Fall Concerts

Summer is over and it’s nippy out. TIFF is done. Your summer holidays are now a distant memory. Wah Wah.

I know it’s tempting to divide up your week by TV shows. It’s tempting to run home after work and throw on your sweats and commence hibernation a bit early because the grey days make for grey moods. Please don’t! Take a dose of that vitamin D and take advantage of the exciting things going on.  This is prime touring season for your favorite bands, many of which have released new albums. We’ve also got a couple of new venues in the city with state-of-the-art sound systems that are begging for your attention (particularly: Adelaide Music Hall, Black Box Theatre, Montauk Bar).

The list of shows coming to town can be overwhelming for anyone. Below, my top recommendations and I promise there’s something for everyone from broody to danceable:

Austra. Sept. 27, Phoenix, $25. Their latest album has been on repeat in my home. Be prepared to dance and be mesmerized.

DIANA. Sept. 26, Great Hall, $10. This is what I would call their great launch. Fresh of the heels of opening for Tegan & Sara, you’ll never see them for $10 again, I promise you.

Local Natives / Wild Nothing. Sept. 21, Kool Haus, $29. My most anticipated show of the fall – two awesome bands on one bill. Wild Nothing haven’t been in town in ages (except maybe to film the video below featuring indie darling Michelle Williams riding the Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls!), and Local Natives never disappoint live.

The Weeknd. Oct. 17, 19 & 20, Massey Hall, $45 – $75. As if he wasn’t able to seduce us with his lyrics and voice alone, Abel Tesfaye has got a 3-night engagement at the great Massey Hall. It should be just perfect. Hey, maybe hometown hero Drake will surprise us with an appearance to support his protege?

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NXNE Recap and an Amazing Sandwich

First thing’s first: I’m suffering from post-NXNE depression in a big way. This year’s festival was better than ever. Once again, venues kept to their schedules (some acts even started early! Gasp!), people flowed easily between venues taking in as much music as they could resulting in my never waiting in a line or missing a planned show, and I saw some amazing new bands. From the Yonge & Dundas Square shows, to 3:00am sets with extended bar licenses, to a full afternoon of acoustic music in Trinity Bellwoods park, I had warm fuzzies all weekend. Most importantly, I am a huge fan of some new bands, including St. Lucia, Youth & Gold, Still Corners, Paper Lions and Villagers. I’ve been reading some awesome reviews of the weekend and I’m trying not to get anxious about the sets I missed because contrary to what I want to believe, I can’t do it all! Good news is that I’ve now got a list of bands to keep my eye out for. Here are some great reviews of the week that have me counting down until next year:




A few choice shots from the weekend include Eight and a Half (L), the crowd at the Great Hall sitting and taking in Our Founders, and the Great Hearts festival put on by the Young Lions Music Club:


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NXNE 2013

One of my favorite times of the year in Toronto is coming up: NXNE Music Festival. This year’s lineup features an incredible 1000 artists and 30 films at over 50 stages across the city between Wednesday June 12th and Sunday June 16th. There’s a business aspect to this festival, but for the purpose of music lovers like you and I, I’m sticking to the live music here. Wristbands are still available for $60, which will get you in + out access to all the shows (subject to capacity, of course), single day wristbands can be yours for $30, and there’s also the option of just paying cover at single venues.


For those not interested in running around between venues, possibly waiting in line, or spending your hard earned bucks on bands you don’t know, I highly recommend you pick a venue, go early and stick it out for the night and see what the stage presents you. The Great Hall, The Horseshoe Tavern, Lee’s Palace, BLK BOX, and the Dakota Tavern are fail safes for good tunes every year. Yonge & Dundas Square also has an incredible line-up of FREE shows each night featuring headliners Ludacris, Billy Talent, Social Distortion, and certainly the most anticipated act in my social circles: The National.

Did I mention that there will be 1000 artists? Clearly I couldn’t dig through each and every artist to give you the most perfect list of recommendations ever, but I’ve surely done my darnedest. Aside from the list below, I have to give a shout out for the hilarious band names that I came across:  1992 Toronto Blue Jays, The Mouthbreathers, HORMOANS, Vagina Panther (I can’t make these things up).

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Rhye & Coachella


This time last year we had just spent the weekend watching the likes of Radiohead, Bon Iver, Calvin Harris, Black Keys, and of course, how could I forget: Tupac. Last year the sun was hardly bearable and the crowds were often obnoxious. This year I particularly loved the sets by Blur, Phoenix, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Infected Mushroom, the Lumineers, the DJ set by Moby, and Nick Cave. Sure, maybe I missed the heat and the crowd’s energy, but this year I could see the stage, hear the music, have a drink in my hand and catch sets by artists on different stages at the same time – all from the comfort of my couch.

For the entire weekend, Coachella streamed sets live on YouTube, and if you didn’t know, now you do and you can catch it all for the festival’s second weekend starting this Friday. Just remember the time difference between California and Toronto – I had some pretty late nights this weekend waiting for my favorite acts to hit the stage!

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Music Festivals: Summer of ’13 edition

Fair warning: in approximately 36 hours, you will start to get inundated from every social media outlet with pictures and amazing one-of-a-kind moments that you’ve missed from cutely dressed, good looking people seeing amazing live concerts (or people like this). These people are, in fact, cooler than you for the next 72 hours because they get to be in Palm Springs, California seeing shows that you’ve dreamed of seeing (Blur. New Order. Wu-Tang Clan.). And it won’t help that it is mid-April and these folks won’t think twice about posting pictures of the hot desert sun and palm trees while we peeps here in Canada have to deal with freezing rain. Honey, life ain’t fair.

Good news, friends! Many of these acts are making their way to our parts! So keep tabs on the reviews raving about the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s amazing live showMacklemore’s crazy trick where he walks on top of the crowd or the feeling of dancing with thousands of sweaty, happy people to Eric Prydz.

There’s such a variety of live music coming to us. There’s electronic, there’s folk, there’s jazz, there’s rock n roll. Choose one, two or damn it – fill your summer with live music! THIS is what summers are about. I will say one thing: If you want to escape the province and go on an adventure, make it Osheaga this year. This year’s lineup is the best of the best.



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