Toronto Goth nightlife & concerts: Amy’s Arms live at Lee’s Palace, Gothic Industrial dance clubs.

alice's pig, off shoulder dress

I’m not your typical travel blogger. You won’t find me taking photos at Toronto’s CN Tower or Hockey Hall of Fame. Instead, I’ll be out at 2am, soaking in the city’s underground nightlife and culture.

Take my hand, and let’s explore Goth clubs, a Lenin-themed bar, and two Scott Pilgrim venues. Who’s with me?

lolita stained glass print dress, cat ears

On the first night, I took a taxi from my downtown hotel (One King West) to Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor St West). Recognize the name? Lee’s Palace was the site of many an epic band battle, in the Scott Pilgrim movie!

I met up with Linda Tea, who you may remember from the Toronto Goth modeling post. Love the stained glass print on her dress.

black white victorian mourning dress

I also ran into Laura the Mistress McCutchan (editor of Morbid Outlook, management for Amy’s Arms, and director of tribal bellydance troupe, The Serpentina North Ensemble). She is wearing the “Odette” dress by Gloomth, the independent Lolita label run by our friend Taeden Hall. I love how she accessorized the high collar bodice with rows of ruffles.

karen o'keefe, gothic lolita singer

We were all here to see our comrade Karen O’Keefe, singer and founding member of Gothic band Amy’s Arms. Karen’s such a positive spirit, and has been involved in the Ontario Gothic Lolita community for some time.

amy's arms, live band performance

We swayed to their melancholy songs, which convey energy and passion through Karen’s vocals. All over the stage, she twirled with swan-like arm movements. Thankfully, nobody challenged the band to a “duel to the death” (as poor Scott Pilgrim suffered).

bokeh concert photography bands

Amy’s Arms had just finished tour dates in Ottawa and Montreal, earning new fans in every stop.

theramin performance, lee's palace toronto

David Owen charmed the audience with his Theremin theatrics.

purple hair goth boy, guitarist

A colorful stage presence by Justin David Minister (composer/guitarist) and Tyla Thea Bolte (vocals).

gothic boots on stage

The devil’s in the details, from the sound quality to the boots on their feet.

korg keyboard player, scott pilgrim concert hall

Brent Kervin on bass, behind a Korg synthesizer.

concert photography amy's arms

I haven’t been to a concert for the longest time, and Amy’s Arms reminded me of how uplifting a performance can be. For a taste of their Goth rock, you can check out their Facebook and site. (I also featured their music in my Vienna travel video episode!)

concert photography amy's arms

Amy’s Arms was touring with headliner David J, the legendary bassist of Bauhaus and Love and Rockets. Moody, bluesy and classic Gothic… an honor to see him perform in the flesh.

sugarpill eyelashes, shrinkle false eye lashes

What I wore that evening: relatively neutral makeup, and spider-like eyelashes topped with gems, by my friend Shrinkle of Sugarpill Cosmetics.

pastel goth polka dot shirt, teal skull

My pastel Goth polka-dot top is by Spider Hong Kong (remember my Chinese Gothic fashion shoot with this label?)

pravda vodka house toronto

The next afternoon, I went for happy hour at Pravda Vodka House (44 Wellington St East)… a Communist-themed bar! You know I love weird theme restaurants, so this was right up my alley.

lenin head statue pravda toronto

Pravda is decked out in Russian Red memorabilia… including a giant, gold statue of Lenin’s bald head.

hammer sickle, pravda toronto russian bar

I saw hammer and sickles, a row of Russian dolls, and propaganda posters, and even a portrait of Chairman Mao.

interior communist bar pravda

The menu specializes in vodka, of course. Try the maple one, and the gravlax snacks. Nazdorovye!

sugar skull makeup dj, freaky fridays velvet underground

Later that evening, Karen took me on a Gothic nightlife tour. We started at Freaky Fridays, an alternative night at Velvet Underground (510 Queen St West). DJ Ivan Palmer was rocking the sugar skull makeup behind the booth.

nocturne goth club toronto

Down the road, we stopped by Bovine Sex Club (542 Queen St W), a favorite bar for punks and underground types. The entrance, a mass of mangled bicycle parts, is easy to spot.

A few more steps, and we were at Nocturne (550 Queen St W) — home to one of the longest-running Gothic nights.

toronto Rave, Retro, Synthpop, Goth club

Nocturne holds a variety of nights dedicated to indie and experimental music, such as rave, lo-fi, synth and futurepop.

toronto ontario alternative clubs

We came for Black Friday with DJ Osaze. He played an extraordinarily fun mix of Goth, Industrial, hard rock, EBM… including forays into highland dancing and flamenco. I didn’t leave the dance floor for more than a few minutes, it was that good.

tattooed female bartender, punk toronto

Did you realize Toronto, Ontario has such a cool underground scene? What should I check out the next time I’m in TO?

PS: I also wrote posts about Montreal and Vancouver alt nightlife, which I hope you find helpful.

  • JS

    Wonderful post! :)

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      yay!

  • Virginia

    cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mek

    La Carmina!!!! «3

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      hi!

  • PEPPER

    … XOXOXOXOXO … BEAUTIFUL …

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      xoxo

  • Rhea

    So interesting! Would love to experience this culture sometime. Inspiring!
    Xx
    Rhea
    http://www.fuss.co.in

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Thanks, Rhea! Yes, Canada can be crazier than ppl expect ;)

  • Ayan

    Great shots!

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Thanks so much.

  • Doc

    this is awesome

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Thanks!

  • Ricky

    Too cute!

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      xd

  • lana

    love you

  • Xiau

    !!!

  • Tessie

    WOOOOOO!!!!

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      ^__^

  • MelissaR

    The show looks awesome and I love all these photos!

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Thanks babe! <3 <3

  • kleira

    love so much ur blog, is so amazing !

  • Ms Bananarama

    Checking that bone place out!

  • Graeme

    . ;)

  • elizabeth

    ♪ cute dress

  • Pam

    CUTIES!

  • Leeloo

    Adorable!!!!

  • Tian

    Cooooool!

  • Chris

    0.0 beautiful ^.^

  • Hi There

    sweet!!!!

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      hi!

  • James

    Cool concert photos.

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      thanks James

  • Tuyen

    Gorgeous as always :)

  • craig

    is there any website that have the Toronto alternative community for llike clothes and clubs and stuff like that ?

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      There is an Ontario Gothic Facebook group but nothing really online, hence this post the next one will be about where to shop so you can look forward to that !

  • Stephanie

    You look gorgeous as usual!

  • Kath

    I adore this

  • Kimberlee

    Oooo La La Lolita!

  • Shantell

    Appallingly cute.

  • Chris

    Splendid!

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      xo