jazz cartier

12 must-see concerts in Toronto this February

Toronto concerts this month are full of exciting comebacks and anniversaries, plus the first whispers of music festival madness that will surely engulf the city like a fiery wave of flower crowns the minute ice begins to thaw.

Aside from Wavelength and The Long Winter returning, there's Somewhere There, an annual collection of Toronto's creative experimental artists at The Tranzac, and Winterfolk, the three-day blues and roots fest that takes over a stretch of the Danforth. Also check out Long Winter offshoot INsulator, a unique audio-visual experience planned to take place in a maze-like setup.

Elsewhere, look out for a great batch of death metal (Decapitated, Cannibal Corpse) and punk royalty (The Queers, Nina Hagen). Stuff of the classic-rock persuasion includes The Sheepdogs, The Besnard Lakes and Wolfmother, the latter of which I was so sure had broken up, but I was probably thinking of Jet. The Dirty Nil, Classified and Blue Rodeo shows are also afoot.

Here are my top picks for concerts this February.

Bruce Springsteen (February 2, ACC)
If you really really really love The River, what a time to be alive. Not only has the album been reissued as a massive boxed set, but The Boss is also taking the E Street Band on tour in its honour. It's sold out of course, but the StubHub offerings are at least more reasonable than Dave Chappelle's.

Wet (February 3, The Garrison)
Brooklyn trio Wet made a big splash (ha) with their 2013 EP, instantly joining the new school of slick sensi-pop that the likes of CHVRCHES and The XX have turned mainstream. Ready for the big time, their major-label debut is out as of January 29.

Jazz Cartier (February 5, Phoenix)
The rising-star Toronto rapper has been cryptically teasing new material and dropping the occasional surprise track here and there as of late. Though not indicative of a full tour, this pit stop at the Phoenix could be more revealing about his impending 2016 release.

TR/ST (February 12, Velvet Underground)
Apparently I'm the only person concerned that the Velvet Underground's surprise rebirth is being helmed by the same guys responsible for this and this, but I'm willing to put my pessimism aside for what's overall still happy news. Especially since one of our all-time fave goths, TR/ST, is headlining.

Neon Windbreaker (February 12, Smiling Buddha)
Hometown noiseniks Neon Windbreaker are unfortunately calling it quits after seven years, likely to focus on their numerous other projects (one member plays in Dilly Dally; another heads up label We Are Busy Bodies). This Smiling Buddha gig will be their last.

Wavelength 16 (February 12-14, The Garrison/Markham House City Building Lab)
The annual fest takes over Valentine's Day weekend once again with another round of cool and eclectic names. Calvin Love, Duchess Says, Steve Lambke, Foxes in Fiction and many more are slated to play.

The Long Winter (February 19, The Great Hall)
This month's edition of the popular art+music series features another heap of musical talent, with performances by The Wooden Sky, For Esmé, DATU and more.

Jennylee (February 21, Horseshoe Tavern)
Warpaint's inventive bassist recently struck out on her own with right on!, an album that douses her driving hooks in a darker, more gothic vibe. She's taking the new material on a modest tour including a night at the 'Shoe.

Wavves and Best Coast (February 22, Danforth Music Hall)
The longstanding power couple of sunny Polaroid indie rock have teamed up yet again. Wavves and Best Coast just minted a 7-inch split and are hitting the road together accordingly with the "Summer is Forever II" tour, a wonderfully optimistic title to bring to Canada in the middle of February.

Glassjaw (February 24, Opera House)
Hardcore fans had given up all hope of ever hearing a real followup to Worship and Tribute, but then these sneaks decided to mess with us all, dropping a brand new song out of nowhere and booking a swath of North American dates. Could it be? Do we dare dream of a new LP? Dudes, what are you up to?

Idée Fixe's 5th Anniversary (February 25-26, Horseshoe Tavern)
This T.O.-based record label celebrates a milestone over two nights, with past and present roster turning out to perform. On night one, Jennifer Castle, Fiver, Alex Lukashevsky and Bry Webb take turns fronting the house band, while night two offers The Highest Order, Bart and more.

Inertia XX (February 27, Opera House)
Speaking of milestones, concert promoter Noel Peters (the man behind Inertia Entertainment) is marking an impressive 20 years of bringing Toronto the loudest and heaviest bands. The bash is fittingly at the Opera House, headlined by Scarborough metal icons Sacrifice, plus Macabre, Goatwhore and Panzerfaust.

What did I miss? Leave your top concert suggestions in the comments.

Photo via Jazz Cartier on Instagram.


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