18 Toronto concerts we’re looking forward to in June 2019

Billie Eilish, PUP, U.S. Girls and more – here are the shows to catch this month


Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Noname, Thundercat: June 1 at Echo Beach: .Paak’s February show at Rebel was very beachy, but this one is at an actual beach. Plus: two dream openers matching the soulful, jazzy hip-hop vibe. See listing

Promise Cherry Beach, June 2 at Cherry Beach: You don’t need to go all the way to Ibiza to dance to electronic music on the beach. I Love Promise presents its 19th season of afternoon DJ jams on Lake Ontario, which includes 14 consecutive Sundays (or Monday long weekends. Check out this first edition with Kevin Saunderson, Ali Black, Loxxe, Automaticamore and Borella. See listing.

The 1975: June 3 at Budweiser Stage: This 80s-inspired Manchester band – which blurs the line between rock and pop – are somehow simultaneously critically adored and reviled. The kind of polarizing mix that only comes with a certain level of appeal. See for yourself. See listing.

Vampire Weekend, Chicano Batman: June 5 at Echo Beach: The New York preppy rock band are back after six years, and, despite the state of the world, surprisingly optimistic. See listing.

DJ Lag and Ciel: June 6 at the Drake Underground: The “Gqom King” brings a slice of Durban to the Drake, blending Kwaito house and Shangaan electro to create his signature sound of dance music. He’ll be joined by local hero and DJ extraordinaire Ciel. See listing.

Transmit Festival: June 6-8 at The Baby G, The Garrison and Dundas West Fest: A new festival – or rather a festival within a festival. A festival around a festival? Whatever you want to call it, Transmit Festival is three days of great Canadian bands, both ticketed and free, taking place at the Garrison, the Baby G and an outdoor all-ages stage as part of Dundas West Fest. Acts include Teenanger, Sauna, Dilly Dally, Nyssa, Kiwi Jr and Facs. See listing

PUP: June 7-8 at Danforth Music Hall: The Toronto punk band and NOW cover stars have had a whirlwind year so far – they’ve released their universally lauded new record, Morbid Stuff, performed on Seth Meyers and toured the world – and they should get a hero’s welcome at these sold-out hometown shows. If you miss out, they’ll be back for a victory lap on July 21 at Echo Beach. See listings.

NXNE: June 7-16 at various venues: There are still some big names yet to be announced for this year’s city-wide festival, but its 25th anniversary seems like it’ll be a big one. After tweaking its format over the last few years, NXNE is doubling down on the Festival Village in Yonge-Dundas Square, expanding to three stages around Yonge, Dundas and Queen. And club-hopping wristbands are back to their 1993 prices – $29. Acts include American Football, CupcakKe, Santigold, Cold War Kids, Greys and more. nxne.com

U.S. Girls, Badge Époque Ensemble: June 8 at the Opera House: Former NOW cover star Meg Remy and her band put on a hell of a live show, adding titanic grooves to her biting political pop. Bonus here: many of them also play in the instrumental band Badge Époque Ensemble, who are opening the show. See listing.

PUP Proofs-0560.jpg

Toronto punk band PUP play two shows at the Danforth Music Hall in June.

Billie Eilish, Denzel Curry: June 11 at Echo Beach: If you’re not one of her zillion followers on Instagram – or if you don’t have anyone younger than 20 in your life – you might think this 17-year-old star came out of nowhere. Her debut album, When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, introduced a wider audience to her gothy, playful and personality-filled take on pop music, and smashed records in the process. Catch her here with pulse-quickening rapper Denzel Curry and likely lots of teenagers. See listing.

Collectif NUDE Block Party: June 15 at the Bentway: This outdoor early-summer blowout is back, this year at the new location of the Bentway. Catch emerging Canadian hip-hop and R&B acts Chris LaRocca, JAHKOY, LOONY and Prado, play on the custom designed basketball court from Legends League founder and creative director Bryan Espiritu, check out the pop-up tattoo and barber shops and just bask in the (fingers crossed) sun. See listing

Pride and Alternative Pride: June 20-24 at various venues: This year’s festival is purposefully scaled back and more tightly programmed, but there’s still a strong lineup of musicians coming to play: New Orleans bounce queen Big Freedia, R&B singer Tweet, synth-popper TR/ST and lots more. But if that’s still too big and corporate for your tastes, check out the party-focused Alternative Pride festival, which is launching this year. 

Outlaw Music Festival: June 21 at Budweiser Stage: Willie Nelson is bringing his caravan of country and country-tinged acolytes back to Budweiser Stage this summer. In addition to the redheaded stranger, the Toronto leg of the tour gets roots-rockers The Avett Brothers, another road-tested vet in Alison Krauss, plus CanRocker Matt Mays and more. See listing.

Toronto Jazz Festival: June 21-30 at various venues: If you’re the type to buy a ticket and sit, you can catch some big-name headliners like Norah Jones, Tower of Power and the legendary Diana Ross. But if you like your jazz cheap yet surrounded by expensive designer goods, check out the many free shows on the Bloor corridor of Yorkville, including an all-star tribute to Downchild Blues Band (including Dan Aykroyd, David Wilcox and Paul Shaffer), a hip-hop night headlined by Shad and a show featuring gospel icon Shirley Caesar. torontojazz.com

Nano MUTEK: June 22 at the Museum of Contemporary Art: Ahead MUTEK festival in Montreal, the Toronto offshoot celebrates the queer roots of electronic music with a night of emerging techno and house artists. See live performances from Masuyaki Tomita, Mutually Feeling, Persuasion, Debbie Døe, Pelada and Phedre plus DJ sets by Vibrant Matter, Honeydrip and Frankie Teardrop. facebook.com 

Ariana Grande: June 26 at Scotiabank Arena: If you couldn’t get tickets to her arena show back in April, hopefully you said thank u, next, and picked up some up for this one. Grande is, after all, one of the biggest pop stars out right now. See listing.

Boiler Room Toronto: June 28 at Masonic Temple: No lineup has been announced and there’s already been a venue change from 500 Keele Warehouse, but that hasn’t stopped this popular party from being sold out. See listing.

Dreams Festival: June 29-30 at Echo Beach: This local showcase for EDM has an incredible lineup of big names, featuring pop production phenom and DJ ZEDD, homegrown #spacemom REZZ and a host of others including Paul Oakenfold and A-Trak. See listing

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