You can't see (all four) Beatles or Bob Marley any more, but fear not, Toronto: you've got lots of chances for the next best thing
We can’t offer any reason as to why so many tribute acts are playing Toronto this week, but we’re not complaining. Especially because musicians are picking cooler and cooler acts to pay homage to. In other words, this is no classic rock bar band bro-fest.
Cameron Ingles of the Disraelis and Optical Sounds delivers an encore performance tonight (Thursday, February 6) of Joy Division’s final concert in 1980, released as a live album in 2007. He and a full band will tackle the material, which he did for the first time in 2008 to glowing reviews. Velvet Underground (510 Queen West), doors 9 pm. $5.
Oldies 990 play 50s and 60s hits, but they’re hardly your average wedding band (though they have been known to play nuptials). Members include Peter Elkas, Ben Gunning and Ryan Myshrall, also known for their solo projects and as 90s prog-pop band the Local Rabbits. Joseph Shabason (DIANA) adds sax, and Gavin Maguire sweet beats. Their three sets Friday (February 7) at the Gladstone (1214 Queen West) are sure to be a fun, sweaty good time. Bonus: DJ set by Sloan’s Jay Ferguson to follow. 9:30 pm. $10.
When Fleetwood Mac came to town last April, Dwayne Gretzky played a show that same night as an FM cover band, perfect for fans who couldn’t afford the real thing. In October, they gave us Dwayne’s Dworld, a set of songs from the early 90s comedy of almost the same name. For their Friday (February 7) show at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), the eight-piece band celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show with a set of Fab Four tunes. 9 pm. $10.
Also on Friday, Seven44 (744 Mt Pleasant) has the Def Leppard tribute band Rock of Ages at 9:30 pm, while Hugh’s Room (2261 Dundas West) hosts a tribute to Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, featuring Pat Rush, Jesse Whiteley, Chris Antonik, Dylan Wickens and others. 8:30 pm. $25-$27.50.
The fun continues Saturday (February 8) when Pixies tribute act Come on Pilgrim take over the Central (603 Markham) at 10 pm ($5), and Practically Petty – a Tom Petty cover band – play Linsmore Tavern (1298 Danforth) at 9:30 pm. $5-$10.
Saturday also sees birthday celebrations (replete with musical tributes) to Bob Marley and Stompin’ Tom. Marley heads will congregate at Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor West, $10-$15) for House of David Gang, Messenjah, Meccacity Sound and others. Across town at Eton House (710 Danforth, $25-$30), Melanie Doane, Whiskey Jack, Mickey Andrews and many others honour the East Coast folk legend. Both events also help food banks, so be sure to bring a non-perishable food item.
Last but not least, the intriguingly named Bon Jovi Family Singers play the Horseshoe on Tuesday (February 11). But they don’t actually perform Bon Jovi songs. Nor are they a “they.” Just one guy who goes by “Blind Lemon Bon Jovi.” So who knows what you might hear. Bonus: it’s free.
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