The Shortlist

NEXT’s picks for the top 10 things to do in Canada for the month of February, 2021. Live streaming is back with a full slate of fresh shows including: Terra Lightfoot, Blue Rodeo, Birds of Bellwoods and more.

Terra Lightfoot posing with guitar

No. 1

Lightfoot Lights Up Livestream Return

Terra Lightfoot
Horseshoe Hootenanny
Friday, Apr. 30 / 7:30 PM ET
Livestream / $21
Horeseshoetavern.com

 

Remember when we learned to love – like? – music live streams, the real ones where the artists actually played live? And then stricter lockdown took even those away?

 

Live stream concerts are back big across Canada, often from inside the still-closed venues we love – and miss madly.

 

Talented singer-songwriter Terra Lightfoot joins a list of great acts streaming this month that includes: Blue Rodeo, Chad Van Gaalen, Birds of Bellwoods, and more. Lightfoot takes the stage of Toronto’s beloved Horseshoe Tavern, as part of their Hootenanny Series of audience-free, multi-camera shows.

 

Although there has been no promise of gong banging, Lightfoot has promised a night of “fuzz,” as she plays T. Rex’s album The Slider in full.

 

Other Hootenanny acts from the Shoe include: Birds of Bellwoods (Friday, Apr. 16) and Julian Taylor Band (Saturday, May 1).

 

Chad VanGaalen sitting outside with dog

No. 2

Chad VanGaalen Livestream

Date: April 8
Time: 7pm ET/PT
Virtual Event
Price: $17.46
noonchorus.com/sled-island-chad-vangaalen

 

As he bravely begins gardening season anew, Calgary multimedia auteur and musician VanGaalen celebrates the release of his fresh new album, World’s Most Stressed Out Gardener with a live performance. (Virtually) inviting listeners into his Yoko Eno studio in partnership with Sled Island Music & Arts Festival, he’ll perform the songs that sprouted up from the vestiges of last year’s harvest—raw, organic, full of found sound and psychedelic sonics. With any luck, he’ll serve his crop of spontaneous folk songs with a side of gardening tips for the green thumbs in the crowd.

Blue Rodeo bandmates

No. 3

Blue Rodeo Livestream

Friday, Apr. 30 / 8 PM ET
Livestream From Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall
$40 / bluerodeo.com/tour

 

Canadian roots-rock legends Blue Rodeo are one of the country’s most beloved touring acts – but, locked down and unable to play. Watch them blast off their cabin fever with a live show from one of their favourite venues, Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall.

 

This special show kicks off with a pre-concert chat with the band followed by a post-gig Q&A. Blue Rodeo buddy, multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Bowskill (The Sheepdogs) is a special guest.

Collage of albums from musicians at showdown

No. 4

Cancon Music Showdown

Canada Listens
Date: April 12–15
Time: 8 AM ADT And 5 PM ADT Daily
Type: CBC Music Mornings and CBC Music’s Drive Radio Shows

 

What’s the one album you’ll defend till the very end? CBC Music asks a panel of five celebrity advocates this very question, as they each champion one Canadian album during four, hour-long radio debates – like Canada Reads, for tunes!

 

Authors, podcasters, comedians and writers like Refinery29’s Kathleen Newman- Bremang and Andrew Phung of Kim’s Convenience promote great Canadian classics like Kardinal Offishall’s Quest For Fire: Firestarter, Vol. 1 and Joyful Rebellion by Toronto’s own k-os. The stakes are high. One album gets eliminated each day until the winner is announced on April 15. So— who are you rooting for?

Mt. Joy bandmates posing outside

No. 5

Mt. Joy Livestream

Date: April 8
Time: 9PM EDT
Type: Virtual
Price: $9.99

 

Perhaps most recognized for their hippie road trip classic Astrovan, infectious folk-rock outfit Mt. Joy beam an energetic live set from sunny California via Bandsintown. Come prepared to howl along with their signature shouting choruses, sway with the soulful numbers and ask those burning questions during the Q&A period.

 

Cherry Blossoms blooming

No. 6

Think Pink

Cherry Blossoms
Date: April-Early May
Viewing / Free

 

For just a few weeks in April, Toronto and Vancouver are transformed into cotton- candy wonderlands by hundreds and hundreds of cherry blossom trees. These are some of the most beautiful sights the cities have to offer, and it’s a pretty COVID-safe hangout, too, so be sure to catch them before they’re gone! In Vancouver, cherry blossoms bloom all month; in Toronto, see them in the last week of April.

 

Toronto blossoms can be seen in High Park and on Toronto Island and Vancouver blossoms can be seen on streets and parks everywhere across the city (we recommend West 22nd Ave). A series of cherry blossom events, games, and virtual tours can be seen by people across the country at vcbf.ca.

Haim sitting in chairs

No. 7

Haim Livestream

Date: April 17 / Time: 9PM EDT
Type: Virtual/ Price: $9.99

 

Culling the best of 70s rock, 80s synth pop and 90s r&b, sister trio Haim delivers on their cool and confident sound with a livestream of their latest release, women in music pt. Iii. A ticket might even unlock the chance to speak to the sisters—they’re hosting a Q&A period as they stream from their native Los Angeles.

 

Art from poster for Calgary Underground Film Festival

No. 8

18th Annual Calgary Underground Film Festival

Date: April 23–May 2
Time: Streaming On-Demand Virtual
Price: $10/Film

 

With more selection than a Blockbuster on a Friday night (RIP), Calgary Underground Film Festival presents 10 days of films that range from the juicy to the side-splitting to the downright frightening. Luckily, VCR not required: stream over 30 features, including shorts packages, panel discussions and Q&As with directors, from the comfort of your own home. Crowning off the festival is an hours-long Saturday morning retro cartoonathon— better get some sugary cereals and buttery popcorn teed up for those watch parties.

Screenshot from Rockfield

No. 9

Music Makes it at Hot Docs Fest

Hot Docs Festival
Thursday, April 29 – Sunday, May 9
Stream Online Anytime During Festival Dates
$13 (Individual Films); $259 (Full Festival Pass)
hotdocs.ca

 

The festival’s hundreds of films feature many great music docs, including Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm, about a Welsh hideaway that spawned music by Robert Plant, Ozzy Osbourne and Liam Gallagher, and 7 Years of Lukas Graham, chronicling the meteoric rise of this Grammy-nominated Danish singer—and the untold backstory.

 

AGO April Thomas painting

No. 10

April Break: Spring Into Art

Date: April 12 – 16
Time: 2PM – 5PM ET
Virtual Livestream / Free

 

Three cultural powers join forces for fun as the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Canadian Opera Company are partnering to offer five days of free, live virtual programming available from coast to coast. Events are family friendly but are sure to be just as enriching for adults as they are for kids: you can spend the week learning ballet with professional dancers, making DIY zines with a comic artist, learning new art forms with the AGO staff, and more. Find details and go to events at ago.ca/april-break.

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