By Tonte Spiff
The music scene in Toronto is always buzzing, and there are many live performances to check out almost all the time. Here are some of the best venues for live music to check out in Toronto, if you haven’t already.
REBEL Entertainment Complex
REBEL Entertainment Complex, formerly known as Sound Academy, has always drawn excellent musical acts including the likes of The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa, and Miguel.
Since reopening in October 2016 after a yearlong ($10 million), major renovation, the venue feels like a rather luxurious entertainment space. As INK Entertainment CEO Charles Khabouth says, “REBEL is a truly distinctive and transformative nightlife destination, offering guests access into the extraordinary, the unique and the unparalleled.”
The venue fosters artists’ creativity in terms of the visual aspect of their performance, as REBEL features a 65-foot wide stage with excellent lighting instruments. Taking the trip to Polson Pier for a show at REBEL is definitely suggested, especially now that the venue features a grand terrace with a breathtaking view of Toronto’s skyline.
The Phoenix Concert Theatre
Located in Cabbagetown, The Phoenix Concert Theatre is split up into three distinct environments within the venue. First, is The Main Room which features one of the Toronto’s largest dance floors with excellent sound and lighting for live performances. Second, is The Balcony, which overlooks The Main Room, featuring lounge seating for over 100 guests and custom artwork. Lastly, is The Parlour which is a smaller area that connects the entrance to The Main Room, but it features its own separate sound system, dancefloor, lighting system, and lounge seating.
The Opera House
The Opera House is a rather unique and intimate venue compared to most, and still holds all the charm of its original 1900’s vaudeville theatre architecture. Even with its small size and intimate setting, The Opera House still features a balcony with spectacular views. Don’t let the mystique of the venue’s interior, especially the archway running the edge of the stage, fool you because it features all modern sound and lighting equipment to compliment any type of musical performance. A number of A-List hip-hop artists have performed at the venue over the years including Eminem, Talib Kweli, A$AP Rocky, and Raekwon.
The Danforth Music Hall
The Danforth Music Hall is one of Toronto’s oldest live music venues, as it turned 100 years old this past August. The venue was originally constructed as a movie theatre first known as Allen’s Danforth. It was during the late 1970’s when the theatre gained the name the Music Hall, when it started hosting live acts. It was not until 2011 when the venue was renamed The Danforth Music Hall, and since then has hosted a number of acts, including Daniel Caesar’s five-night run of sold out shows in December 2017.
The Drake Underground has seen its fair share of epic acts grace its stage. Despite the increasing number of small venues that have been closing down throughout Toronto, the Drake Underground has persisted as one of the most accessible spaces for both local, as well as International DJs and musicians of every genre.
With over 200 artists gracing the stage every year, the Drake Underground aims to connect diverse audiences to new trends in the music industry and to Toronto's vibrant culture.
As a city that holds concerts often, you should definitely check out these five venues for a different experience every time.