Ed O’Brien makes his solo debut at The Great Hall

Photo by @concertfitzzz on Instagram

Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien graced our Main Hall stage on Friday February 7th for his solo debut. EOB performed tracks from his forthcoming album Earth, and was received with open arms by a sold-out crowd.

Eager Radiohead fans were lining up as early as 7:30AM to secure the best view of the show.

Perched at the front of the line was Lynn Bernardi, a fan from Detroit who met EOB for the first time following the show.

Bernardi wrote, “I’ve been seeing Radiohead shows for 19 years, they are my favorite band of all time and I’ve never had the opportunity to meet anyone from the band, much less have a leisurely chat. Our group has been going to shows together for a few years now and it made it even more meaningful that we all got to meet him together. I just want to say thanks to [The Great Hall team].


Press: Red Bull, River Tiber and Charlotte Day Wilson in Concert

Red Bull Music recaps the Toronto artists’ sold-out hometown show at The Great Hall, from sound check to conclusion.

“For River Tiber and Charlotte Day Wilson, it was time for something big. Both just came off the road – River Tiber touring overseas, Charlotte Day Wilson stateside with Local Natives – and both were overdue on a hometown headlining show. Riding a similar tide of critical and popular acclaim from their most recent releases, it was time for Toronto’s next-in-line to solidify their mark on the city’s landscape with a statement. For the artists, a co-headlining show was just that statement.

The date: December 3. The location: The Great Hall. The atmosphere: unparalleled.

Click here for an intimate take on the evening through resident photographer Devon Little’s lens. If you’re in Toronto, check out Little’s collaborative show with photographer Keavan Yazdani featuring over 250 photos from the last 12 months in the life of River Tiber and Charlotte Day Wilson. The show runs from December 6 through December 10 at DAIS.” VIEW FULL ALBUM

Press: Lithium Magazine, CRX — The Great Hall Toronto

CRX is the less obvious (but in my opinion, far superior) side project that has spun out of New York five-piece garage rockers The Strokes. Formed by guitarist Nick Valensi, the band features Ralph Alexander of The Dose, Richie Follin of Guards, along with Darian Zahedi and Jon Safley of The Reflections. Unlike the solo albums from Julian Casablancas and Albert Hammond, Jr. (which are decent, but ultimately reside in the nether regions of my basement music horde – unplayed), CRX is a 10 song, 30-minute opus that hits the listener like a bucket of cold water in the face. In the weeks since it’s release, I’ve played it way more than everything by Casablancas and Hammond, Jr. combined.

This evening’s Toronto performance was very much like the recently released CRX debut album, entitled New Skin; It was rife with wonderful uptempo buzz-saw guitar riffs, boasted an excellent array of original songs, ended too soon and ultimately left everyone wanting more. Not a bad way to deliver an album, and not a bad way to end a show, really.

Cast amidst some muted lighting (hardly any front lights and green, blue, red and yellow back flood lighting), The five members of CRX played all but one of the songs on their new album out of sequence, stopping briefly between songs to chat a bit with the audience. Nick commented on the venue, how happy he was to be back in Canada, touched on the US Presidential Election results, and joked a bit about their tour-mates, Streets of Laredo and The Gloomies.

Streets of Laredo (New York by way of New Zealand) and The Gloomies (California) both offered up quality sets this evening. Streets of Laredo, an uptempo folk band, heavy on the percussion, put on a cool 30 minute set of music. The band are on our very own Dine Alone Records, and were quite entertaining to watch and hear. The Gloomies took the stage at 8pm all decked out in white pants and shirts and played a half hour of fresh indie-pop, rife with some cool guitar riffs and a vibe that can only come from the hot southern California locale.

This was an up-close-and-personal evening featuring three cool bands in a lovely venue for not a lot of money! A great evening of music – I’m feeling a post-concert glow today that only comes from a winning evening of live music.” By Mike Bax SET LIST & SHOW PHOTOS

Press: NOW Magazine, Canadian Acts Come Home for the Holidays

From NOW Magazine’s round-up of holiday 2016 shows in Toronto…

“Many musicians call Toronto home, but many others leave to pursue their dreams in Los Angeles, London or Berlin. That’s why statutory holidays are a great time for local music fans: everyone comes home for a festive family dinner, and many of them book a gig or two.

This year, Toronto’s music calendar in the lead-up to Christmas is looking especially busy. Jason Collett is bringing his weekly Basement Revue series to the Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington) for a 10th year. To mark the milestone, Collett once again hosts a star-studded special edition of the part-music, part-literary variety show at the Great Hall (1087 Queen West) on December 22.

…Non-holiday local shows happening in December include rising R&B talents River Tiber and Charlotte Day Wilson’s co-headliner at the Great Hall on December 3, Etobicoke indie rockers Rheostatics’ gig at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West) on December 9, and Holy Fuck’s December 17 date at Lee’s Palace…” READ FULL STORY

Press: Live In Limbo, RY X At The Great Hall

“Australian singer-songwriter RY X played his first ever show in Canada at The Great Hall in Toronto, on Sunday October 23rd.

Opening band was Montreal-based band, Ghostly Kisses; this was also their first show in Toronto. Ghost Kisses is an indie-electronica band consisting of three people. Vocalist Margaux Sauvé graced the audience of The Great Hall with her fluid and stunning vocals, with a voice similar to Sarah McLachlan. Not only did she have a beautiful voice, but she is also an excellent violin player. Each band member perpetuated emotion and passion into every song as it was visible in how they played, and the expression on their faces. They closed their set with a more raw cover of “Back To Black” by Amy Winehouse, in which the audience enjoyed and sang along.

After about an approximate half-hour wait, the lights dimmed and The Great Hall was completely pitch black and silent. Light entered the room as the stage door opened, and audience members began to cheer. RY X entered the stage and began the set with playing “Shortline”. Following this song, Ry explained how this was his very first show in Canada and how he felt so welcome coming to Toronto. Furthermore, he spoke about how he loves the energy and culture in the city. In the beginning of the set, audience energy really wasn’t that great which was shocking and unfortunate. However, as the show went on more and more people began to immerse themselves into the set.

What makes RY X such a successful artist is his belief in not utilizing laptops for live performances that have an electronic style to them. He has always had hints of electronics within his music however, more-so with his new album. His band only comprised of 3 people, and they did not utilize any sort of pre-recorded sounds; every aspect of the performance was raw.” READ FULL STORY

Press: Spill Magazine, Joseph Live at The Great Hall

Only hours after taping their The Ellen Show appearance and hitting over 5 million listens for a single song on Spotify, Joseph shared the new music that is bringing them growing acclaim, and that singular sister act sound, with a captivated The Great Hall audience including Spill Magazine.

Joseph brought their signature, intricate harmonies to warm an otherwise chilly October Tuesday evening at Toronto’s newly renovated Great Hall on October 25, 2016. It was their only Canadian stop on their latest tour. The audience, mesmerized, sang along to the rising Portland indie rock trio’s songs from their second album, I’m Alone, No You’re Not (ATO Records). Brian Kesley and Will Tendy backed Joseph sisters Natalie, Meegan and Allie Closner. William Wild from Knoxville, Tennessee was the opening act.

Natalie Closner, the guitarist-singer-songwriter and eldest sister of the talented family trio grounded the powerful band with her energetic, foot-stomping rhythms and edgy vocals. The twins, Meeg (often centre stage) and Allie, along with Natalie filled the venue’s cathedral ceilings with their soaring, ethereal harmonies that have earned Joseph its much-deserved breakout success.

The Great Hall stage recalled a venue in Nashville – the city where Natalie honed her musical craft. The concert’s sequence of songs, including a cover of “Moonlight Mile” by The Rolling Stones, blended seamlessly while building toward the group’s current hit single “White Flag.” Joseph’s encore closed with two members of William Wild joining to sing “Sweet Dreams,” a song dedicated to the sisters’ mother. Near the end of the show, Natalie explained that Toronto was their first and only show without their drummer, who unfortunately got turned away at the border due to Visa issues; his absence was hardly noticed, however, due to the band’s tight musicianship.” READ FULL STORY 

Get Spill Magazine’s full interview with Natalie Closner of Joseph here.

Press: The Toronto Star, Shawn Mendes Wants to Be…

The Toronto Star Shawn Mendes’ interview about his pop-up show return to The Great Hall and his Greater Toronto go-tos.

“It still smells like cedar at the newly remodeled concert venue The Great Hall as a giddy crowd of nearly 500 kids — ranging from college-aged cheering squads to actual children accompanied by parents — await Shawn Mendes.

The 18-year-old Pickering native turned international guitar-pop sensation will perform a 45-minute showcase for a mix of social-media stars, contest winners and diehards who lined up outside the venue — some overnight.

When he takes the stage in jeans and a T-shirt, he’s greeted by screams and smartphone salutes. The hashtag #IlluminateToronto will soon become the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter across Canada.

The crowd at the Queen West venue, last Saturday, knows songs from the new album Illuminate by heart, even though it was released only eight days earlier, becoming Mendes’s second to debut at No. 1 on both the Canadian SoundScan and Billboard Top 200 Albums charts.

There’s a more muted response, however, to musical improvisations, such as the band’s mini-jam during new song “Ruin.” While a Mendes show is a tightly choreographed affair, down to the timing of when he shouts “Sing!” this looser style of musicianship seems to be his long-term ambition.

In an interview in his dressing room that afternoon, Mendes says he long promised friends he’d break into a guitar solo on tour, ultimately riffing off script during a show in Vancouver. He’s named John Mayer as a musical hero throughout the promotional campaign for Illuminate, specifically Mayer’s 2006 album Continuum that features “Waiting on the World to Change” and came out when Mendes was 8.” READ FULL STORY

First rehearsal space

The Great Hall, where he returned for the #IlluminateToronto showcase. “I remember standing on this stage for the first time meeting my band and figuring out where I wanted to go in terms of live performance.”’


Press: Billboard, Shawn Mendes at Toronto’s Great Hall

Shawn Mendes Treats Hometown to Intimate Show at Toronto’s Great Hall
On October 1, 2016, The Great Hall was again honoured to host Toronto signer-songwriter, Vine sensation and rising global star Shawn Mendes.

The eighteen-year-old returned for an intimate fan event in our Main Hall, before he heads on his first headlining world tour. His new sophomore album, Illuminate, has already rocketed to his second No. 1 Album on the Billboard 200.

As Shawn Mendes put it himself when explaining about his connection to The Great Hall as a venue:
“Me and my band rehearsed here for the first time ever back before the MMVAS [MuchMusic Video Awards] and I performed ‘Stitches’ for the first time,” he told the crowd of 500 lucky contest winners, whose female quotient screamed at pretty much any opportunity. “So it’s cool to be back here. I remember standing on this stage for the first time meeting my band and figuring out where I wanted to go in terms of live performance. It’s really nice to have it all sorted right now.”

And a bit more from Shawn Mendes Billboard latest concert review, by Canadian correspondent Karen Bliss:
“Over 125 years old, the historic venue, with its built-in stage and horseshoe balcony, was mostly filled with kids and their parents. While waiting for Mendes to begin promptly at 7 p.m., a little boy skipped around a column and a girl braided another’s hair. Teenage girls were anchored in front of the stage, with screams starting as soon as Mendes appeared with his acoustic guitar for ‘Something Big’ off his 2015 chart-topping debut album, Handwritten.” READ FULL STORY

More Shawn showing love for The Great Hall >
Toronto Sun: Fans show love for Mendes
The Globe and Mail: Shawn Mendes on his favourite places in Toronto


Please Vote: NOW Toronto Readers’ Choice Awards 2016

In the midst of our restoration and renovation, The Great Hall is very honoured to have been nominated again as a 2016 NOW Toronto Readers’ Choice Awards finalist, in the “Music: Best Concert Hall” category.

You pick the best of the city! It’s time to vote for The Great Hall and the other best of Toronto nominees across 6 categories and 180+ awards.

After getting more than 20,000 nominations for the best personalities and businesses across the city, NOW Toronto has posted the final contenders for NOW Readers Choice to be named “Toronto’s best” – as chosen by you!

To vote for The Great Hall and all your other favourites click here — and be sure to scroll down to the Best Concert Hall category.

You can vote for every single sub-category if you’d like. This is the NOW Readers Choice poll after all: you are the expert. Share what you think should be recognized in Toronto and be sure to promote your picks on social media with the hashtag #NOWReadersChoice.

NOW Toronto Readers’ Choice Awards voting closes on September 16, 2016. Winners will be announced in  early November. Rock the vote NOW Toronto!

And if you haven’t been to The Great Hall lately, be sure to check our event calendar and pick up tickets for an upcoming concert or show to enjoy our four venues with all new A/V, air conditioning, bars, restored heritage décor and accessible facilities.

Press: The Toronto Star, Julia Holter keeps us lost in her wilderness

The Toronto Star previews Julia Holter’s sold-out March 4, 2016 performance at The Great Hall.

“You can always count on Julia Holter for a change in direction. Her fourth album, last year’s Have You in My Wilderness, marks a notable departure from her earlier, more avant-garde work. Rather than being centralized around a theme, like 2011’s Tragedy (the Euripedes play Hippolytus), 2012’s Ekstasis (author Virginia Woolf, in part) and 2013’s Loud City Song (the 1958 movie musical Gigi), this collection of ethereal electronic-fueled songs is simply that: a collection of ethereal electronic-fuelled songs.

Holter, who will perform at the Great Hall on Friday and whose album topped a number of year-end Top 10 lists, says some of the compositions were simply awaiting proper fermentation before their release was considered.

“I started writing these songs a while ago and I guess this album was asking to be made because . . . I guess I just wanted to make sort of like a collection of ’60s pop ballads or something . . . just love songs, basically,” a distracted-sounding Holter said over the phone, somewhere between Ohio and Minneapolis.

“I didn’t try to do it for awhile, but I think that my projects are kind of like in different realms. It didn’t make sense to do a record of ballads while I was doing Loud City Song or Tragedy: those were more immediate concerns at the time as I already had a collection of songs that fit on those records.”

Naming three ballads, “Sea Calls Me Home,” “Betsy on the Roof” and the title track as the catalysts to completing Have You in My Wilderness, Holter rejects the notion that her newer material is more “accessible.”’ READ FULL STORY

For the full line-up of current events, concerts and shows at The Great Hall, click calendar.