If the street-clogging theatrics of the annual Pride parade make you claustrophobic and queasy, why not opt for a day trip to more pastoral pastures - without even leaving the city?
In what's becoming an annual tradition for one of the summer's consistently fantastic big-ticket shows, the lovable hooligans in Broken Social Scene headline a spectacular bill of shimmering indie rock a mere ferry trip away on Olympic Island. In addition to Broken satellite projects like Feist and Raising the Fawn (fronted by sometime BSS guitarist John Crossingham ), Brit modern romantics Bloc Party and Dinosaur Jr.'s elusive J. Mascis join in the guitar-happy fun. June 24. Olympic Island. $50.50. 416-870-8000, www.rootmeansquare.ca.
Dog days of summer
While ostensibly not a clever means of raising money for their lovers' sex-change surgery, Metric 's super-ambitious Dog Day Afternoon travelling roadshow looks certain to be packed with at least as much hapless hijinks (and hopefully fewer guns) as the Al Pacino flick of the same name. The au courant local new wave glam squad are going big their first year out with a three-city tour - in addition to the July 15 show at Toronto's Fort York, they're hitting Montreal and Ottawa - featuring carny-pop sibling act the Fiery Furnaces , Dallas psych-rockers Secret Machines , Detroit disco-garage freaks Electric Six , and the Dependent collective trifecta of live loopsters Holy Fuck , guitar jammers Winter-sleep and soon-to-be-stars Land of Talk . That's a lot of bang for a mere 40 bucks. July 15. 100 Garrison. $40. 416-870-8000.
As in years past, many of the more interesting artists participating in the annual Downtown Jazz Festival have only a tenuous relationship with jazz music. But with shows by De La Soul at Harbourfront Centre (June 23), Ma-ceo Parker at Nathan Phillips Square (June 28) and Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings at the Phoenix (June 29), who's complaining? This year's extravaganza, running June 23 through July 2, promises a few surprising lineup additions like John Zorn 's acoustic Masada , who should throw some improvisation fire into the mix at the Music Hall (June 28), while those who prefer their jazz electrified will get a jolt from the Superstars of Fusion featuring Roy Ayers with Jon Lucien , Bobbi Humphrey , Lonnie Liston Smith , Jean Carne and Wayne Henderson at Harbourfront Centre (June 29). For tickets and more information, check http://tojazz.com.
Guess who's coming
Even though Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings can no longer perform as the Guess Who since bassist Jim Kale has the rights to the name - duh! - whatever the Winnipeg songwriting partners want to call themselves, they've got more than enough classic tunes between them to play non-stop human jukebox for a night at the Molson Amphitheatre. June 23. $29.50-$79.50. 416-870-8000.
Bataan the man
Once again Harbourfront has a killer summer schedule lined up, with a series of intriguing mini-festivals to keep you coming back every weekend. Along with Ritmo Y Color (July 21 to 23), boasting Havana's Sierra Maestra and Mexico's Nortec Collective , the new Roots: Remix event (July 14 to 16) holds big promise, with the Toronto debut of Nuyorican soul great Joe Bataan and Congolese supergroup Kekele . But perhaps the most anticipated mini-fest is Beats, Breaks And Culture (July 7 to 9), which will feature the first-ever Toronto appearance of Kinshasa's Congotronics crew Konono No. 1 along with the return of electro-soul upstart Jamie Lidell and the fabulous Mark de Clive-Lowe . 235 Queens Quay West. 416-973-4000.
As if dealing with the heartbreak of acid reflux, weathering her big sister's public divorce and reinvesting in a whole new makeup palette now that she's eschewed the rocker-chick brunette coif for her original Penthouse Pet blond weren't enough burdens to bear, poor Ashlee Simpson 's kicking off her summer stadium tour with a rash of nasty Internet rhinoplasty rumours. The Jumbotron at the Molson Amphitheatre should provide a perfect opportunity for screaming fans to figure out whether the bubble-gum diva's shaved millimetres off her schnozz when Simpson swings through town with Ashley Parker Angel and the Veronicas July 17. 909 Lakeshore West. $35-$49.50. 416-870-8000.
Sunrise with Steve
Steve Lawler 's dark and twisted take on house is guaranteed to rock the main room of the Guvernment (132 Queens Quay East) June 10, but it's the sunrise set on the massive Skybar rooftop patio June 10 that has people buzzing after last year's morning-after party that saw him and Sasha playing for a packed roof of diehards until the cops closed it down. You can expect at least a few fans who don't want to deal with the peak-hour craziness of this kind of club to spend most of the night in bed in order to wake up early for the patio after-party. $15 before 11 pm, $20 after.
Livin' on the edge
When Raine Maida 's trademark whine rings out over the water during Our Lady Peace 's high-profile headlining slot at Canada Day's Edgefest extravaganza, you can be forgiven for thinking you've fallen through a decade-old wormhole and landed in, like, Edgefest 1995. The difference between the fests of yore and this year's version, of course, is that today's kinder, gentler alt-rock bonanza takes place at the Molson Amphitheatre rather than the faraway reaches of Barrie. Oh, and instead of the lameness of I Mother Earth and their ilk, Edge kids can pump their wristbanded fists to the melodic strains of Magneta Lane , Keane , Hot Hot Heat , Neverending White Lights and more. Not a bad way to celebrate our country's birthday. July 1. 909 Lakeshore West. $22.50-$48.50. 416-870-8000.
The historic Sunnyside Pavilion (1755 Lakeshore West) is one of Toronto's most unique and picturesque venues - a walled-in garden next to the lake, open to the stars and channelling decadence of an era gone by. Milk celebrates the launch of the summer season by bringing in soulful and eclectic NYC DJ Spinna June 17, playing house, funk, hiphop, disco and more, alongside Felix & Gani and Richard Brooks . $20 advance, more at the door. www.milkaudio.com.