NEXT’s Spring 2024 Live Music Guide

Spring live music season kicks off

Before we approach the summer and festival season takes over, Toronto will welcome some of the biggest acts across the world for an exciting two months of live music in the city.

Naomi Sharon

When: Thurs., March 28
Where: The Drake Underground, 150 Queen St. W.
Genre: R&B
Why you should go: The rising singer-songwriter returns to Toronto following the release of Obsidian, her 2023 album that showcased great vocal talent and versatility. The Dutch-Caribbean artist also has a strong Toronto connection as she became the first female signee to Drake’s OVO Sound.

Rêve

When: Fri., March 29
Where: The Opera House, 735 Queen St. E.
Genre: Dance/Electric
Why you should go: The Montreal singer-songwriter has recently had two entries on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 in recent months (Contemporary Love and Whitney) and has been quickly rising as a hot prospect in dance music. The sultry singer is one to catch live, with her energetic anthems creating an infectious atmosphere.

Olivia Rodrigo

When: Fri., March 29 & Sat. March 30
Where: Scotiabank Arena, 40 Bay St.
Genre: Pop
Why you should go: Pop megastar Olivia Rodrigo brings her Guts tour to Toronto for two nights of one of the most hotly anticipated tours of 2023. The vampire hitmaker showcases her creativity through a concert that is split into four acts that are full of flair, versatility and pop ballads.

Trans-Canada Highwaymen

When: Sat., March 30
Where: The Opera House, 735 Queen St. E.
Genre: Alt-rock
Why you should go: Moe Berg (The Pursuit of Happiness), Chris Murphy (Sloan), Craig Northey (Odds) and Steven Page (Barenaked Ladies) unite to perform classic Canadian ’70s AM pop tracks in support of their Explosive Hits Vol. 1 album. They also play their own bands’ hits.

Richard Lloyd of Television

When: Sat., March 30
Where: Bovine Sex Club, 542 Queen St. W.
Genre: Punk
Why you should go: Television mainman Richard Lloyd performs the band’s classics alongside covers of The Velvet Underground and other early influences during an intimate set at the Bovine Sex Club.

Animaniacs in Concert

When: Sat., March 30
Where: Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St.
Genre: Classical/cartoon
Why you should go: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra performs live accompaniment to classic Animaniacs cartoons. Can we bring a bowl of cereal and wear pyjamas? Should be super cool.

Bad Bunny

When: Thurs., April 4
Where: Scotiabank Arena, 40 Bay St.
Genre: Latin Hip Hop, Latin Trap
Why you should go: The King of Latin Trap, global megastar Bad Bunny is one of the biggest artists in the world and brings his Most Wanted tour to Toronto for one night only.

Laurie Anderson

When: Fri., April 5
Where: Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W.
Genre:  Art pop, Avant-garde
Why you should go: The legendary American avant-garde artist heads to Toronto as part of Royal Conservatory of Music’s 21C Music Festival. Anderson is currently in the midst of her Let X=X tour in Europe — expect to hear songs from her vast catalogue, including from the ground-breaking 1982 album Big Science.

Noah Kahan

When: Sat., April 6, Sun., April 14 & Tue., April 16
Where: Scotiabank Arena, 40 Bay St.
Genre: Folk-pop
Why you should go: Within a year, New England’s pop-folkie Noah Kahan has gone from performing in front of modest theatres to selling out the biggest arenas in the country for multiple nights. The success of his 2022 folk-pop album Stick Season has catapulted him to Grammy wins and packed arenas. Kahan is made for the biggest of stages; his performances feature a stunning set with incredible vocals matched by the atmosphere created by his passionate fans.

PinkPantheress

When: Sun., April 7
Where: Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave.
Genre: Dance, Pop
Why you should go: The pop star had a breakout moment during the pandemic with viral snippets on TikTok and has gone on to achieve further stardom with huge collabs with Ice Spice, Destroy Lonely and Rema. She is known for her energetic live performances, that can be seen in her viral Boiler Room sets.

Ruston Kelly

When: Wed., April 10
Where: Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W.
Genre: Indie
Why you should go: Ruston Kelly brings his Too Chill to Kill tour to Toronto for an intimate show at The Shoe. Expect to hear new tracks from his new EP Weakness Etc,   released Fri., March 22.

Asake

When: Fri., April 12
Where: Scotiabank Arena, 40 Bay St.
Genre: Afrobeats
Why you should go: Afrobeats star Asake performs his first-ever Canadian arena show. When the Nigerian performed his first headline arena show in London, U.K., he arrived on stage in a helicopter, brought out a number of big special guests and ended the night waving a flamethrower around during his hit song Amapiano. Expect much of the same unpredictability during his Toronto show.

The Wilderness

When: Sat., April 13
Where: El Mocambo, 464 Spadina Ave.
Genre: Indie Rock
Why you should go: Kingston-based brother band and indie rockers The Wilderness celebrate the release of their new album, Strangers I Used to Love.

Alejandro Escovedo

When: Wed., April 17
Where: Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W.
Genre: Rock
Why you should go: Sometime punk rocker and Austin, TX, legend is set to release his career-spanning collection Echo Dancing Now on Fri., March 29. So, expect Escovedo to deliver a wide-ranging performance in Toronto from his ’70s New York punk-rock to new re-workings of classic tracks like Bury Me.

Mirror

When: Thurs., April 18
Where: Meridian Arts Centre, 5040 Yonge St.
Genre: Cantonese Pop
Why you should go: Mirror, the 12-member boy band from Hong Kong, are one of the first big breakthrough acts to revive Cantopop and return to the stage after their previous tour was scrapped following an accident involving a giant LED screen crashing onto the stage, leaving three members injured.

Nicki Minaj

When: Thurs., April 18 & Tue., April 30
Where: Scotiabank Arena, 40 Bay St.
Genre: Rap
Why you should go: After yet another smash hit with Pink Friday 2, Nicki Minaj brings her world tour to Toronto for two nights — will she hang out in between? Her fans will get to hear new tracks, like FTCU and Everybody, performed alongside classic tracks, like Anaconda and Starships.

DYLAN

When: Fri., April 19
Where: Axis Club, 722 College St.
Genre: Pop
Why you should go: The English pop star has previously performed at some of the biggest venues in the world as she toured with megastar Ed Sheeran. Now, she embarks on her solo headlining tour.

AJ Rafael

When: Sat., April 20 & Sun., April 21
Where: Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave.
Genre: Pop/rock
Why you should go: When AJ Rafael performed in Canada last year, the singer-songwriter introduced his friend and Hollywood superstar Simu Liu to the stage to perform during a concert in Vancouver. Rafael toured last year for the first time in nine years and is back enjoying performing.

Bodega

When: Sun., April 21
Where: The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W.
Genre: Post-punk, Indie rock
Why you should go: These New York punks tour their new album, Our Brand Could Be Yr Life, set for release on Fri., April 12.

Jacob Collier

When: Mon., April 22
Where: Coca-Cola Coliseum, 45 Manitoba Dr.
Genre: Pop, Classical
Why you should go: The Grammy-winning English singer-songwriter heads to Toronto for an evening as varied and ambitious as his recent album, Djesse Vol.4 — which contains everything from pop, folk, rap and even classical.

bbymutha

When: Tue., April 23
Where: Lee’s Place, 529 Bloor St. W.
Genre: Rap
Why you should go: The Chattanooga rapper hits Toronto just days after the release of her new album Sleep Paralysis on Tue., April 19. The album was inspired by a recent tour across the U.K., where she was introduced to the sounds of garage and dance music — so expect an upbeat and lively performance from a rising star in rap.

Waxahatchee

When: Tue., April 23
Where: Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St.
Genre: Alternative/Indie
Why you should go: Soulful Southern U.S. singer Waxahatchee (a.k.a. Katie Crutchfield) tours in support of her latest album, Tigers Blood, released Fri., March 22.

Alex Cuba and Raul Midón

When: Fri., April 26
Where: Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W.
Genre: Folk
Why you should go: A double bill of soul, jazz and Latin pop sounds, featuring two dazzling singer-songwriters and instrumentalists — Raul Midón, the troubadour from Miami and Alex Cuba, the Cuban songsmith from Smithers, B.C.

Don Diablo

When: Sat., April 27
Where: REBEL, 11 Polson St.
Genre: Dance
Why you should go: The Dutch DJ’s fans can expect a high-octane experience full of good vibes, incredible special effects and a range of music from one of the pioneers of future house.

girl in red

When: Tue., April 30 through Wed., May 1
Where: History, 1663 Queen St. E.
Genre: Indie pop
Why you should go: Following the release of her hotly-anticipated second album I’m Doing It Again Baby! (Fri., April 12), Norwegian singer-songwriter girl in the red hits History. The artist has recently opened for the likes of Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish and has built up a strong fan base along the way as she looks to catapult herself to the next level.

The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady

When: Thurs., May 2, Fri., May 3 & Sat., May 4
Where: The Great Hall (May 2 & 3), 1087 Queen St. W.; The Concert Hall (May 4), 888 Yonge St.
Genre: Rock
Why you should go: Toronto loves these Minnesota rockers playing a run of dates featuring tracks from their recent album, The Price of Progress, while also delivering, “intimate storytellers-style performance featuring unique takes of songs in the catalogue.”

Teezo Touchdown

When: Tue., May 7
Where: Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne St.
Genre: Alternative, Indie
Why you should go: Following his breakout feature on Travis Scott’s Utopia album, Teezo Touchdown has become a big name in both the hip hop and indie scenes. The Texan has received co-signs from the likes of Tyler the Creator and Drake and is celebrated for his unique approach to music and creativity, which is something he will undoubtedly bring to his live show in May.

Kamasi Washington

When: Tue., May 7
Where: History, 1663 Queen St. E.
Genre: Jazz
Why you should go: The jazz multi-instrumentalist comes in support of his upcoming album Fearless Movement, which features collabs with Thundercat, André 3000 and George Clinton.

Art of Time Ensemble

When: Thurs., May 9, Fri, May 10 & Sun, May 11
Where: Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W.
Genre: Folk
Why you should go: Joni Mitchell gets the ATE treatment with Both Sides Now, a celebration of the legend’s greatest works. Performers include ATE regulars plus Hawksley Workman, Sarah Slean, Gregory Hoskins, Jessica Mitchell and other special guests.

Paul Langlois Band and the Skydiggers

When: Fri., May 10
Where: Concert Hall, 888 Yonge St.
Genre: Alt-rock
Why you should go: Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois tours his ban’s excellent new album with buddies the Skydiggers for a night that promises a mix of nostalgic hits and fresh tracks.

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