Spring has sprung. Get ready for our top concerts in Toronto May 2016. With it comes t-shirt weather, patio drinks, can’t-miss shows and the early days of festival season. We’ve done our research at Mighty and broken down our top concerts in Toronto May 2016. We were busy during Canadian Music Week so we’re a little late. Without further ado, lets dig in!
May 10, Floating Points at the Mod Club
Definitely the most interesting and off-the-board choice in this monthly feature, Floating Points is the moniker of Manchester, England-born Sam Shepherd, whom is also a neuroscientist in addition to being an electronic musician.
Do NOT disregard this artist or show due to the mention of ‘electronic music’, as Floating Points incorporates beautiful ambient layering, deep house bass grooves and – to my personal pleasure, technically sound jazz drumming to keep it all together. Shepherd’s debut album as Floating Points, Elaenia (released late 2015) featured album artwork he created with fibre-optic cables, not to mention rave reviews for the actual music contained on the debut from well-reputed music blogs and critical platforms (85/100 Metacritic aggregate score, featured on numerous year-end Best-of-2015 lists). Normally I don’t find myself attending electronic concerts, save for when at a festival or for a few personal standouts such as Jon Hopkins (whom is a strong comparable to Floating Points), Jamie XX or Four Tet, but I would be quite intrigued to see how Shepherd performs Elaenia in a live atmosphere. I’m confident that we can give him the benefit of the doubt, seeing as he’s clearly a brilliant musician and visual artist on top of being a neuroscientist by day.
When: Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 8:00 PM
Where: 722 College Street, Toronto, ON
Buy Tickets: SOLD OUT, Remaining tickets at Rotate This & Soundscapes
May 24-28, Wolf Parade at Lee’s Palace
‘Wolf Parade Week’ in Toronto is a two-fold can’t miss event. I say its two-fold because – well for starters, you’re obviously not going to want to miss these Canadian indie legends, and additionally because they’re literally playing 5 nights in a row at Lee’s Palace. You couldn’t miss all 5 shows if you tried – though tickets will still be difficult to come by since these Montreal-via-British-Columbia dudes have been on hiatus for the last 5 years!
I have to admit, Wolf Parade have been all around me in one form or another for the last 5 years, but I didn’t dive head-first into their discography with a concerted effort until I discovered the indie ‘super-group’ Divine Fits, who feature Wolf Parade’s own Dan Boeckner. As you can probably imagine from the previous statement, I have been a huge Spoon fan since I started listening to good music. Since I believe that anything Britt Daniel has a hand in will be worth the listen, I gave their lone album, A Thing Called Divine Fits, a solid listen and shortly thereafter found a legitimate reason to dive into Wolf Parade’s discography, which was a truly pleasant surprise! They’re sound is not so different from earlier, raw Modest Mouse, and I would be enthused to hear how they’ve changed up the live sound since returning from a 5 year absence.
When: Tuesday-Saturday, May 24-28, 2016, 8:00 PM
Where: 529 Bloor Street W, Toronto, ON
Buy Tickets: SOLD OUT
May 29, Bloc Party at the Phoenix
Most consider Bloc Party to be a band well past their creative peak. Though I would generally agree with the sentiment, one has to admit that it’s difficult to live up to the hype that follows a cataclysmically epic debut album, as 2005’s Silent Alarm was.
I’ll always argue for their sophomore release in 2007’s A Weekend in the City as a criminally underrated follow-up that was overshadowed by the debut album, but I definitely began to lose interest with the path they chose towards electronic music on 2008’s Intimacy; a path that I feel stepped on the toes of former drummer Matt Tong’s capabilities. My disappointment with Intimacy, combined with the 4 year break between then and 2012’s Four resulted in a lost connection with Bloc Party. I have yet to give their newest album, 2016’s Hymns, a solid listen, though I’m already confident that I will long for the void left in Matt Tong’s absence.
All of the above being said, I was lucky enough to stumble across a Bloc Party concert on two separate occasions – at Osheaga 2012 and Field Trip 2013. Obviously, both of these shows were quite a while after I had moved on from the band, yet both provided a nostalgic punch in the gut and a ridiculously entertaining, upbeat performance. I did not expect that seeing Bloc Party in the pouring rain at the Green Stage would be my fondest memory of Osheaga 2012, yet here we are. That performance resulted in myself making a point of seeing them at Field Trip 2013 the next summer, and they once again did not disappoint!
All in all, just because a band may be past their creative peak in one fan’s opinion, it doesn’t mean that they’ve lost their uncanny ability to throw a banger of a performance while mixing in a few oldies on the way. This show would certainly be worth the price of admission on both the fun and nostalgic scale.
When: Sunday, May 29, 2016, 8:00 PM
Where: 410 Sherbourne Street, Toronto, ON
Buy Tickets: SOLD OUT
May 30, Courtney Barnett at the Danforth Music Hall
Probably the hottest ticket in town this month, and a great way to cap off May. Hard to come by a better way to welcome the warm weather than with an Australian rock trio featuring surf-rock toned Fender Jaguar riffs and an overall summertime vibe. Courtney Barnett burst onto the scene around this time last year with the release of her debut full-length album, the satirically titled Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.
At first glance, one might consider such a ridiculous album title as a nonchalant and, downright careless decision by Courtney Barnett – but it would be prudent to make such an observation without listening to the album in its entirety. Barnett’s melodramatic lyrics constantly dabble with ‘first world problems’ that modern society’s 20-somethings demographic can certainly relate all too well with. Whether it’s a chorus hook stating that ‘I want to go out, but I want to stay home’, or begging a conversation partner ‘Don’t stop listening, I’m not finished yet’, I’m confident as a 24-year-old that I’m not the only listener who can completely relate to Barnett’s lyrical sentiments.
Barnett’s lyrics are certainly contemporary and relatable, but it would be improper to omit the musicianship of Courtney Barnett and her band. Barnett is a lefty shredder, with the full Fender arsenal at her disposal (Jaguar, Telecaster, Stratocaster), with nice touches of crunch, overdrive and muff to give her shredding a lovely hint of garage / low-fi sound. It suits the upbeat nature of the majority of her songs, with loose but powerful drumming from Dave Mudie to hold it all together. The blend of Barnett’s lyrics and the always-fresh garage rock sound shows off an obvious comparison to Weezer, whom I would bet is one of Barnett’s key inspirations. Her debut album also has an eerily similar feel to Best Coast’s debut album, 2010’s Crazy For You, yet with an Aussie sunburst version of garage rock, instead of the breezy Cali garage rock feel offered from Bethany Cosentino and company. I like to believe that Courtney Barnett’s sound encapsulates young-adult Australian society in the same manner that Best Coast’s sound does just that with 20-something’s across California. Regardless, Barnett and company should host an absolute banger of a party (and show) when they play at the Danforth Music Hall.
When: Monday, May 30, 2016, 8:00 PM
Where: 147 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON
Buy Tickets: SOLD OUT