5 new live music venues in Toronto

New music venues in Toronto aren’t located in a small pocket of real estate, but spread from the Entertainment District to the Annex to Dundas West and beyond. Even in a city as sizable as ours, going out can get stagnant. Sometimes we find ourselves listlessly scrolling through shows listed on Rotate‘s site, or on Just Shows, only to find nothing new to do. The Horseshoe and Lee’s are just dandy, but to spice things up, here are five new live music venues in Toronto to have on your radar.

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Live music on the rise in Toronto

This weekend, music fans will flock to Fort York for the first Toronto Urban Roots Fest, a four-day affair that sees the appearances of Flogging Molly, Hold Steady, Lowest of the Low and more (Saturday) and Kurt Vile, Neko Case, Belle & Sebastian and more (Sunday). The festival also includes off-site club gigs at Lee’s Palace and the Horseshoe Tavern. The event is the brainchild of Jeff Cohen, the owner of those two clubs and a prominent local concert promoter. He spoke to the Globe and Mail on how it all came together and how the festival is a part of an erupting Toronto live music scene that already thrives.

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Who’s Busking in Toronto?

August 22 – 25 is the date for the Scotiabank Buskerfest 2013 in Toronto. This event is the largest fundraiser of the year for Epilepsy Toronto. This year’s Buskerfest is going to be on Yonge Street – a big win for the event. Applications for entertainers are accepted every year from January – April. It’s great exposure for the few musicians and bands accepted, and all for a great cause. Continue reading Who’s Busking in Toronto?

Are There Any Trailblazers in Toronto?


There are no grassroots trailblazers in Toronto when it comes to the music industry.

When I was growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as a young singer songwriter I did the regular same old stuff that every musician does. I tried to start a band, I wrote songs, and I recorded demos. This is all pre-internet, pre-ProTools. I was renting analogue equipment from Long and McQuade to record my demos on cassette tape, because that’s how the technology was back then. But I did it, and I would always think to myself, “If I had a chance to do this, or this, or this, or this…’ I would dream. That’s what musician’s are, they’re dreamers. That’s what creative people are, they are dreamers. So I would dream. I would dream big. I would dream stuff like I wish I could make a music video for every song that I’ve ever written. And I’d dream up story lines to each song; each song’s video. Stuff like that. I’d dream a lot of things; I’d dream up movies about me. Y’know because of course I was gonna be the biggest thing since sliced bread, so they had to make a movie about me. And I dreamed about what that movie would be like. So there was a lot of dreaming going on when I first started writing songs in Winnipeg. And starting bands and getting fired from bands and kicking guys out of my bands, and getting ripped off by various bars and getting backstabbed by supposedly my friends. So a lot of stuff happens when you’re in a band, a lot of things happen in life. But when you’re in a band, it’s more of a drama magnet than anything else. Continue reading Are There Any Trailblazers in Toronto?

Who’s from Toronto at the Toronto Jazz Fest 2012?

I made this video with ERIC ST. LAURENT last year. I found him listed as a performer at the Toronto Jazz Festival. I scrolled through the list trying to find more names i recognized. Unfortunately, the Jazz Fest site doesn’t show where the performers are from, so i picked out a few that i recognize from Toronto, and here they are below. Support local music and go see them during the Jazz Fest. Many shows are free!

6/23 SEAN PINCHIN,1:00pm, Dominion On Queen
6/23 SHUGGA,10:00pm, Joe Mama’s
6/26 MARGOT ROI JAZZ BAND, 5:00pm, Gate 403
6/30 ERIC ST. LAURENT TRIO, 6:00pm, Distillery District – Pure Spirits Patio
7/1 RONNIE HAYWARD’s Birthday Jam, 1:00am, Dominion On Queen
7/1 LEMON BUCKET ORKESTRA, 3:00pm, Shops at Don Mills