December means concerts in Toronto are slowing down. Many musicians experience pressure from their parents to fly home and drink hot cocoa by the fire, and hey, sometimes that doesn't sound so bad - plus there's still a lot of good live music to catch this month. Here's hoping at least one of these Slayer missed connections led to the most brutal(ly metal) kind of love, and that this very enthusiastic James Blake attendee, and yes, even the monkey from the Sheezer show similarly found someone to cuddle as the weather gets colder.
Note, rap/god fans: the Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar show is rescheduled for December 22nd and 23rd at the ACC. Speaking of deities, so-called god of German techno Paul Kalkbrenner is also coming through Toronto this month, and you can win tickets to his December 7th show at The Phoenix here.
Here are 10 December shows worth bundling up for.
Blackalicious / Adelaide Hall / Demeber 7 / 9pm / $25
I'll let our rap writer Markit take this one on - "Hailing from Sacramento, California, this duo of DJ/producer Chief Xcel and rapper Gift of Gab have been pleasing underground heads for almost two decades. Their music has always been uplifting and positive and the lyrics have been complex, woven with incredible wordplay. Their new EP Sun Giver, which is supposed to drop later this year, will be their first release since 2005. Come through to hear the old and check the new. One of the most active local hip hop acts, Philly Moves, will be opening up the evening."
Sean Nicholas Savage / December 9 / Double Double Land (209 Augusta) / 9pm / $10
For a long time it seemed like weirdo lo-fi poet Sean Nicholas Savage didn't fit in to Montreal's vibrant buzz band export scene. Now fans outside MTL are finally taking notice of his bleeding heart and strange, basement loner R&B folk thing. Savage's vocal experimentations flit between the creepiest new romantics of 80s pop and How to Dress Well - who admittedly aren't that different at first listen, but you know what I mean - and old rock strangers like Chris Bell. Don't miss seeing this in an intimate spot. Sing Leaf and Ice Cream are also on the bill.
Jason Collett presents The Basement Revue / December 5/12/26 @ The Dakota, December 19 @ Adelaide Hall / 8:30pm / $25 (each night)
A tradition for a certain sect of Toronto music fans, every December Jason Collett hosts wintry line ups of secret performers, sometimes-bizarre song choices, poetry readings, and collaborations. Spontaneity reigns here, though looking at last year's performer list of Snowblink, Jeramy Dodds, Chris Murphy from Sloan, Hayden, Karen Solie, Andy Kim, Kevin Drew, Buck 65, Michael Ondaatje and Feist might be a tip off. Three shows will take place at the Dakota, with a forth show bursting all the buttons forth at Adelaide Hall. Read our interview with Collett here.
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires / December 12 / 8pm / Kool Haus (132 Queens Quay E) / $25.50
How excited for Charles Bradley are you? Bradley's been called revivalist (as in his sound echos soul of the 60 and 70s) but one listen to - or look at - this guy makes it clear there's no summoning of the dead going on here. Bradley's admittedly old-souled Americana R&B touches on the truest nerves of life in a way music rarely does, or ever has. The Kool Haus gig will be a treat.
Wired City Music Festival / December 12 / Various venues / PWYC/$10/$15
In what could either be a fun way to spend a Thursday or an overambitious head scratcher, a team of Radio and Television Arts students at Ryerson are throwing the Wired City Music Fest. 5 bands will play 3 venues throughout the city - Bruce Peninsula, ColinResponse, KC Roberts & The Live Revolution, Union Duke, and Long Range Hustle will play gigs at Adelaide Hall, Measure and Ryerson University. Every performance will stream live at each location. In a city where 5 band bills for local shows are common, I'm actually not sure if this project is ambitious enough, but the concept (and investigating the question of whether or not they can pull it off) could be fun.
Long Winter / December 13 / 7pm / The Great Hall (1087 Queen St W) / PWYC
The all ages, pay what you can carnival of sights, sounds and sweat will return to The Great Hall in December (as it will every month this winter/early spring). The line up for the 13th includes I am Robot and Proud, Beliefs, Fresh Snow, Nick Ferrio & His Feelings, Demolition, Milk Lines, Omhouse, and LLVK (Sook-Yin Lee, Adam Litovitz and Brandon Valdivia).
Beyoncé / December 16 / 7pm / Air Canada Centre (40 Bay St) / $63.25-$268.25
Toronto will welcome Bey back to Toronto in just a couple of weeks. You can almost feel the concrete pulsing in anticipation. Bey shows are a huge spectacle, and while ticket prices aren't kind to one's wallet, you're guaranteed a larger than life, heart fluttering performance from the reigning queen of pop. You might even spot Jay-Z hanging around (he probably has some sponsorship thing to go to, but you never know).
The Little Match Girl Passion / December 20 / The Music Gallery (St George the Martyr Church, 197 John Street) / 8pm / $20
David Dacks of the Music Gallery is called this post classical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's classic Christmas Story "the feel-bad Xmas show of the year" - and to be honest that's all I need to hear. David Lang's Pulitzer Prizewinning The Little Match Girl Passion will be curator Gregory Oh's final show at the Music Gallery, and apparently he wants to leave a trail of misery in his wake, right in time for the holidays. Singers will accompany themselves on percussion. An excerpt is below, or you can hear a longer fragment of the Little Match Girl crying for help here.
Death From Above 1979 / December 26 / 7pm / The Danforth Music Hall (147 Danforth) / $33.50-$39.50
When DFA put out You're a Woman, I'm a Machine in 2004, I'm not sure they knew in 2013 they're still be playing live as one of Canada's most respected acts (and one of Toronto's 25 most famous bands). Nobody can give up this duo's relentless noise rock sound, and luckily the dudes reunited in 2011. Eager fans at the Danforth can look forward to the same old raw power, plus new songs from the upcoming (or so they claim) reunion album.
Baauer + RL Grime / December 30 / 10pm / The Hoxton / $15
The night before NYE, Baauer (you know, the H_arl_m Sh_k_ guy - yes, you listened to him before, yes, you danced the HS in kindergarten, in Harlem) will throw down at The Hoxton with equally awesome producer/DJ RL Grime. As a NYE hater, I'd advise getting wild at this and spending the 31st at home drinking cocoa and laughing about the teaming masses of confused partiers struggling to fit their intoxicated bods onto the TTC. Have your New Year's kiss/grind early this year.
And no, I don't expect you to take my advice. Stay tuned for our New Year's Eve party guide.
For more concerts this month check out the listings at Just Shows.
by Aubrey Jax via blogTO