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The 10 longest running live music residencies in Toronto

Posted by Staff / July 12, 2014

Live music residencies TorontoToronto's longest running live music residencies seem at odds with an age of SnapChat and one day pop-up shops, but it's nice to know some things hang around for longer than a millisecond. Sure it's exciting when the next indieTM superstar rolls through town for one-night-only, but sometimes you crave the familiar or want to flex your hometown pride. From folk to funk and from rock to roots, Torontonians can take in weekly shows from artists who've been a fixture on the same stage for, in some cases, decades - pick your night of the week.

For those who like their steak aged, their shoes broken in, their wine perfectly cellar-ed, and their live music well-established, here are the Toronto's longest running live music residencies.

Happy Pals - Grossman's Tavern - Saturday 4-8pm
Just like their name suggests, The Happy Pals have been putting smiles on people's faces for over 40 years with jazz and blues on Saturday afternoons at Grossman's Tavern. A little big band with a big, big heart provides the perfect reason to get out of the house on the weekend - and all ages are welcome.

Michael Louis Johnson & the Red Rhythm - Communist's Daughter - Saturday 4-7pm
As you step into the Communist's Daughter on a Saturday afternoon you wonder if you've stepped into the middle of a musical in which the bartender is the main character and the audience is part of the show. Your congenial and engaging host is Michael Louis Johnson who has been singing, blowing a horn all the while slinging drinks behind the bar every Saturday for ten years at this charming hole in the wall.

John Borra & Screamin' Sam - Communist's Daughter - Sunday 5pm
A Sunday staple, John and Sam have been serving up old country and folk for the devoted and delighted for nine years. It's like church without the church part. Audiences love John's plaintive croon and are intrigued by what homemade percussion gadget Sam will play next.

Tyler Yarema & His Rhythm - Reservoir Lounge - Tues & Sat 9pm
It's been 17 years since Tyler Yarema first brought his blend of swing, jive and boogie-woogie to the venerated underground haunt of the Reservoir Lounge. He plays Tuesday and Saturday nights much to the thrill of those wanting to test their Charleston on the dance floor.

Run with the Kittens - Cameron House - 1st Tuesday of the month 10pm
At their recent 10 year anniversary of playing at the Cameron House, Run with the Kittens played 10 full sets of weird and wonderful music in one night. Marathons aside, these guys know how to get a crowd going with incredible musicianship and the antics of inimitable front man, Nate Mills.

Spy vs. Sly vs. Spy - Reposado - Wednesday 10pm
Ever had a craving for an instrumental jazz version of the theme to the TV show Taxi chased by a rare premium tequila? Look no further than Wednesday nights at Resposado when the trio of Spy vs. Sly vs. Spy dismantle jazz standards and popular hits like they've been doing it for six years (they have).

LMT Connection - Orbit Room - Wednesdays 10:30pm
This band has been laying down the soul and funk on Wednesday nights at the Orbit Room since 1998. Just try to stay in your seat when singer Leroy Emmanuel gets the groove going - he toured and recorded with Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, and the Funk Brothers, in case you needed another excuse to check them out.

High Lonesome Wednesdays featuring Crazy Strings - Silver Dollar - Wednesday 10pm
For the past 15 years, the best bet for mind-blowing bluegrass on a Wednesday night has been found at the Silver Dollar care of the Foggy Hogtown Boys and their sty of special guests. An eclectic crowd swarms in every week - it's a guaranteed good time.

Corin Raymond - Cameron House - Thursday 6-8pm
Part troubadour, part storyteller, part Canadian Folk Song proselytizer, Corin Raymond has held down his matinee spot at the Cameron House for nine years. Raymond's giddy energy is infectious and his tune "There Will Always Be A Small Time" is the veritable theme song for the weekly residency.

The Hogtown Syncopators - The Rex - Friday 4pm
Inspired by the music of the 1930s, the Hogtown Syncopators bring their version of jazz, swing, and blues to the Rex Hotel every Friday at 4pm. You won't forget stellar vocalist Terra Hazelton's renditions of familiar and not-so-familiar standards.

Writing by Patrick Brealey. Photo of Michael Louis Johnson at The Communist's Daughter by Jesse Milns.



Toronto Jim / July 12, 2014 at 02:04 pm
Unless something changed and it well could have, my old home away from home Grossman's is not an all ages bar.
Also, it used to be Kid Bastien's Happy Pals until he died.
They are a great band if you are into New Orleans jazz.
Kate / July 12, 2014 at 06:18 pm
Definitely missed out on our 35 + year run of Soul Sundays at College Street Bar. Nice to see BlogTO at least managed to find our friends and neighbours at The Orbit Room..
Anthony / July 14, 2014 at 11:13 pm
How about DeSotos Sunday Live Jazz Brunch. It has been running for 8 straight years.
1079 St. Clair Ave west
Sundays from 11a.m until 2 pm
Patrick Tevlin / July 15, 2014 at 01:29 am
Grossman's Tavern is all ages in the daytime, so bring down the Rugrats!
Kid Bastien started in at Grossman's in May 1970. Since his death in 2003, we've been carrying on his lifelong dedication to New Orleans music.
It's a life sentence, and we don't get time off for good behavior. This might explain why we don't behave good. It's functional music, not a concert, the Kid always said; so if you come down, you don't have to behave good either!
Toby Hughes / July 15, 2014 at 08:45 am
Frankie Foo and The Yoyo Smugglers have been playing their blend of traditional rocksteady,
R & B and ska at Grossman's Tavern the final Friday of every month for the past 14 years. Never a cover charge, best damn dance party of the month!
Brian Cober / July 15, 2014 at 02:41 pm
I have been hosting the Grossmans Sunday Night Jam now w Bill Hedefine for 22 years. Every Sun. starting at 10pm. 377 Spadina. How did they miss Toronto's best jam session?
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