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    Vampire Weekend Kick Off Tour in Vancouver

    Halfway through Vampire Weekend's Friday night set at Vancouver's Malkin Bowl, singer-guitarist Ezra Koenig made a surprising confession: The group had a mild case of the jitters. The reason? According to the well-mannered, Topsiders-sporting frontman, he and his bandmates had just come off a three-week break. The men of Vampire Weekend evidently keep up a work schedule that's never going to get them pegged as slackers, and the time off seemed like an eternity to them. Having been away from each other for a while, the New Yorkers were worried that the kick-off show of their current North American tour would find them sounding rusty. Sorry, but nothing doing. Right from the set-opening "Holiday," the band came off as a well-oiled, firing-on-all-pistons machine.

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    Rihanna and Ke$ha Kick-Off Wild Summer Tour!

    Considering Rihanna cancelled the original July 2 opening date of her North American 'Last Girl on Earth' tour due to production issues, you'd think the bugs would have been worked out for Sunday's official kickoff show in Vancouver, British Columbia. And for 99.9 percent of the insanely over-the-top night, they were. But if you were paying attention to what happened a half-dozen songs in, at the end of an impressively raging "Rockstar 101," you would have noticed things weren't going totally smoothly behind the scenes. Rihanna had just finished unleashing her inner guitar god, playing a gleaming black Flying V while perched atop a 20-foot-high hydraulic platform and attacking it with enough piss and vinegar to impress Pete Townshend.

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    Sia Falls Ill at Vancouver Tour Opener

    Sia Furler learned a valuable lesson at Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom on Saturday: Excessive knitting and pop music can make for a dangerous combination. In hindsight, the Australian-reared, Los Angeles–based singer-songwriter had no one but herself to blame for a tour kickoff that started out brilliantly and ended up a disaster. Had she not dressed herself up like an Eskimo, she might have lasted longer than five songs. For starters, her stage setup looked like someone's grandmother had started knitting and couldn't stop. Monitors, amplifiers, speakers, microphone stands, and guitar straps were all covered in woolly crochet.

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    Monsters of Folk Kick Off U.S. Tour

    Monsters of Folk -- the indie supergroup featuring M. Ward, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, and Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis -- gave the crowd at Vancouver's Commodore ballroom their money's worth with an epic two-and-a-half-hour set on the opening night of their U.S. tour. At various points during the show, members would come and go, with Oberst and Mogis left alone to perform Bright Eyes faves like "Lenders in the Temple." And a solo Ward pretty much blew everyone's mind with his own acoustic-blues knockout "100 Million Years." No less stellar was James teaming with Ward for a gorgeously restrained rendition of "Wonderful (How I Feel). Fittingly, though, it was the Monsters of Folk originals which were the night's showstoppers. For reasons that probably had everything to do with opening-night jitters, the band members took a while before they started to look comfortable.

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    Sunny Day Real Estate Make Triumphant Return in Vancouver

    On one hand, Jeremy Enigk had good reason to be thrilled by the more-or-less rapturous reception given to Sunny Day Real Estate at Vancouver's CommodoreBallroom on Thursday. Night one of the emo pioneers' reunion tour found just under 700 fans partying like it was 1995, the last time the original lineup of Enigk, guitarist Dan Hoerner, bassist Nate Mendel, and drummer William Goldsmith hit the stage together. On the other? "You have to bear with me," Enigk announced one song into the night. "I'm having trouble with my vocal cords. So if you know the lyrics, sing along." No one did of course, which was no slight on distortion-smeared offerings like "Friday" or "Iscarabaid," but more a reflection on the fact that proper enunciation isn't high on Enigk priority list.

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