Business

How ‘Dance Monkey’ took Toni Watson on a ‘roller-coaster’ ride

 Nick Krewen Special to the Star Toronto, Toni Watson feels your pain. The Australian native professionally known as Tones And I, the originator of the impossibly irresistible chart-topping smash “Dance Monkey,” was really looking forward to entertaining you at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in April when COVID-19 interrupted her plans. “Toronto was meant to be my biggest show of the whole tour, so that was really exciting,” said Watson last…

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All fixed up with no place to go: Toronto venues like the El Mocambo and Wheat Sheaf postpone grand reopenings

Nick Krewen Special to the Star April Fool’s Day may have played its cruelest joke on the El Mocambo’s Michael Wekerle. After spending five years investing a reported $30 million (in a follow-up e-mail, he’d only say it’s “extensive”) in renovating the legendary Spadina Avenue music club that has played host to everyone from The Rolling Stones to U2, the merchant banker and Dragon’s Den TV personality was finally set…


Hugh’s Room Live forced out at month’s end due to rent hike

Nick Krewen Special to the Star While Hugh’s Room Live is being forced to shutter its doors at the end of the month, the venue’s Board of Directors has vowed to find it a new home and continue operations. Considered by many to be Toronto’s premier music listening room, the club that has hosted such folk legends as Gordon Lightfoot, Pete Seeger, Tom Rush and Odetta will vacate its present…


Music’s Guardian Angel: The Unison Benevolent Fund

Unison Benevolent Fund has helped more than 800 music professionals in Canada. The charity itself now needs help. By Nick Krewen Special to the Star October 23, 2019 Two-and-a-half years ago, Bill Bell, long-time guitarist for Tom Cochrane, was lying on the floor of his Toronto home in the midst of a nervous breakdown when he received the call that changed his life. Bell’s friend, music executive Allan Reid, had…


How Toronto’s master guitar maker brings a new instrument to life — and why she worries

By Nick Krewen Special to the Star October 02,  2019 “Whoo-oo! Would you look at that?” Pleased as punch, musician Stephen Fearing is leaning moon-eyed over an open case, cooing over his latest custom-built, flat-top, six-stringed guitar, its European Spruce surface kissed by the slightest toasted-sunburst finish and adorned with a mother-of-pearl replica of Fearing’s signature on its fingerboard. Linda Manzer, the world-renown luthier who spent more than a year crafting…