“I’ve had time to run, but I’m still here.” So sings Sloan on 12, the veteran power-pop quartet’s 12th album, as one might have guessed. The band’s harmonies haven’t aged; its taste for hummable melodies and feel-good attitudes are intact. The opening track is Spin Our Wheels, a musical expression of middle-age existentialism that doesn’t appear to apply to these still-tuneful and hopeful nineties survivors. A national tour begins in Sudbury, Ont., on April 3.
Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play
A head-spinning play from the American playwright Anne Washburn asks its audiences to imagine a post-apocalyptic world that is comforted by the animated satirical series The Simpsons. But wait, aren’t we already there? Funny and full of ideas, Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play is an examination of the persistence of capitalism, the power of storytelling and the galvanizing effect of pop culture. Running until April 23, at Vancouver’s Studio 1398.
A member of Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, young Jeremy Dutcher took a unique path to his new album. Working at the Canadian Museum of History, he painstakingly transcribed Indigenous songs from wax cylinders that dated back to 1907. Long days at the archives led to long nights at the piano, which in turn led to Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, a cross-generational collaboration of inspiring postclassical music. April 10 (free show, noon), at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts; May 25, Ottawa’s First Baptist Church.
Winnipeg Comedy Festival
Have you ever noticed CBC Radio’s Laugh Out Loud often features performances from the Winnipeg Comedy Festival? It’s no fluke – the decision makers at the publicly funded corporation don’t set up their microphones willy-nilly. The knee-slaps at the annual laugh fest are caused by Canadians, and while the bill has well-known wits this year such as Dave Foley, Steve Patterson, Emma Hunter and Paul Sun-Hyung Lee from Kim’s Convenience, the event’s funniest people are often the ones lesser known and on the rise. April 9 to 15, at various Winnipeg venues.
John Cooper Clarke
He once said that “poetry is not something you have to retire from,” which means that the performance poet and one-time Bard of Salford continues to cross the Atlantic for short visits to Canadian stages. He’s old enough (and daring enough) to have opened for the Clash, and at the age of 69, John Cooper Clarke continues to comment culturally and bring poetry to non-traditional audiences. He’s a charmer, and, some say, a treasure. April 12, at Toronto’s Lee’s Palace; April 14, Vancouver’s Biltmore Cabaret.