A sad thing that has been happening in Toronto over the last few years. The arts/music scene has been taking a hit due to the crazy surge in rental and housing prices. Many bars are closing and it is getting harder and harder to survive in Toronto as an artist of any level due to this. One thing I truly love about this city is or should I say did love about this city was its artistic diversity. Sadly for Toronto, much of that has up and moved to Hamilton (amazing for Hamilton). Not only does Hamilton have a growing artists community, it also has a growing Rockabilly scene, something that used to be a much larger scene here in T.O. Don’t get me wrong, our Rockabilly scene is still here and it’s still amazing, but it needs to receive the love it once did. Let’s start giving it back the attention it deserves.
Anyone who is or was into that scene will recognize the bands and places I have listed below. By no means are the lists below complete, but they are the popular choices and I wanted to give you a saucey taste of what is out there. If we start supporting these artists, stores, and venues again, the way we did in the late 90s and early 2000s, we will help them survive and bring them back to the popularity they had back then! We could start a revival!
I used to head out to the Cadillac Lounge or The Dakota to catch bands such as the Royal Crowns, Ginger St. James and Alistair Christl on the regular. I would be at the Black Dice Cafe on many occasions and I loved spending a steamy night at a burlesque show. Like many, and I’m not sure why I did, I’m just as guilty, as I stepped away from that scene. I’ve been feeling nostalgic for it again. I’m not sure if it’s due to all of the Wanda Jackson albums my fella brings home or that my love for vintage everything has peaked again. Either way, I would love to see this scene thrive again, as it used to. We recently saw Wanda and I was actually surprised that there wasn’t more of a Rockabilly presence in the crowd.
I would love to see the Rockabilly scene in all its glory again! Get your poodle skirt and saddle shoes on. Get that pompadour high and let’s get ourselves out to a night of squealing and dancing to that killer Rockabilly sound!
Well known musicians
Christian DeArmond — https://christiand.ca/
Dodge Fiasco — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVljgXcCsSA
Ginger St. James — http://www.gingerstjames.com/
Hellbent Rockers (Hamilton, but play Toronto) http://hellbentrockers.com/live.html
The Greasemarks — https://www.facebook.com/Greasemarks/?fref=mentions or http://www.greasemarks.com/
The Hellbent Rockers — http://hellbentrockers.com/
The Millwinders — https://millwinders.bandcamp.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/The-Millwinders-333439737373/
The Royal Crowns — http://www.theroyalcrowns.ca/
The Swingin’ Blackjacks — https://www.facebook.com/swinginblackjacks/
Rockabilly Bars (or bars that hold Rockabilly events)
Burdock — http://burdockto.com/
Cadillac Lounge — http://www.cadillaclounge.com/
Castros Lounge — http://castroslounge.com/
Cherry Cola’s Rock n’ Rolla Cabaret Lounge — https://www.facebook.com/cherrycolasrocknrolla/
Disgraceland (Bar and Grill) – https://www.disgraceland.ca/
Grossman’s Tavern — www.grossmanstavern.com/
Gun, Rod and Barbers — rodgunandbarbers.com/
Horseshoe Tavern — http://www.horseshoetavern.com/
Junction City Music Hall — www.junctioncitymusichall.com/
Revival Bar — www.revivalbar.com/
The Black Dice — http://www.blackdicecafe.com
The Dakota — thedakotatavern.com/
The Hole in the Wall — https://www.facebook.com/HoleInTheWallTO/
The Local — www.thelocalpub.ca/
The Monarch Tavern — http://www.themonarchtavern.com/
Bill Hicks Bar – 946 Queen Street East
Bovine Sex Club – 542 Queen Street West
Miss Thing – 1279 Queen Street West
Shameful Tiki Room — 1378 Queen Street West
The Shore Leave -1175 Danforth Avenue
Where to buy clothing
Black Daffodil — 3097 Dundas Street West
Doll Factory by Damzels — 394 Roncesvalles Avenue
Rosie the Rebel — 604 Queen Street West
Social Media Pages
Toronto Rockabilly — https://www.facebook.com/torontorockabilly/
Toronto Rockabilly/Surf/Burlesque Community —
RnR Dancing in Toronto and beyond — https://www.facebook.com/groups/120849821417387
Vintage Society — http://www.vintagesociety.ca
2 thoughts on “Rock-a-long To That Rockabilly Sound”
Great post! I will link it to my blog post on the Rockabilly scene in Toronto I did a few years ago. The scene has changed a bit and is taken on different roles. Like in the Rock n roll dancers at Soda Pop Hop dance studio and even in the Lindy Hoppers (like myself) in the Swing dance scene. IThe Wanda Jackson turn out I have a few theories on personally on the low turnout from the Rockabilly scene which we can chat about in person sometime soon (tiki!).
Also another good link for Rockabilly/rock n roll shows in Toronto and beyond is my friends fb group. She is very active in updating it. Here is the link.
Toronto Vintage society (I do the social media for them) also shares Rockabilly events on our Thursday roundups when they are on. There is also a huge directory of vintage shops where you can buy authentic 50s pierces (like Gadabout..my fav!!) http://www.vintagesociety.ca
Great post 🙂
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Amazing! I will add those links as well. Let’s get together soon!