toronto concerts winter

The top 10 concerts in Toronto for winter 2016

Enjoying a concert in Toronto is undoubtedly one of the best ways to spend a cold winter evening. Not only can you count on most local venues to be hot and sweaty, but the sense of community you'll feel by temporarily ending your hibernation should help bolster your mood through to spring.

Here are my picks for the top concerts this winter in Toronto.

Stars (Dec. 17, 18, 19, The Phoenix)
If you're looking to kick off your holidays with an upbeat gathering that's not of the family variety, look no further than not one but three nights of sparkling indie-rock from these Canadian music staples. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of their acclaimed third album Set Yourself On Fire, they'll play the album in full, along with other "Christmas-themed surprises" on the 19th.

Dwayne Gretzky (Dec. 31, Danforth Music Hall)
Few bands party quite like this Toronto cover supergroup - so, instead of freezing in line for a club or overeating cartons of Chinese food this New Year's Eve, unhang your dancing shoes and hit the Danforth for a raucous night of Heart, Springsteen, Queen, The Beatles and every other classic needed to end the year off right.

Hamilton Leithauser and Paul Maroon (Jan. 20, Dakota Tavern)
Following last year's announcement of The Walkmen's "extreme hiatus" (tear), your best shot at reliving those triumphant shows is through the band's formidable frontman, Hamilton Leithauser and guitarist Paul Maroon's new side project, Leithauser Maroon. They'll will be gifting fans a majestic debut LP titled Dear God next year, and this is a chance to hear that material early.

The Knocks (Jan. 22, The Mod Club)
Electro-pop duo The Knocks have geared up their game with three memorable EPs, and in March will finally release their debut full-length, titled 55. The star-studded release is set to feature collaborations with Carly Rae Jepsen, Wyclef Jean and Cam'ron, to name a few, so you can bet tickets won't last long.

Neon Indian (Jan. 30, Lee's Palace)
After a four-year hiatus, Neon Indian's Alan Palomo recently released his highly anticipated, oh-so-danceable third album VEGA INTL. Night School. There's no time like the dead of winter to catch a live dose of retro-laced electro-pop, and just in case you missed his recent show at Lee's, this is your second shot to get your groove on.

Bruce Springsteen (Feb. 2, ACC)
What convincing does one need to go see The Boss, one of the greatest performers of all-time? His age-defying presence will dominate the ACC as part of The River Tour on February 2, and, in my experience, there's no better way to spend an evening than with the E-Street Boys.

St. Lucia (Feb 15, The Phoenix)
South African-born, New York-based musician Jean-Philip Grobler promises one of the most electric synth-pop sets out there, and with a new album titled Matter ready for release in January, this will be a bundle of new live cuts you won't want to miss.

Ty Segall (March 4, Danforth Music Hall)
On what will be the heels of his upcoming ninth (!) album, out January 2, 28 year-old lo-fi rocker Ty Segall will bring his psychedelic, fuzzed-out jams through Toronto in March. Expect big riffs and a lot of sweat.

Keys n Krates (March 25, Danforth Music Hall)
Known for their energetic live blend of instrumentation and turntable trickery, Toronto electronic trio Keys n Krates will spin their big, eclectic (think trap, chart toppers, grime and hip-hop-blended) bangers in late March. By catching this homecoming show, you'll be ending the winter on a wild note.

Metric and Death Cab for Cutie (March 23, ACC)
For what might be one of the biggest indie-rock sing-along live shows of the year, Death Cab for Cutie and Metric have teamed up to co-headline The ACC (and several other tour stops in 2016). While Metric will be four dates into their Lights on The Horizon Tour, DCFC will be continuing to promote their Grammy-nominated album, Kintsagi.

*Other great Toronto concerts this winter that are, unfortunately, sold out: Zeds Dead (Dec. 19), The Basement Revue (Dec. 22), Majical Cloudz (Jan 15), Alessia Cara (Jan. 17) Matt Corby (Jan. 29), Basia Bulat (Feb. 19), Troye Sivan (Feb. 26), Jason Isbell (Feb. 29), Beach House (Mar. 5 and 6), Oh Wonder (Mar. 23)

What did I miss? Add your suggestions for Toronto's top winter concerts in the comments.

Photo of Metric by Brian Morton

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