Where To See Live Music in Toronto

As a member of one of Toronto’s best wedding bands that also happens to play many clubs around the city, I thought I would share my thoughts on the best placed so see live music in Toronto.

Some of our friends to our south may think our great city doesn’t have as much talent but I think they would be surprised at the awesome level of talent this city has to offer. Remember, we are the home of some of the greatest music legends of all time. Neil young, Joni Mitchell, Rush, Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip, Anne Murray, Bryan Adams and many more I can’t even think of. So since Toronto is the Mecca of Canadian talent and entertainment (um, not hockey! Sorry, fellow Leaf fans), it’s only fitting we put some focus on the best spots for live music in the big smoke. Of course, I haven’t been everywhere in town, but I’m open to suggestions if you know somewhere I haven’t discovered as of yet. These are some of my favourite spots to see great live music in Toronto:

Orbit Room

This is kind of an epic spot in the city to catch literally every type of music known to man. Whether it be reggae, rock, soul, funk, top 40 pop and even original artists, this is a smallish room yet big enough to groove in and always loaded with the best musicians and vocalists in town.

The Supermarket (Kensington)

Always seems to represent top acts exclusively. Personally, this is my favourite place to hang out in the city on Sunday nights for the biggest and most talent loaded open mic in the city. Hosted by Steve York and Tony Rabalao, these great artists have been able to bring out the best in the city week after week to create and incredible night of music.

Bar Italia

A classy ambience and a few nice looking women and you’ve got yourself a killer night out at this spot.  They seem to only offer the best of Toronto’s cover bands who will never let you down.


I’ve seen pretty much all of my favourite local talent performing here. JP Saxe, Dane Hartsell, Dale Luarca, Shamaka, and of course the Elevation Band and our monthly gig we play there.


I think this place is a bit newer on the scene but every time I’ve been there it’s been raging with all different types of music and really great artists. Located on Queen Street, this will certainly be a raging good time any night of the week, especially those patio summers.

So that’s my list, I know there are more but those float to the top of my mind.  If you want to share others please put them in the comments section below the post.

If you are looking for a wedding band in Toronto or just want to see some great live music in Toronto please contact us.

Toronto Wedding Band – Top 10 Wedding Dance Songs

As a member of a Toronto wedding band one of my roles is to help couples make song choices for their wedding night.  In this blog post I’m going to focus on faster dance songs much like a previous post where we focused on slow songs titled top ten list of best slow songs at a wedding.

So the question is gonna be, what kind of theme are you going for? Are you into hip hop music? Kanye West, JayZee, The Black-Eyed Peas? How about some good ole’ fashioned 80’s stuff like Madonna, Prince, Bryan Adams, Journey and Michael Jackson? Maybe you wanna even go more old school than that and get back down to that soulful Motown groove with some Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.

The basic principal at most weddings would be to mix up all of those different genres (Of course, with some 70’s music too. My personal fave). Since the dance floor will be hopping with folks of different ages it makes perfect sense that the theme would be a blend of newer stuff with the classics.  I have humbly made a list of what I think would be the top ten dance songs that could and should be played at any wedding anywhere, anytime:

1.Celebration – Kool and the gang

  • Indeed, we all may roll our eyes at this one, but fact remains it’s a tune everyone knows and will be dancing and singing along to.

2. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

  • Never much doubt about this one that Michael broke out with at the Apollo back in the day. Since then, it’s been a mainstay with every cover band and every wedding.

3. Old Time Rock n’Roll – Bob Seger

  • Sticking with the theme of tunes we all know the words to, Seger’s classic is one that is a can’t miss hit at any wedding.

4. I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye

  • One of my all-time faves. This is soul music at its finest. Maybe this is a bit slower than the other stuff, but still so groovy the dance floor will be hopping.

5. Smooth – Rob Thomas and Santana

  • Okay, definitely not one you would have thought of and I know it doesn’t go with our theme of sure fire winners, but I have to include it because I once heard it a wedding and it was so perfect. I always loved this tune and I think it would fit in great at any wedding.

6. Oh, What A Night – Four Seasons

  • An oldie but a goody. This tune was a little ahead of its time with a pop sound mixed with disco and soul. Easily one of the best tunes of all-time.

7. Ain’t Too proud To Beg – The Temptations

  • This old soul tune by one of the greatest vocal groups that ever lived is their timeless dance tune.

8. Don’t Stop Believin – Journey

  • I knew you were waiting for this one! Yes indeed. This is another timeless tune that is a can’t miss smash on the dance floor. All of those girly fans of “Glee” will be screeching this one out. Make sure you have a good vocalist hitting those Steve Perry high notes.

9. Shook Me All Night Long – AC DC

  • Not sure if the older crowd will like this one too much, but everyone needs a rest once in a while and let the young kids rock out.

10. Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry

  • I probably could never name you another tune from this band. But this classic is one you can’t dislike as its funky groove is one we all know and can’t help but get down to.

Well that’s my list, please feel free to add some more in the comments below.  And if you’re looking for a Toronto wedding band than contact us.

Toronto Wedding Band – what to do about wedding crashers

As a member of the Toronto wedding band community and someone who has played hundreds of weddings I’ve learned how to distinguish who was and who wasn’t invited the weddings I play.

There are many shapes and forms to a wedding. The full range of emotions are felt on such a day considering its magnitude. Happiness for the couple and their joining together, sadness for the loved ones who are missing and can’t be there to share in the event, stress with all of the planning, the making of the wedding gown, the cake, the caterers, the flowers, the wedding hall,  the money you have to spend!

On top of all of that, however is the shear joy and fun that which is dancing the night away listening to all of your favourite hits played by the top wedding band in the city see: elevationband.com 🙂 So, check it out. You’re all on the dance floor having a blast, literally twisting the night away, when all of a sudden you notice some strange faces lurking. These people have made their way onto the dance floor and are partying like it’s 1999. Remember the movie “Wedding Crashers?” Uh, yeah. Those guys. They’re up there dancing away and you’re trying to figure out if you even know these people let alone invited them. You kindly approach them with a fake smile and say “hi. How do I know you?” These most courageous fellows answer you with the utmost confidence “it’s me! Don’t you remember? We met back at the Leafs game 6 months ago. You were telling us about your daughters’ wedding and where it was happening and when. So we decided to come by and surprise you. SURPRISE!”

And surprised you are. You’re faced with a dilemma. After all, these two guys have come to wish you well and celebrate the evening with you even though they’ve shown without an invite. Quite possibly they may be thieves or even worse, there to take your second and third daughters.

If you want my advice then I’ll tell you like this. You as a host could quite possibly be stressed beyond reproach over this peculiar situation. But the band is gonna love this. Because when random people show up and charge up the energy, then the band gets energized. If the band gets energized, the music gets better. If the music gets better, the guests get happier. If the guests get happier, then YOU get happier.

Sure, there may be the slightest most minute possibility that something could go astray with these unwanted cretons who have appeared so randomly. But when you think about it, even a wanted guest could end up making big time problems for you. Just think, if you have an open bar (This could be the subject of the next blog) all sorts of freaky things can happen. Maybe some these invited guests could end up trashing the place costing you thousands in paying off those damages.

So, in my eyes even if these two guys and up taking the last of your most precious daughters away from you, always remember. They had the wherewithal to come out to your daughters’ wedding to celebrate with you even though they weren’t invited. That’s how much spirit these two guys have. Hey, when you think about it – everything in life is a risk.

So I say, let em’ stay and the band shall play!

Let me know what you think in the comments below.  And if you’re looking for a wedding band in Toronto then contact us.

Toronto Wedding Band – why play covers?

As a member of the Toronto wedding band community the question of whether you can or can’t play original tunes at weddings has arisen countless times.  If you’re in a wedding band, or looking for a Toronto wedding band then this blog post may be of use to you.


Personally, I have been on both sides of being a songwriter and being a cover musician. Nowadays, my focus is almost 100% on covers with originals pretty much in the back of my mind. Still, I find myself frequenting open mics and open jams throughout the city of Toronto which is mainly made of musicians who perform solely original music. So I’ve definitely had my fair share of debates on the patios of these open mics with many of my fellow musician friends.

So the debate goes like this: Are you considered an ‘artist’ if you solely perform other artists music? The thinking of one who is pro-original is how are you showing your own originality by performing other artists’ stuff? And if you’re doing it for the money, then you’re a sellout and are not a true artist. Oh, these accusations and questions SEEM like they make sense, but in actuality it’s just a load of…kooky talk, as Kramer from Seinfeld says.

Firstly, an artist (Yes, even a cover musician!) who chooses to go in the direction of covers rather than original music cannot be accused of not being an artist. A friend of mine once told me that the most important thing when playing a song is to ‘make it real.’ Believe it. Feel it. Love it. As a busker, when I play a song and I feel the joy of that tune and the emotion behind it, all of a sudden the money pours in. When I play by rote, and just go through the motions then I make nothing. There are many musicians out there who are extremely talented – top level guys who play covers almost exclusively. And they play them like they’re their own. If you can feel another artists music and make it real and connect to the audience, then it doesn’t matter if the tune is your own or another artists, because the main ingredient when making art is to CONNECT.

Now of course, there is the second accusation which is the cover artist is a sellout. This is one that doesn’t really need much discussion, since we live in a transient world where money is a must in order to live, eat and breathe. In my eyes, if an artist has chosen cover music as his or her path in order to make ends meet and is able to get by without a ‘real’ job then I say all the more power to that person. They do what they love and make money doing it. I don’t see what’s so bad about that.

Clearly there are differing opinions within the Toronto wedding band community and I would love to hear yours in the comments below.

If you are looking for a Toronto wedding band than contact us.

How To Plan a Traditional Wedding in Toronto

If you are wondering how to plan a traditional wedding in Toronto then I hope this blog post helps.  At least in the music selection.

Weddings are a huge task in the easiest case scenarios. But what about when it gets super complicated? For example, let’s say the couple is moving away from the old traditions of their parents and grandparents and wish to have a completely modern style wedding. Now this might be all well and good in theory, but the practical application can become extremely difficult and even lead to serious fighting among those trying to make the best event possible. Most likely, the parents will be paying for the evening which means you’re going to have to cater to their desires in some fashion.

So when it comes to the music of the evening, usually in most cases there is going to have to be an eclectic mix of music throughout the evening. Maybe you can hire one band who can play all types of music for the reception, ceremony and the dancing. But in all likelihood, you’re probably going to end up hiring separate people for each part of the night considering the mix of music you’ll need.

Personally, my experience is in the Jewish wedding world. With all of the different types of Jews that exist out there, it’s very hard to find the right mix of religion and modernity at a wedding. I’ve done nights where I have shown up for 20 minutes just to sing the opening ‘hora’ part of the evening and leave the rest to the band they hired who are not experts in singing in Hebrew. Sometimes the ones making the wedding are left with no choice but to do something like that in order to cater everyone’s taste in music.

If you are resourceful, however you might be able to save yourself a lot of time, money and heartache by finding a band that can actually fill the entire night. Let’s say you’re Italian and having a Catholic style wedding, it is possible with proper research to find a band who can cater to playing some of the tunes from the old country with a little religious twang, plus be able to cover all of the top 40 stuff you’re looking for the remainder of the evening. It’s extremely cost effective and easier to only deal with the one group and one band leader rather than have two or three different entities to deal with on a night where you’ll be dealing with all sorts of logistics – let alone your emotions!

It’s very important to speak to many different bands and see what kind of repertoire they have going. You’d probably be amazed at how much versatility is out there. In the city of Toronto, you’ll find some of the most eclectic musicians which makes sense, being that this one of the most diverse cities as far as culture goes, in the entire world. Almost everyone has a religious aspect to their life which means there will be some form of musical attachment as well to that particular religion.

Being a Singer In a Toronto Wedding Band

As an experienced singer in a Toronto wedding band I’ve got some suggestions for those of you looking for the right fit for your big event.

So as a singer in a Toronto wedding band, cover band, TCC busker and singer/songwriter I’ve definitely experienced a lot in my years performing at different events. It’s a special yet nerve-racking experience being at the forefront of any gig, whether it be in front of hundreds of people or even sometimes those dreaded nights when only 3 people are watching you (I’ve had more than a few of those)!

There’s more than a few pressures a singer has to face when doing a gig. One thing is that if the performance is a wedding, then the singer will have to learn somewhere in the area of 30, sometimes 40 tunes for the night. He or she must have a grasp of all the changes in each song and be able to bring their own special flavour to each song while also remembering the lyrics. Wearing the right clothes and attracting the right attention is also key, while the main and most dreaded fear lurks over the singer – losing their voice.

There are many bands out there who aren’t worried so much about vocals. They enjoy their jamming, big guitar solos, heavy drums and such. Personally, I find if you’re making a wedding, Bar-Mitzvah or corporate event you’re going to have to find yourself a good vocalist. In fact, I’ll stretch it even further and say you should find a GREAT vocalist. One who you know from seeing yourself or from reliable sources, that will be a sure-fire hit to make your event great. The last thing you want at the event is an amateur vocalist who lacks experience and skill in handling the challenge of fronting the music for an event.The reason could be many. Bad song choices, bad volume control, missing notes that even the untrained ear can detect, and singing pop songs that people know and messing them up in a very ugly way. You don’t think it can happen? Trust me, it can, it does and it will. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and everyone in the room notices when things aren’t sounding properly.

On the other hand, a pro creates an immediate sense of comfort and joy as soon as you hear the first song. Once you sense the person up there is a professional, you can breathe easy knowing the guests at this event will be enjoying the tunes all night and complimenting you on your superb musical choice for the evening.

The singer should know all of the lyrics to the tunes, hit all the notes and know when and when not to turn up the energy for the night. This comes with experience and a very unique feel for what type of mood the crowd is in and most importantly, what the hosts expect of the band.

So remember when planning your next event with music, make sure you find a great vocalist to carry the night and you’ll be sure the event will go off without a hitch.

If you’re looking for a live music wedding band in Toronto then contact us and we’ll either be the right band for you or we’ll steer you in the right direction.


How Many Speeches Should I Have at My Wedding?

How many speeches should I have at my wedding?  This is a question asked by every single engaged couple planning their wedding and in this blog post I hope to lend some insight into this dilema.


So…You’re getting married. How exciting! You’ve waited for this day for your whole life, dreaming about the perfect night with the perfect mate, the perfect family and the perfect setting. Plans must be made and all of the relevant characters in the movie of your life have to fill a role which is suitable to create the perfect evening. You’ve booked everything. The caterer, the event planner, the flowers, the music, brides maids and now it’s all coming to fruition. The last question you’re faced with is how many speeches should I have at my wedding and who’s gonna speak? Mom? Dad? Best friends
from high school? Someone has to go up there and rave on about how great you are and how blissful this marriage will be.

So here’s a little unconventional advice from a relatively regular wedding goer: Leave the speeches to a minimum.  If you’re not uncomfortable with how few speeches you have then you haven’t whittled it down enough yet.

As much as people wanna hear about your childhood and all of the grandiose stories about what led you to this triumphant place in your life, the bottom line is speeches are generally boring and inspire your guests to hit up the bar for another shot of Jack Daniels or even to get up and go home altogether. No one hosting an event should ever want their guests to leave early, so might I suggest one or two short speeches and get the band back up rockin’ the house. More music equals more engaging the crowd and more likely to get your guests to stay at your wedding all through the night.

This can be done in many ways. You could have a backing track playing some of your old favourites which will keep those younger and older lovebirds addicted to the dance floor, or you could keep the band up there playing the tunes of your choice. Don’t worry about straining the musicians.  In fact, this is what musicians enjoy most about playing these types of events. Musicians don’t wanna be sitting around waiting and wondering when they’re gonna play next. They came to work and work they must.

I find sometimes the event planners get a little too techy with their papers and blueprints for the eve. I say throw that stuff away and let the band play! Music is usually gonna be the key at any party or event you make. Remember when we were teenagers and had those house parties? All the kids would constantly yell out “what happened to the tunes?” even if the music stopped for a total of 30 seconds. That’s the way we are as people these days, needing constant stimulation. So if you wanna take a fools’ advice, I say keep those speeches to a minimum and keep the tunes going all night. This will ensure you of the night you always dreamed of, with the majority of the crowd staying til’ the end.

I know this sounds biased coming from one of Toronto’s live wedding bands but what can I say… I see a lot of mistakes and just want to help you have that wedding that people remember forever.

And as always, if you are in the Toronto area and are looking for a live wedding band for your event contact us.

If you think I’m crazy or have some other ideas please write them in the comments below.  Congratulations!

Top 10 Slow Songs For Your Wedding

Picking slow songs for your wedding can be a challenging endeavor, there are just too many good ones.   If you’re trying to figure out which would be the best slow songs for your wedding, then let this blog whet your appetite.



Okay, so here’s the thing about playing music in a cover band. When you start to research other bands and what they play you’re astounded by how drastically different their tunes are to the ones you play. You come to realize that when it comes to popular songs, their’s only about a MILLION to choose from!  So if we were to sit down and go through a top 10 list of the best ballad (Slow songs for those who live under a tree) numbers one has to have played at their wedding, every musician and dj in town would have a completely different list.

In my eyes, the key to making beautiful, memorable wedding music is to play tunes that are known and recognizable to the majority of listeners. Anything that is less than popular and maybe a little more underground is bound to flop. So here’s my humble list of what I think are sure winning slow tunes to play at your wedding (Not in any particular order) and get people on the dance floor:


Here are my Top 10 slow songs for your wedding

1. Can’t take my eyes off you – Four Seasons

Frankie Valli and his smooth, olive oily voice made this one a timeless classic and a sure-fire crowd pleaser.
Altough it may speed up a little in the chorus, it’s still slow enough for a slow dance.

2. Careless Whisper – George Michael

That famous sax riff we all know and love. Although it’s more sad in its sentiment,
it’s still famous enough and has a great smoothness to keep the vibe moving.

3. Wonderful tonight – Eric Clapton

Clapton had a great feel for writing love songs, and this one is a can’t miss hit.

4. Heaven – Bryan Adams

One of my personal faves. Another great rock ballad by Bryan Adams. Who can’t help but
sing along to this one?

5. Open Arms – Journey

This masterpiece ballad deserves to be on the list. Only trouble is finding someone
who can sing it like Steve Perry.

6. I’ll Be There – Jackson 5

One of the early tunes that made the Jackson’s famous. We all know it, we all love it
and that’s why it gets the nod.

7. At Last – Etta James

I’m not sure how many bands do this one. But if they don’t, they should!

8. More Than Words – Extreme

This one hit wonder is a hit we’ll never forget. The guitar riff, the lyrics.
I heard another band take this one on a few weeks ago and it was just perfect.

9. Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers

Covered by many artists, including Elvis, this one is a great one to sing, play
and dance to.

10. The Greatest Love of All – Whitney Houston

This was a biggie when I was a kid, and the icing on the cake was Eddie Murphy’s
rendition with Sexual Chocolate in the movie “Coming To America.” This rounds out
our list as a tune no one could possibly forget.

I hope a little bit of light has been shed on this very broad subject. If you’re looking for a live wedding band in the Toronto area  please feel free to contact us.


How To Choose Your Wedding Music

In this post my goal is to help you simplify your wedding planning with my lessons of how to choose your wedding music that I have learned as a Toronto wedding musician.

So it’s one month before your wedding day and AHH! YOU’RE GOING CRAZY! AND YOU HAVEN’T PICKED YOUR WEDDING MUSIC YET!

Ok, so here’s a little secret. You have nothing to worry about. Well, as long as you’ve hired a reputable band or DJ that is. If they are professionals they will have you covered in any situation.

As someone who has supplied hundreds of weddings with live musicians and DJ’s, I can’t think of one couple that didn’t start off warning me about all their specific music needs, just to end up having one or two song requests within the last 30 days. Inevitably you’ll realize that you did your home work and hired professionals who will make sure the right music is played at the right time.

I can only assume this happens due to all the hundreds of very important things popping up last minute here, there, and everywhere. I mean let’s be honest, when you realize you forgot to send an entire branch of the family invitations and your mother is demanding that your father’s new wife won’t be sitting at the head table, song choices just seem to take a back seat. (Ahh yes… weddings are fun!)

None the less, if you did indeed hire a reputable band or DJ, then at any time a request is made you should be accommodated. I have never turned any song request down for any reason. Even if the request comes the day of and it’s something very obscure which needs rehearsals. There is always the option of playing it through the PA with an iPod. No band or DJ should ever say the word “No”.

Here my suggestions for picking songs:

  1. Think about the guests.
  2. Hire a busy and reputable wedding band.
  3. Give the band guidelines about what not to play (this makes it much simpler for you)
  4. Only give the band requests for songs you can’t live without.

As always, I hope these tips help make things simpler for you. It’s not easy to plan weddings so don’t work harder than you need to. The important thing is you are getting married to the person you love.

If you are in or close to Toronto On, Canada and are looking for live musicians or DJ’s for your wedding then contact us.

And, if you have any other suggestions for making wedding planning easier, leave them in the comments below!

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How To Make Sure Your Toronto Wedding Band Sounds Great



If someone tells you size doesn’t matter when it comes to your wedding band, then you can be sure you are not getting an expert opinion.  Size matters a lot, but please don’t get me wrong.  Bigger is not better in this case.  You want to take the advice of your chosen band on this one.  Ask them what sounds the best.  Some band rehearse and arrange all their music with a particular instrumentation in mind and that is the way to get the best sound on the stage.  If a band hires 2 more horn players and 3 string instruments because you want to look like you spent a  lot of money you are more likely to get a really muddy sound on stage no matter how good a sound man you have.

On the flip side, a band will always be able to take one or two of their regular players away but there is no replacement for a live musician.  Even if a band tells you that you can remove a sax or a bass player that doesn’t mean it won’t affect the sound.  It has to.

So as much as possible, when you are negotiating with your local Toronto wedding band, ask them what sound the best.