Our list of the best holiday happenings includes the Drake Hotel’s What’s In The Box music festival, a Santa party at the Mod Club, and more.
December 21: STAIN presents The End of the World Punk Party
With various acts. Velvet Underground, 510 Queen Street West. $7, $5 with canned good. Doors at 9 p.m.
In the year that was 2012, Pussy Riot brought out the punk in everyone, myself included. And there are still stands to be taken. On December 24, for example, the Moscow City Court will review the appeal ruling that classified four Pussy Riot videos as “extremist.” So, in punk rock solidarity, head to STAIN, the new-ish live music/avant-garde arts fusion night at Velvet Underground. Live music by After The Empire, HRS LVR, and Tight Nuns. Plus a comedy warm-up by Sandro Veri, late night striptease by Paige Turner and friends, “XXXmas burlesque” by Red Zeppelin and wayyyy more. Complete details here.
December 21: Course of Time
With various DJs. Supermarket Restaurant and Bar, 268 Augusta Ave. $5 for the first 100 people, more after. Doors at 10 p.m.
Course of Time has been, and will always be, a place for music pilgrims and their religious experiences. For their 19th edition, they’ve planned a very special evening in honour of the End of Time: “Man has tipped the hourglass and searched far and wide for something meaningful in the eerie landscape of sound…we celebrate the dawn of a new era in musical consciousness.” Poetic, isn’t it? (For Christmas, I’d like to get stoned with whoever wrote that, FYI.) This bill is a beautiful selection of Toronto locals like John Roman and resident Mr. Charlton. Find complete details here.
December 22: UK Underground 10th Annual Santa Party
With various DJs. Virgin Mobile Mod Club, 722 College St. $10. Doors at 10 p.m.
This one is all about getting tastefully shitfaced. I mean, you probably don’t work on Monday, right? So you can feel a-okay about skipping brunch and wasting your Sunday hung over in bed. Residents Tigerblood, MRK (who recently helped launch that new graphic novel about Toronto DJs saving the world) will bring the indie/electro/dubstep/rock realness with the help of special performances from Parallels and Viva Mars. $4 shots and $4.75 bar rail drinks all night. Oh, and dress up as Santa (or one of his helpers) and get in free before midnight. Complete wish lists here.
December 26 to 30: What’s In The Box 2012, a work week of music
With various acts. The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen Street West. $5 at the door. Doors nightly at 8 p.m.
If you haven’t heard of The Drake Hotel’s yearly What’s In The Box series, it’s really quite simple: five nights, five acts, five bucks. It doubles as both a filler of your “boxing week void” and a “mini music fest” in the Underground space. And the lineup is pretty solid. On Day 2, for example, look for tunes by Born Ruffians’ Luke Lalonde followed by a DJ set from Diamond Rings. Austra’s Katie Stelmanis closes Day 3 with a DJ set, too. On Day 4, BADBADNOTGOOD and TIFF favourite itzsoweezee will keep you partying right through to New Year’s Eve. Full listings here.
December 26: Baila Con Gusto, a night of salsa
Dovercourt House, 805 Dovercourt Road. $10 online, $15 at the door. Doors at 7 p.m. for lessons.
When was the last time you went salsa dancing? Nights out like this aren’t exactly a massive trend here in Hogtown, but they’ve definitely got some untapped potential. (Look at Lula Lounge on any Saturday night, for example.) Baila Con Gusto, then, is for any and all skill levels, “an event from a dance to the dancers.” With three rooms and even more DJs repping MTL to the 416 and beyond, you can witness three styles of Latin hip movements. Bonus: arrive early with your ticket in hand for lessons until 10 p.m. Complete details and times here. (And BTW, take it from a guy who grew up at these parties: it is as sexy as you think it is.)
December 27: DJ Craig Dominic’s 5-year anniversary
Crews and Tangos, 508 Church Street. Free. Doors at 10 p.m.
There was a time when I lived to dance at Crews and Tangos on the weekend, and it was largely due to DJ Craig Dominic, one of the first DJs I pestered to play some obscure album track, a too-new YouTube remix, or Xtina’s “Dirrty.” And, wouldn’t you know, he’s now celebrating five years of making queens like me scream and shout. The boy knows his tunes and how to celebrate, and he’ll be giving out physical copies of his legit mixes along with five special gift packs to mark the occasion. Dominic—who has spun everywhere on Church—made me believe you could still dance in the Village for as long as I did, and he’s always a reason to keep going back. Here’s to another five years, boo.
December 29: TRASH! A queer dance party
Henhouse, 1532 Dundas St. W. Free. Doors at 10 p.m.
By this point, you may be ready to never go out again. Or, you may just be getting started. To warm up for NYE, hit DJ Joe Blow’s never-fail dance party at Henhouse, a bar located in the littlest, still-secret section of the Dundas West strip. It’s a sweaty, messy, easy-going, good time. Plus, Joe will (maybe) play whatever crazy stuff you ask for. Like this track below, please? RSVP here.