Events in Toronto
Here’s our little page of concert and art show listings for the Toronto area. If you want only show music or art related events, filter using the categories at the top of the calendar. Dark grey is music and green is art.
If you want your live show, DJ, art show, book release, or film launch listed on Gig It, send us an email. Reminder: We only list Toronto based shows.
All ages show.
The club lights are low. The dance floor is a sweaty blur of shadows. You can feel the blood and adrenaline surging through the crowd. There’s a band on-stage and they are telepathically connected to the audience—making bodies bounce like it was a feat of mind control. This is Moving Units and this is their natural element: unadulterated grooves and constant motion.
The most difficult task for a scorching live band is replicating that energy in the studio. And on their third LP, Neurotic Exotic, Moving Units succeed with the same acrobatic agility, flamboyance, and dark erotic imagery they’ve channeled since their inception.
The tone is set from the title of the first song: Attack Everything. There is no time to hesitate and nothing is left behind. It is a 40-minute blitzkrieg of searing sexy guitar riffs, propulsive synthesizer riffs, and urgent drums fit to detonate any dance floor.
Think a long-lost album of Italo-disco covers of Sonic Youth songs and you begin to get close.
It’s about that universal experience and adventure of being young and free to ramble, ” says Blake Miller, founder of Moving Units. “It attempts to capture the same feeling you get whether you’re exploring the city with your friends or road tripping across the country. And of course, it still brings the sleazy sweaty live dance party feel that Moving Units was founded on. ”
Moving Units have bottled this since their 2002 EP debut. When Blake Miller first started writing demos and recruiting band mates to help expand his vision, the idea of fusing dance music and indie rock was practically alien. Alongside groups like Franz Ferdinand, The Killer, and Bloc Party, Moving Units were at the vanguard of bringing body-rocking grooves to scythe-edged rock and roll.
“Back then, no one danced at shows in LA. There were always industry people trying to play it cool,” Miller says.” We wanted to shake things up and make people dance.”
Tastes have changed. Members have joined and left the band. And this is the first Moving Units full-length in six years. But the locomotion inspired by their music remains immutable. Credit the ease with which Miller has merged into contemporary dance culture. A DJ himself, Miller’s remixes with Steve Aoki have earned tens of thousands of spins worldwide.
Who is Viktor Fiction? This is a very good question and one on the minds of many encountering this new captivating music entity hailing from East LA… Viktor Fiction mysteriously fell to earth late last century and took the form of a human infant boy named Dave Trumfio (seasoned recording and production impresario known for work with the likes of Pulsars, The Jesus & Mary Chain , The Rentals , Built To Spill, Mekons, Sia, Soviet, Ok Go, Grandaddy, Wilco, Rooney and many more).
Dave knew from a early age he had something inhabiting his being and couldn’t get a handle on what it was. Through his early life he couldn’t escape the urge to twitch and contort when he heard electrified music. It drove him to a life of undying devotion to all things electric and knew he’d make electric music his life from a very early age… FLASH FORWARD to early 2014 when the uncontrollable urge to create new music took control after a extremely vivid dream encounter with a menacing light force calling itself Viktor Fiction. Vik explained he’s been inside him since birth and that he’s pissed Dave hasn’t followed his subconscious commands in recent years as he’s done in the past. Vik then said he’d torment him endlessly until Trumfio obey his wishes!
Dave wisely opted to not be tormented by the overbearing force and banded together with long time studio production partner Celso A. Estrada (Islands, The Rentals, Beat Club, White Dove) and session drummer Michael Sanger (JUAREZ, Dead Western Plains, These Machines Are Winning) to form the appropriately named Viktor Fiction… Early rehearsals revealed a sound none of them could have imagined fusing the best of their mutual post punk new wave influences and the now sounds of today.
In early May 2015, as numerous offers of live performance opportunities began to emerge, they came to the realization they needed a dedicated synthesist in the fold. It took Dave two seconds to suggest long time friend, synthesizer wrangler and film composer Keith Le Rouge of Electro Clash darlings Soviet. With this final piece of the puzzle in place, Viktor Fiction is now set to emblaze stages, airwaves and inter webs with their infectious Post EDM fueled sound bursts!
While Soviet is now entirely solo, Ruggiero initially converged with college comrade, Christopher Otchy. Their first album We Are Eyes, We Are Builders fused human emotions with embellished melodies, luscious synths, and austere beats. Soviet took a swing at the most sparkling, pure remnants of the 80’s and made them their own. Eventually Soviet grew to five, adding guitarist Kenan Gunduz, bassist Greg Kochan and keyboardist Amanda Lynn. Through dozens of passionate, successful shows around NYC and several nationwide tours, Soviet built themselves a fiercely devoted fanbase. After years of hard work, amiability, and good songs, Soviet would finally ride this vehicle to acclaim, only to be burned out by its simultaneous injuries.
After Ruggiero’s restorative break from the music industry’s grind, Soviet is primed to both find favor with old fans and to win over new ones. With its wealth of earnest emotions and assemblage of catchy melodies,like a gem waiting to be re-discovered.
Tickets are also available at Soundscapes and Rotate This.
Advance tickets also available at The Horseshoe front bar, Rotate This & Soundscapes
Rusty was formed from the ashes of One Free Fall. That band’s bassist Jim Moore (ex-Misery Goat’s drummer), drummer Bob Vespaziani and fellow singer Ken MacNeil continued rehearsing together in Toronto’s Kensington Market area. After teaming with ex-Doughboys member Scott McCullough — Rusty was born. When it was clear they were going to be signed to Atlantic records in the U.S. Vespaziani was unable to carry on with the band and he was replaced by Mitch Perkins. They soon released a an eponymous 5 song E.P. which was recorded in a single day. The EP did well on the indie and college charts.
The band’s debut album, cleverly titled ‘Fluke’, found the Handsome Boy – TAG (US label) release distributed by BMG in Canada and through Atlantic Records in the States.. On the heels of the album’s first single, “Misogyny”, gay porn filmmaker Bruce La Bruce liked the song so much he used it in his film ‘Hustler White’. The result of that association led to a Much Music award-winning video for the song (a collage of scenes from the movie) and pushing ‘Fluke’ to gold status in Canada.
The disc sold just a hair short of Gold Status in Canada, reaching the modern rock Top 40 in the U.S., and yielded four radio hits — “Wake Me”, “Groovy Dead”, “Misogyny”, and “California”. It also earned them a Juno nomination for ‘Best Alternative Album’; losing to Art Bergman (Jim Moore played bass on some of Art’s album).
Their follow-up album was titled ‘Sophomoric’, and was produced by GGGarth Richardson (Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, L7). The first single, “Empty Cell”, featured the return of Bruce La Bruce — this time as the video’s director.
In 1996, during the recording of “Let’s Break Robert Out Of Jail” for the soundtrack of Bruce MacDonald’s movie ‘Hard Core Logo’, the band began experimenting with 1960’s and 1970’s garage styles. This style mutation resulted in the 1998 album ‘Out Of Their Heads’ featuring Rusty originals plus covers of the Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning” and The Kinks’ “Till The End Of The Day” produced produced by Matt DeMatteo (Big Wreck, Brass Bikini, Ashley MacIsaac). It would also be the full-length debut for new drummer John Lalley who joined the band in 1997 to record their Christmas song “It’s Christmas Time (And I’m Poor
The band subsequently broke up, playing their final show on November 25, 2000.
In the summer of 2011 the band reunited for two shows at the NXNE festival in Toronto, sharing the stage with Descendants, Fucked Up and Metz at Dundas Square and another sold out club show at The El Mocambo…the first venue the band played at back back in 1994.
In 2012 the band did the “It’s Christmastime and I’m Poor” tour of Southern Ontario. Weakerthans bassist John Sutton was recuited to replace Jim Moore (who now resides in the U.K.) and original drummer Bob Vespaziani replaced John Lalley (who was out of the country as well). That mini tour culminated in a sold old Horseshoe Tavern show on Dec 28.
This December (2013) finds the band back on the road again for a series of shows in Sudbury, London and Cambridge…culminating in a two night stint back at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on Dec 28’th and 29’th. Next year will be the 20’th anniversary of the band and it will begin with shows in Ottawa and Montreal on Feb 14’th and 15’th. A new record is also planned as well a longer summer touring schedule.
Tickets also available at Soundscapes and Rotate This.