Music in the Streets – The August Edition

Lucky for you, the live music scene in Toronto doesn’t take the dog days of summer off.

And while this isn’t everything that’s happening this month, it should provide enough distraction to carry you to that time of year when concert-goings are displaced by Oscar whispers, galas, and celeb-spotting.

But hey, if you can’t wait until TIFF to bust out your tux, you’re in luck anyway.


Ok, you don’t know Mike Levy, aka Gesaffelstein, or his music (but for ladies and men who prefer men, damn, do you ever wish you did). However, you do know Kanye’s “Black Skinhead” and “Send It Up,” both of which display more of Levy’s influence than the other producers who worked on those tracks. This guy makes brutally intense, beat-driven techno bangers (positive connotation on the word “techno” in this case). We’re talking about a night of layers and builds where, when the drop hits, you won’t know whether to jump up and down or run for your life. Totally your choice, man. We’re not here to judge.

The Hoxton. August 1. $30. 19+

Strand of Oaks

“I was writing in the basement/Buying Casios with my friends/Then I found my dad’s old tape machine/That’s where the magic began…”

And indeed it did. But we aren’t the only ones leading with a verse from Strand of Oaks’ fourth proper full length, HEAL. It’s just that kind of album: one where the stories are as effusive and infectious as the arrangements themselves. Emotional folk rock – but be careful, we didn’t say “emo” – with a vintage feel that hits home in all the right places. And the Drake Underground is just small enough to provide the setting for a very special August evening.

Drake Underground. August 11. $12.50. 19+

Mad Decent Bloc Party

While the enduring journey towards musical ubiquity may be Diplo’s raison d’etre (for better or worse), he might certainly forgive those hipster dipsters who recognize him as the guy running that rad label with the travelling twerk festival. So if “hipster dipster” fits your profile, you’re in luck, because Diplo’s rolling his particular brand of three-ring dance antics into Fort York for the annual Mad Decent Block Party (minus the Brownstones and stoops, of course). While the roster’s full of acts some girl with green hair, “long-butt” cut-offs, and floral print can’t wait to see, we’re giving this shout-out proper for our main man, Chance the Rapper. He’s the guiltiest pleasure we’ll admit to, and he’s here headlining a list that includes the label’s field general himself, Diplo, as well as Flosstradamus and hometown DJ heroes, Zeds Dead. Head down and tell Chance we love him.

Fort York & Garrison Common. August 15. $55. 16+ 

Seriously, You Don’t Already Know? Part 1 – OVO Fest

Of course, we’d love to tell you all about the fifth installment of OVO Fest, Drake’s annual concert/mini-festival which takes place at the Molson Amphitheatre once more this year; but to be totally honest, other than the actual dates, what we’ve just written is pretty much all we know (OK, Outkast is also for sure). Famous and perhaps most impressive for its best-kept surprise line-ups of insane pop, RnB, and hip-hop heavyweights – which quite frankly causes one to wonder what Drake ever did to earn such industry respect? – we can only assure you that, if you have a ticket, you’re going to see someone you can’t believe you saw. And who doesn’t love concerts at the Amphitheatre on warm summer nights? Ok, fine, tell Drake we love him, too.

Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. August 3-4. $65-$175.

Seriously, You Don’t Already Know? Part 2 Arcade Fire

Ummm, Arcade Fire. Need we say more? Yeah, that band that only makes amazing and wins everything. AND, Win Butler can beat actual Raptors at basketball. Some guys have all the luck.  We’d tell you to head down and tell Arcade Fire we love them, too, but they already know.

Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. August 29. $30-$70.

Stayin’ Alive at Your Day Job: Newer Music That Unfortunately Isn’t in the Streets This Month

The Record: Spoon They Want My Soul (official release: August 5th)
The Sound: We don’t care that we’ve only heard three official track releases and a couple of late night talk show performances. We don’t care that it’s been seven years since a Spoon album we could really get behind (sorry, Transference). When Spoon says “new album” we say, “Yes, I’m single” while slipping our wedding rings into our pockets. The kings of Austin are back, and if the pieces they’ve offered are any indication, there’s a new album joining More Than Any Other Day and Familiars at the top of 2014. It’s good to be alive. 


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