The ball had barely dropped and the body of 2013 was still warm when we quickly forgot about our auld acquaintances. Getting on with the new, thoughts turned to upcoming albums from Toronto artists and a slew of concerts coming our way. Here's a roundup of the city's agenda for pop, rock, blues, jazz and roots music over the next three months or so.
Again with you guys?
Jay Z and Justin Timberlake put on a whiz-bang show at Rogers Centre last July, and now they're back with their own concerts at Air Canada Centre (Jan. 27 and Feb. 13 and 14, respectively). Other headliners at the arena include a resurgent Elton John (Feb. 6), Kings of Leon (Feb. 26), Lady Antebellum (Feb. 28), Paul Simon and Sting (March 1), Arcade Fire (March 13) and the twerkable twerp Miley Cyrus (March 31). Out of nowhere, the Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves singer Cher brings the warble and the costumes on April 7.
After the bum's rush
Neil Young treated local fans rudely when he bailed on Daniel Lanois's Greenbelt Harvest Picnic this summer, but Mr. Hey Hey My My is back in the good books with his "Honor the Treaties" concerts in January, in benefit of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation's legal defence fund. The first of four Canadian shows (with guest Diana Krall) happens at Massey Hall Jan. 12.
Scene but not heard
A year ago, Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew told Pitchfork about his plans to release not one but two albums in 2013. One was to be a solo album; the other, a collaboration with sixties pop singer Andy Kim. Neither of those discs were issued, as it turns out, but the solo LP Darlings now has a release date of March 18. Another Broken Social Scenester, Amy Millan, arrives with Torquil Campbell and the rest of the indie-pop heroes Stars for an intimate show at Lee's Palace on Jan. 18. Two days later at the same venue, the outrageously youthful Irish rockers The Strypes make an excited, bluesy racket.
Pay your Hugh's
You could probably show up at Hugh's Room on any old night and be well entertained, but here are a few highlights on the folk club's packed schedule: Manitoba troubadour Del Barber (Feb. 6), soul-searching slide-guitarist Kelly Joe Phelps (Feb. 13), banjo-toting sage Old Man Luedecke (Feb. 18), blues vet John Hammond (Feb. 27 and 28) and the spring-fed songstress Catherine MacLellan (March 27).
Here and there
Perhaps the winter's most strenuously anticipated local appearance is the two-night stand at the Horseshoe by college-rock outsider Jeff Mangum and his Neutral Milk Hotel (Jan. 19 and 20). Those shows are sold out, but tickets should remain for Detroit's ancient R&B singer Gino Washington (Horseshoe, Jan. 11), gentle songster Tony Dekker (Heliconian Hall, two shows, Jan. 24), Phosphorescent (a.k.a. singer-songwriter Matthew Houck, at the Mod Club, Feb. 1), John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett (Massey Hall, Feb. 2), long-haired Laurel Canyon freak-folkster Jonathan Wilson (Horseshoe, Feb. 10), the psych-rock double bill of Roky Erickson and The Black Angels (Phoenix, Feb. 11), Blue Rodeo (Massey Hall, Feb. 19 and 20), Richard Thompson playing solo and acoustic (Koerner Hall, March 6 ), punk-blues duo Pack A.D. (Horseshoe, March 8) and Cheap Trick (Massey Hall, March 12).
Bring it on
Looking forward to hearing new music from the country-styled crooner Doug Paisley (Strong Feelings, Jan. 21) and the trilingual former Torontonian Alejandra Ribera (La Boca, Feb. 4). And fingers are crossed for a spring release of the much-anticipated collaboration of the Tragically Hip's Gord Downie and The Sadies.
Jazz, blues and soul
Here we have Trombone Shorty (Phoenix, Jan. 16), the Maple Blues Awards (Koerner Hall, Jan. 20), Mavis Staples (Koerner Hall, Feb. 7) and the jazz quartet of Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Esperanza Spalding and Leo Genovese (Massey Hall, Feb. 27).