Beyoncé & Jay Z
Yoncé and her husband both had two shows in Toronto last year: Bey graced the ACC stage twice, and Jay hit it once, appearing at the Rogers Centre with Justin Timberlake a few months prior. Now Beyoncé and Jay Z, pop's reigning couple, are giving the people what they want. Turns out their sensual Grammys chair dance was just a preview of their On The Run Tour, at the Rogers Centre July 9, 8 pm, $40.50-$253.25. LN, TM.
Danny Brown @ NXNE
For someone who hails from the Motor City, Danny Brown's trips to Toronto have been few and far between. (Border-crossing issues couldn't have anything to do with it, could they?) Not to worry, on the Friday, June 20, of NXNE, the eccentric rapper brings his alternative stylings to a headlining gig at NOW's Northby showcase at the Mod Club, preceded by sets from two other outside-the-box emcees, Cities Aviv and Le1f, plus East Coast fuzz-pop band Alvvays. Doors 8 pm. See NXNE preview. Nxne.com.
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Fifteen records and three decades into the Australian alt-rockers' storied career, lovably sombre frontman Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds surely have the touring chops and the diverse catalogue to wow an audience. The band is known to play sets that showcase their whole discography, and Cave works the stage like a man possessed. Any Future Islands fans out there? You like Samuel T. Herring? Cave - the original uninhibited, quirky frontman - plays the Sony Centre July 31. 8 pm. $39.50-$98.25. sonycentre.ca.
Bruno Mars and Pharrell
Say what you want about Bruno Mars's music, but even the most diehard metal heads are won over when they see the pint-sized pop superstar working that mic stand. Last year he played the Molson Amphitheatre solo; this year he's teamed up with needs-no-introduction Pharrell Williams for a double-whammy ACC show that's sure to make you happy. July 26, 7:30 pm, $66.75-$142.25. LN, TM.
On the heels of his hotly anticipated new solo album, Lazaretto, one of this generation's true-blue rock stars embarks on a massive stadium tour. We've seen Jack White play venues big and small - with the White Stripes he played every single Canadian province and territory - but an 18,000-person venue (the Air Canada Centre) seems especially appropriate for one of the best guitarists around. July 31, 7 pm, $29.50-$65.50. LN, TM.
Earth, Wind & Fire
This summer the Toronto Jazz Festival brings another full roster of jazz, blues, funk and soul stars to over 50 venues. But we're most stoked about Chicago's Grammy-winning, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted, kalimba-jamming, Afro-R&B genre-benders Earth, Wind & Fire. Take your pick from a slew of greatest hits: the nine-man band are sure to jam After The Love Has Gone, Shining Star, That's The Way Of The World and more at the Sony Centre, June 24, 8 pm, $59.50-$210. TM, torontojazz.com.
In its second year, Arts & Crafts' two-day outdoor fest has spread its wings beyond the label to include artists that are just plain awesome. In the idyllic park setting of Fort York Garrison Common, heavyweights Interpol, the Kills and Broken Social Scene headline, label faves Austra, Kevin Drew and Fucked Up hold court, while outsiders Shad, A Tribe Called Red and BADBADNOTGOOD infiltrate. June 7 and 8. Gates open at noon. $75, weekend pass $125. LN, RT, SS, TM. fieldtriplife.com.
Toronto Urban Roots Fest is a bit of a misnomer. To clarify: it's urban in that it's downtown, it's (mostly) roots in genre. But as usual, the stellar lineup makes you forget the name pretty quickly. Beloved Georgian indie-rockers Neutral Milk Hotel, Chicago alt-country performer/soul and gospel producer Jeff Tweedy, Austin blues guitar virtuoso Gary Clark Jr. and Toronto-via-Ottawa power poppers Hollerado are among the bold names. July 4 to 6. Fort York Garrison Common, $59-$99.50, fest pass $149.50-$329.50. HS, RT, SS, TF. torontourbanrootsfest.com.
St. Vincent @ NXNE
St. Vincent's live show is a theatrical affair. Her 2009 album was called Actor, so you know that the woman is a ham. But her Yonge-Dundas Square performance will focus on tunes from her recent critically adored eponymous album, which sees her blending jazz, pop and prog rock. She's also one of the finest guitarists on the planet, shredding that thing almost robotically, in the best possible way. And, oh yeah, it's a free show. June 20, 9:10 pm. nxne.com.
Hip-hop's first legitimate live band, Philadelphia's the Roots just released their 11th album, ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. Drummer Questlove has become a cultural icon and a DJ in his own right, but we still like him best alongside lead rapper Black Thought. The gang's all here for Luminato, playing an open-air show at David Pecaut Square. June 7 at 8 pm. $35. TM. luminatofestival.com.
Journey and the Steve Miller Band
Which 70s super-band has more super-hits? Our money's on the Steve Miller Band, whose 74-78 best-of compilation alone features Fly Like An Eagle, Jungle Love and Take The Money And Run. But it's not a competition, and we're more than open to waiting until he teams up with Journey for their Molson Amphitheatre show to be doubly sure. Don't stop believin'. June 19, doors 6 pm, all ages, $30-$110. LN.