It’s had many announcements, postponements, opening parties and small-scale virtual or soft launch concerts, but Toronto music venue the El Mocambo is finally throwing an official grand reopening. The event will happen on October 30 with a concert by Our Lady Peace.
This open-the-the-public show follows a small series of “mini pop-up concerts” in late September that featured Andre Pettipas and the Giants, Harm & Ease and the Box. There was also a virtual concert live from the historic Spadina venue, also announced as a reopening of sorts, in September of last year that featured Big Wreck.
The venue closed for renovations in 2014, and new owner Michael Wekerle (formerly of Dragon’s Den) has spent a reported $30 million on the venue which has been mostly closed to the public since then.
When we attended a walk-through of the venue prior to the pandemic, owner Michael Wekerle only vaguely knew what kind of shows would be there – he talked about big bands like Pearl Jam playing smaller shows after their main gig and reiterated his wish of a return concert by the Rolling Stones – but their sweet spot so far seems to be CanCon alt-rock and new wave bands from the 80s, 90s and 2000s.
Our Lady Peace definitely fits in that zone. The band’s next planned album is Spiritual Machines II, a sequel to their 2000 concept album that featured the Canadian rock radio staple In Repair.
“Growing up in Toronto it was impossible not to know how legendary the El Mocambo was,” Our Lady Peace singer Raine Maida says in a press release. “I always loved hearing from another person claiming to be at that infamous U2, Police or Rolling Stones gig when everyone knew there were only a handful of people actually there. Those famous neon palms are rock royalty and to be a part of the reopening, lighting up Toronto and playing under the palms again is an honour!”
The size of the concert was not disclosed, but indoor venues are currently allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity with seated tables distanced six feet from each other. The main second floor stage has a usual capacity of 400-500 people, so that would likely push this one under 200.
If you can grab a ticket to the intimate show, the El Mocambo is also offering a number of perks that include an NFT audio copy of the Spiritual Machines II album before its release and a vinyl release of this OLP El Mo concert.
Tickets are $TBA and go on sale Thursday, October 14 at Ticketmaster.
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