Category Archives: Reviews

Kensington Dispatches: Girls, Gays, Theys – Supporting queer artists during pride month

Kensington Dispatches: Girls, Gays, Theys – Supporting queer artists during pride month

Welcome to the 4th in our new weekly-ish series on weekend nightlife in Kensington Market. Every weekend, I head to Kensington Market and the nearby area to hear what’s playing from the numerous bars and clubs in the area. Last Sunday, I was the sound tech for Girls, Gays and Theys at Supermarket. 

– Lawrence Belanger, Contributing Editor

JUNE 16 – Fans supporting queer artists and music gathered at Supermarket Bar & Variety last Sunday for a celebration of LGBT pride and emerging talent. Lindrena Elise, Cameron Tania, and Alexa Artzy, three local queer artists, lit up the stage at Supermarket in Kensington Market on Augusta Avenue. The event, organized by Artzy, brought together a diverse lineup of performers and a supportive audience, demonstrating the demand for a vibrant, queer-centered, music scene in Toronto. 

As the sound engineer for the night, I had the privilege of ensuring the bands all sounded at their apex.

Speaking after the show, Alexa told Blast: “I wanted to put on a show with early-career, queer artists like myself. I think pride is so important, and you can really bring in a lot of welcoming, supportive folks, so truly there’s no better time to put on a show that introduces people to the next generation of talent!”

The night kicked off with Lindrena Elise, a solo performer whose voice, paired with her guitar and piano, captivated the audience. Switching between the two instruments for backing throughout her set, she told stories about her life, and played covers of her inspirations. Her soulful melodies and heartfelt lyrics set the tone for an intimate and engaging evening.

Photos of Lindrena Elise’s performance:

Lindrena 1
Image courtesy of Alexa Artzy.
Orientation: 1
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Next up was Cameron Tania, who for the “first time,” was joined with a “full band, having performed solo exclusively up to this point. Their lineup included Donte Brown on keys, Hannah Martin on drums, Deanna Mann on bass, and Rosie Wu on electric guitar. Brown, Martin, and Mann also contributed backing vocals. Cameron Tania delivered a powerful, empathetic, performance, their vocals harmonizing beautifully with the band. 

Photos of Cameron Tania’s performance:

Cameron 1
Photo Credit: Erlisa M. Photography
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Closing out the Night with the Headliner

The night concluded with Alexa Artzy, the driving force behind the event. Despite being her first headline performance, Artzy’s stage presence was undeniably skilled, effortlessly connecting with the audience and making everyone feel like they were part of an intimate gathering of friends. “That was actually only the band and I’s second show, but I’ve been playing in bands since I was a teenager,” she revealed. “I released my first song in 2022 and played my first show – just an acoustic set – last May!”

“Performance-wise, I went to school for musical theatre, so I lived in that world for a bit before moving over to music,” she shared. This was reflected in the depth and versatility of her stage presence. Artzy’s band featured Sai Usin Rojas on guitar, Curtis Gutenbeek on drums, and once again Deanna Mann on bass, this time with additional duties on the synth. Their cohesive performance was a testament to the band’s collective talent and synergy, leaving a lasting impression on the audience.

Photos of Alexa Artzy’s performance:

This night of queer musical talent was more than just a concert; it was a celebration of diversity, inclusion, and the power of music to bring people together. As Artzy aptly put it, there truly is no better time than pride to introduce audiences to the next generation of talent. This event was a shining example of the vibrant and supportive queer music community in Toronto, promising a bright future for these talented artists.

You can follow all of last Sunday’s performers on Instagram, where links to stream/purchase their music are available.

@lindrena.elise.music

@camerontaniamusic

@alexaartzy

Kensington Dispatches: Sundays on Augusta

Kensington Dispatches: Sundays on Augusta

Welcome to the 3rd in our new weekly-ish series on the weekend nightlife in Kensington Market. Every weekend, I head to Kensington Market and walk down Augusta Ave and the nearby area to hear what’s playing from the numerous bars and clubs in the area. – Lawrence Belanger, Contributing Editor June 9 – Like most… Continue Reading

Jazz From Another Realm

Jazz From Another Realm

With a drum beat resembling a strange funeral march, my mind told me to shut up and open up. We were about to go somewhere. The Emmet Ray is known for bringing in different styles of jazz and Lina Allemano’s Titanium Riot truly defies a category. The music seems to be based on a purely… Continue Reading

Progressive Rockpile

Progressive Rockpile

When you think of the Rockpile out in Etobicoke, normally you think Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Well you can now think Progressive Rock. Neurotic Entertainment brought out some new sounds for this heavy Rock Crowd. The good news is these bands brought a lot of heaviness to the stage but just with a lot… Continue Reading

Willowdale Rocks

Willowdale Rocks

Hey Toronto, you may not know this but Willowdale is out there rocking without you.  Lee Lifeson Park just hosted the first of a series of concerts in the park every Thursday starting at 7pm.  It happens at 223 Gladys Allison Place, North York M2N4T5 This series has a host named David Barrett who is… Continue Reading

Kensington Dispatches: A tropical start to the summer with DJ Oreku at Handlebar

Kensington Dispatches: A tropical start to the summer with DJ Oreku at Handlebar

Contributor’s Note: Every weekend, I head to Kensington Market and walk down Augusta Ave and the nearby area to hear what’s playing from the numerous bars and clubs in the area. This time, I focus on the recent DJ Oreku show at Handlebar, which itself is rapidly becoming a go-to spot for me. – Lawrence… Continue Reading

Koji Hori goes solo

Koji Hori goes solo

Press Vinyl Café was lucky enough to host Koji Hori for a rare solo appearance . Koji has been, like all jazz artists playing in various bands over the years. Koji felt it was time to start venturing out on his own and begin that journey of being comfortable in the main spotlight. Remember a… Continue Reading

Gary La Rocca- Reclamation

Gary La Rocca- Reclamation

With a haunting chant, Gary La Rocca begins his mystic journey into the realm of openness and healing and some of the characters that helped developed his life. The music is built on instrumental ideas that tell stories and leave the mood open to your interpretation. Rosewood Ramble for example has a very gentle and… Continue Reading