Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto. I try to list as many shows here as I know about, though with a preference for listing those happening at venues I especially like, or featuring performers I know something about. This list is thus not comprehensive. In addition, I rarely list shows that cost $10 or more. If I'm missing something or you have any comments, please do let me know.
Here we go again.
A note on times: The times I've indicated below usually mean "door" time. So, you can start going at the time indicated, but the music doesn't usually get started for another 45 minutes or more. Go early and start drinking in preparation for dancing up a storm, or show up later hoping to catch the first strums of the opening act.
I've seen some great shows in the past few months. Good music, cool venues, friendly bookers and promoters, musicians happy to chat between sets, the occasional free CD, and more . . . what else could one ask for? Let me know if you want to join me for anything. We'll have a fun time. As much as I love school and all things having to do with it, it's great to meet and hang out with people who have nothing to do with U of T, or at least nothing to do with anything I have to do with at U of T. It clears my head.
If you want to check something out but aren't sure about how you'll like the scene, good places to start are the No Shame shows at Tiger Bar on Thursday nights and the Sunday night Wavelength shows at Sneaky Dee's. No Shame especially has a constantly good lineup scheduled, and the crowd is usually pretty decent too. Wavelength can be hit and miss depending on your music tastes, but Dee's (or Sneaks) is an excellent place to hear live music. There aren't usually tons of people, so you can take things in without feeling claustrophobic. Drinks are relatively inexpensive at both places, and excellent late-night pizza (Massimo's) is close by!
Here's this week's lineup of cheap indie (mostly) music:
MONDAY (12 nov)
Shoeless Monday featuring Andy Butler @ 12:00, Punger @ 11:10, Night Life @ 10:20, and Wildbirds (Fox Valley, WI) @ 9:30. The Horsehoe Tavern, free.
TUESDAY (13 nov)
The Edge 102.1 Dave Bookman’s Nu Music Nite featuring The Balance @ 12:00, The Amber Room @ 11:10, Hello Beautiful @ 10:20, and Prize Fighter @ 9:30. The Horseshoe Tavern, free.
Pitter Patter Nights presents Jewelry Rat w/ Bicyclette, and The Miles @ the Boat, 9pm, $5.
WEDNESDAY (14 nov)
Ummm... nothing particularly indie that I can see. Check the Zoilus gig guide for non-indie options. There's a jazz-improv festival happening at Tranzac, if you're into that sort of thing. It starts Tuesday and runs through Friday.
THURSDAY (15 nov)
TONS, TONS, TONS to do. Here are my top 4 picks, in order of what they'll cost you, followed by the rest of what's on in no particular order.
* Born Ruffians @ Hart House (Arbor Room), 9pm, free.
* No Shame presents The Mission District (Montreal), The I Spies, and Love Kills @ The Tiger Bar, 9pm $5.
* Clipd Beaks (San Francisco), Hot Friends (debut), and The Deathset (Baltimore) @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $6.
* Fox Jaws w/ Oh No Forest Fires, and Foxfire Forest @ The Drake Underground, 9pm, $7. Foxfire Forest is taking a bit of a break after this show, I believe. So if you've been meaning to check them out, you should go to this. They are a lot of fun. ONFF is a newish Toronto band that plays intricate indie rock music. They will put on a good show. (They are on my "bands to go see when I can" list.) The Drake Underground is a nice venue, though it will require streetcar'ing it out to west Queen West.
If none of the above appeal to you, then there's still more to do for seven bucks or less:
Constant Crush presents War Child Benefit show at Supermarket, featuring Shortwave, OPOPO, Brigitte, and DJ Nut Notch, 9pm, $7. All proceeds go to War Child Canada.
Hip-Hop Karaoke @ The Boat, 9pm (for signup, with 10pm start), $5. I got a taste of this on Sunday at Wavelength, and . . . what fun! If it's at all your thing, this should prove a blast.
Local Alternative at the Horseshoe Tavern featuring The Stormalongs @ 12:00, The Electric Tigers @ 11:10, Brane @ 10:20, and Sleep To Dream (Halifax) @ 9:30. $4.
Obviously Five Believers, The Salingers, and The Superstitions (Montreal) @ Mitzi's Siter, pwyc.
Local Punk featuring Dark Pearl @ 11:15, Jar @ 10:15, and Kansas City Shuffle @ 9:15, Lee’s Palace, $5.
FRIDAY (16 nov)
Like Thursday, there is just too much to do Friday. I've highlighted 2 shows, but I'd recommend the next two or three for sure also. The rest . . . well, it depends on what you like.
* Two Way Monologues presents Ten Kens, Five Blank Pages, and The Incidentals, playing their last show @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5. This will be a great show, and the range of indie styles---but with nothing too heavy---will appeal to lots of folks. FBP is one of the bands I go see when I can, and I've liked The Incidentals. Jesse's decided to go in a different musical direction, so this will be The Incidentals' last hurrah. I have yet to see Ten Kens, but hear good things.
* Steam Whistle Unsigned 4 presents The Carps, OPOPO, and The Bicycles @ The Roundhouse, Steam Whistle Brewery (255 Bremner Blvd.), 8pm, $5. Between sets Woodhands' members Dan Werb and Paul Banwatt will spin tunes. What fun! Great bands! Fabulous people! This should be a great show too, certainly more energetic than the TWM showcase. Someone else is excited about it, too. Hmm. Can't be two places at once, unfortunately.
LLIONS w/ Zeroes (Montreal) @ The Drake Underground, 8pm, $5. Wow... these guys are really going somewhere, I guess. Set times are 9pm for Zeroes and 10pm for LLIONS, who are lovely.
Easy Tiger presents One Heart Many Hands (EP release) + Easy Tiger DJs @ Tiger Bar, 10pm, $5. A popular indie dance night that's not totally my scene. Could be yours, though.
Etaoin Shrdlu, Place Hands, Sleeping Pilot @ Teranga, 9:30, $6.
The Nymphets (Montreal), Shitt Hottt, Teenanger, DCT @ Babydolls (227A Ossington just south of Dundas), $5. Yes, this is a strip club. No, there won't be stripping at this show.
"Very Special Secret Dance-worthy Act"---I know who it is; I'm not allowed to tell you---w/ Entire Cities, Andre Charles Therault, Owl Eyes, and the slam poetry of Spencer Butt @ Tranzac (main hall), 7pm, $6. Also raffles and art for sale. This is "a fundraiser on behalf of the Photo Thesis students at OCAD."
Intransit w/ Isle of Thieves @ the Boat, 9pm, $5.
Supernal and All the Brightness @ The Bovine Sex Club, 9pm, $5. If harder stuff is what you're into, check out more show listings at the Bovine here. It's not really my scene---although I am going to a show there next Saturday. Who knows, maybe I'll love it!
Steal the Days, The Corporation, Johnny Exxtasy, Mark St. Aubin @ Smiling Buddha (961 College, just west of Dovercourt), free. This is a small bar. I've never been but maybe I'll check it out one day if I happen to be in the area.
Fuck Faces presents DJs Passions AKA Mathead, Dirty 30, and Nasty Nav @ Sneaky Dee's, 10pm, $5.
SATURDAY (17 nov)
* No Shame presents Plants & Animals, Forest City Lovers, Great Bloomers @ The Drake Underground, 7:30pm, $5. Once you've sampled this, head on over to College and Bathurst for . . .
** Woodhands w/ Garbage! Violence! Enthusiasm!, and Magic Jordan (Kingston) @ Sneaky Dee’s, 9pm, $6. Yes! Yes! Yes! Finally a chance to see Woodhands perform a full-length set, and at one of my favourite venues. You can't keep me away. Oh, and these guys were recently rated no. 25 on a list of "hottest Canadian bands of 2007." So see them before they hit the big time.
Sandro Perri w/ Valery Gore and Melissa Boraski @ Tranzac, 10 pm, pwyc. Perri's got a new album out that's been generating some buzz.
Women Rockin For Charity presents Masia One @ 12:30, Priya Thomas @ 11:30, Tara Slone @ 10:30, and Melissa McClelland @ 9:30. The Horseshoe Tavern, $6. Not my thing, but the Horseshoe is a good place to see and hear live music.
Goin’ Steady @ the Boat, 10pm, $5.
SUNDAY (18 nov)
Wavelength 389, Williamson Playboys @ 12am, Alex Headley @ 11pm, Wee Golden @ 10pm, DJ Gawd Yes @ Sneaky Dee’s, pwyc.
Or, for something else completely different, there's this:
Trinket Trance presents Left Of Zero, Tripping Hazard, and My Flea Circus @ Tiger Bar, 9:30pm, pwyc.