail
$25 at the Rickshaw Theatre

Sunday, May 6
Lockett Pundt is a guitarist and vocalist in Deerhunter, one of the most loved indie rock bands to emerge in the past ten years. His side-project, Lotus Plaza, will be arriving in Vancouver on Sunday to play lush shoegaze with shades of pop and post-punk. This year Lotus Plaza followed The Floodlight Collective, his 2009 debut, with Spooky Action at a Distance, a more focused and accessible collection of songs. Guitarist Wymond Miles of the Fresh & Onlys, as well as the synth-laden Mirror Mode, are supporting Lotus Plaza on this tour.

Lotus Plaza
Wymond Miles
Mirror Mode
$12 at the Media Club


Friday, May 4
Calgarian headbangers can rejoice this Friday night as heavy metal behemoths Mastodon and Opeth will be descending on Cowtown. Mastodon incorporate Black Sabbath riffs, Melvins sludge and prog elements into their loud and ambitious music. With a series of strong and ever-evolving albums under their belt, 2011's The Hunter saw the band returning to the stoner doom of their 2004 album The Leviathan. Swedish death metal flag bearers Opeth are also on the bill. Their newest album Heritage is a departure for the band containing complex songs inspired by Swedish folk music, which should be interesting to see performed live.

$48 at MacEwan Hall

Saturday, May 5
Staples of Canadian indie rock, the Dudes, are playing a hometown show this Saturday in Calgary. These guys have been around since 1996 and self-released a new LP, Barbers, Thieves and Bartenders, earlier this year. Lead single "American Girl" is a catchy slice of indie rock peppered with handclaps and power pop leanings. Up-and-comers from Ontario, the Poor Young Things, who have a debut EP slated for release later this year, will be in tow.

The Dudes
Poor Young Things
$20 at Wyckham House Student Centre


Thursday, May 3 & Friday, May 4
Master turntablist Kid Koala has been slicing and dicing records for years, manipulating vinyl to do his bidding and creating exciting new music in the process. His most recent project is no ordinary album. Space Cadet is a graphic novel drawn entirely on etchboards and features an accompanying soundtrack. In turn, the Space Cadet Headphone Concert is an innovative multimedia experience. Audience members sit in blown-up chairs and watch projected images from the novel while listening through headphones to Kid Koala play the soundtrack on turntables and a piano. Wavelength and the Toronto Comics Art Festival are sponsoring this sensory-stimulating art installation.

Kid Koala
$25 advance, $30 door at 918 Bathurst St.

Friday, May 4
Eleanor Friedberger first emerged as one half of sibling act Fiery Furnaces. In 2010, she began a solo career and in 2011 released her first album Last Summer. On Last Summer, Friedberger proves her ability to craft immediate and pleasant songs. Standout track "My Mistakes" is indicative of her brimming talent, and she's sure to put on a great show when she rolls through Toronto this weekend. New York indie pop band Hospitality will also be there.

Eleanor Friedberger
$15 at the Garrison

Saturday, May 5
Spiritualized frontman Jason Pierce recently revealed he was battling liver disease while recording this year's Sweet Heart Sweet Light LP. However, that hasn't stopped him from touring in support of the album, and this Saturday he will be playing a concert in Toronto. The track "Hey Jane" is one of Pierce's best songs since he perfectly balanced psychedelia and soul on the 1997 stone cold classic Ladies and Gentlemen… We are Floating in Space.

$27 at Phoenix Concert Theatre


Thursday, May 3
Eight and a Half are a new indie pop trio featuring Justin Peroff of Broken Social Scene, along with Dave Hamelin and Liam O'Neill of the Stills. The group are signed to the venerable Arts & Crafts label and their eponymous debut arrived in April this year. Since all the members are seasoned veterans on the Canadian indie circuit and are riding high off the strength of their first album together, this is sure to be an excellent show.

Eight and a Half
$10 advance, $13 door at Il Motore

Friday, May 4
Brooklyn's Black Dice are one of the few bands to successfully wed noise rock with electronic bleeps and bloops. On their sixth album, Mr. Impossible, the Williamsburg trio continue with the sonic experimentation that has earned them a devout cult following. If you're a fan of cathartic dissonance and raucous computerized screeches, go see Back Dice with openers Strongboss and Cop Car Bonfire to find yourself in the strange space between a rave and a moshpit.

Black Dice
Cop Car Bonfire
$10 advance, $13 door at Il Motore

Saturday, May 5
If you're not in Toronto for the Eleanor Friedberger and Hospitality show, you can still catch them in Montreal the following day, along with Hospitality.

Eleanor Friedberger
$16 advance, $18 door at Il Motore