Toronto Goth nightlife & concerts: Amy’s Arms live at Lee’s Palace, Gothic Industrial dance clubs.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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).
Amy’s Arms had just finished tour dates in Ottawa and Montreal, earning new fans in every stop.
David Owen charmed the audience with his Theremin theatrics.
A colorful stage presence by Justin David Minister (composer/guitarist) and Tyla Thea Bolte (vocals).
The devil’s in the details, from the sound quality to the boots on their feet.
Brent Kervin on bass, behind a Korg synthesizer.
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!)
What I wore that evening: relatively neutral makeup, and spider-like eyelashes topped with gems, by my friend Shrinkle of Sugarpill Cosmetics.
My pastel Goth polka-dot top is by Spider Hong Kong (remember my Chinese Gothic fashion shoot with this label?)
Pravda is decked out in Russian Red memorabilia… including a giant, gold statue of Lenin’s bald head.
I saw hammer and sickles, a row of Russian dolls, and propaganda posters, and even a portrait of Chairman Mao.
The menu specializes in vodka, of course. Try the maple one, and the gravlax snacks. Nazdorovye!
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.
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.
Nocturne holds a variety of nights dedicated to indie and experimental music, such as rave, lo-fi, synth and futurepop.
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.
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.