Demo’s Returning Staff Share Their Favourite Part Of Toronto’s Music Scene

Whether you’re a first-year new to the city or a returning student looking to further explore Toronto’s music offerings, Demo wants to make you aware of what is going on. As you enjoy frosh week and the first week of classes, we’ll be telling you about exciting music opportunities on campus and off.

Here at Demo, we are looking forward to reporting on music at U of T and in Toronto throughout the year, but to start, we asked each returning staff member to share one part of Toronto’s music scene that everyone should know about.

emilyEmily Scherzinger, co-Editor-in-Chief, 3rd year

The Dakota Tavern, a famous bar in Toronto’s hip west end, holds a Bluegrass Brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 11am until 3pm. The catchy, foot-stomping music from a live band flows like the maple syrup on your pancakes while you watch kids that are finished their meals dance in front of the stage. And, the best part of it all to any hungry student is that it is cheap – clocking in at $15 per person, the Dakota’s Bluegrass Brunch is worth your while.

elenaElena Gritzan, co-Editor-in-Chief, 4th year

Toronto has an incredible amount of concerts going on every night of the week, but it can sometimes be hard to stay aware of all that’s out there. That’s where Show Gopher comes in! Featuring a grid-style outline of every event by venue, you can listen to the song previews of each band to decide where you should spend your musical dollar. It’s a truly indispensable resource, great for both knowing when your favourite bands are performing and for discovering new acts you might want to venture out to hear.

erikErik Masson, Contributor, 4th year

My recommended spot to hit is the Central. It has always treated me well with cheap beer and great talent. My understanding is that they have stand up comedy open mic nights Mondays and Tuesdays, and they have bands playing all the time. Check it out for a cheap drink, a laugh, and a song. If you want a more definitive schedule, hit their website!

mariaMaria Sokulsky-Dolnycky, Contributor, 4th year

Among the plethora of music venues scattered around Toronto lies a little hidden gem called Tranzac Club. Tucked away on Brunswick Avenue, in the Annex, this unassuming storefront is home to a cornucopia of different events, such as Bluegrass Thursdays, Open Mic/Jam Nights, and various Indie showcases throughout the year. As the venue boasts several different rooms which often host events simultaneously, one doesn’t have to travel far to potentially catch a few different shows in one night. The drink prices aren’t the most student-friendly, but luckily the space is just steps away from affordable watering holes like The Green Room, The L.A.B. and Future Bakery & Café.

sianSian Last, Contributor, 2nd year

The Rex is iconic.  For 40 years, located on Queen St. W., the venue has been the best place to see jazz and blues music in Toronto.  Though On Saturday nights, a crowd comprised of aschizoid mish-mash of people assembles:  baby-boomers in old t-shirts, 20-somethings in flannels and oversized glasses, and young professionals dropping in all dressed up after dinner at Nota Bene all convene, squish, squirm, and dance to see the acts at the Rex.

At the Rex, what matters is the music. If you want to feel modern and trendy, look sophisticated, and dine like a king, the Rex is not for you.  On the other hand, if you just want to hear some great music—you’re welcome.

MarkoMarko Cindric, Contributor, 2nd year

Perhaps one of my favourite things about Little Italy’s Soundscapes record store is that it’s small enough to possess a unique coziness, but big enough to have everything you’re looking for. Not only do they have a massive collection of CDs and vinyl to choose from, but they’re also a great resource for picking up show tickets (and dodging shady TicketMaster fees). Their regular in-store performances provide an otherwise unlikely degree of intimacy for bands as popular as Broken Social Scene, and their staff are more than willing to help you find the record you want, or at the very least spend a few minutes talking music—that is, until the store closes at the youthful hour of 11:00 PM. If you’re new to the indie record store game, on a sonic pilgrimage of your own, or just want a close-to-campus solution, Soundscapes is the place for you.

aviva picAviva Lev-Aviv, Contributor, 2nd year

Shows, parties, film screenings, art exhibits, and conference sessions – somehow, NXNE manages to pack them all in to 7 crazy days and nights. The festival takes place mid-June and offers a giant lineup of artists (2013 had 1000 bands!), an interactive conference, a film festival, sponsored parties, free shows at Yonge and Dundas Square, art showcases, and tons more.  NXNE is the perfect way to discover new bands, listen to some local favorites, and to kick your summer off right. The fest is unique in that it provides awesome options for music fans of every age, budget and schedule. There’s no wrong way to experience NXNE’s Toronto takeover, but make sure to bring your comfiest shoes, your favorite caffeine fix, and a sense of adventure. June 2014 may seem far away, but keep checking for news, contests and artist submissions!

Interested in joining us and contributing to Demo? Send us an e-mail at

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