music toronto

Live music came back to Toronto over the weekend and it was glorious

Outdoor performances have been cautiously resuming in Toronto along with the opening of patios while we're in the grey zone.

Live music isn't allowed on patios due to restrictions, but performers have still been finding ways to safely bring their entertainment to the streets without trying to incur the wrath of bylaw officers.

"Authorities understand how swept away people can become. It could lead to singing and dancing, which is also not allowed as this may increase the risk of spread," Shamez Amlani of Drom Taberna told theGentries.

"The type of music as well has bearing on transmission, so horns and wind instruments for example are forbidden as the player's saliva could become airborne and travel much further than the safe two metres we have all become accustomed to keeping."

Live music has been integral to the European-inspired venue and restaurant since their opening, and they've found a way to relaunch their patio with the performance element that has brought so much life to their space by allowing brass bands, Balkan musicians and gypsy swing players to play just outside the premises.

"The one thing that people miss the most during this last year is live music. It has the ability to connect directly to our emotions transcending the boundaries of language," says Amlani.

"The positive feedback loop between performer and audience elevates the communal experience to a spiritual level, and being able to re-capture that magic is what Drom exists for."

Performers play beyond the sidewalk in a parking spot or across the street.

"We are lucky to have supportive residential neighbours off Queen West who appreciate the beat of a vibrant community," says Amlani. "What's nice here is that not only do people on our patio get to enjoy the performance, but passersby get to share the fun too."

Performers playing near Drom have included Viper's Cloud, Moskitto Bar and Big Smoke Brass. Over at Come See Me, where live DJs typically reign, they're ensuring people can get an experience approximating a live show by hearing local talents spin on the street where their patio is.

"At Come See Me we are trying our best to create a safe and happy environment for our guests and staff-with DJs playing a selection of great music and a chance for everyone to get back to having social interactions with each other," General Manager Rosa Tesfay told theGentries.

They're launching back into in-person service with live DJs spinning almost every night, placing a booth two metres away from guest tables facing the patio. They also have a kiosk with an automatic hand sanitizer dispenser, touchless temperature scanning, integrated contact tracing functionality and a contactless menu.

"We take pride in supporting local arts and culture in the city and a big part of our operating budget goes towards employing DJs, photographers and artists," says Tesfay.

Performances have also been observed taking place in Trinity Bellwoods Park, not in connection with any businesses.

While  stadium concerts may still be a glimmer in the distant future, it looks like we can comfort ourselves with some intimate outdoor performances in the meantime.

Lead photo by

Bill Taylor

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