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TORONTO’S FESTIVAL OF BEER 2019: A-List Music, Beer, Food and More!

What is the Toronto Festival of Beer, presented by The Beer Store? It’s only one of the biggest events the summer has to offer! Here’s our preview of all this year’s festivities, including live performances from Public Enemy, Dwayne Gretzky, Ja Rule and Ashanti.



What is the Toronto Festival of Beer? Why it’s only one of the best and most fun events the summer has to offer! The Toronto Festival of Beer, presented by The Beer Store, runs from July 26th to 28th and, if you like beer, food and music, is the ultimate place to be. Taking place at Bandshell Park (Exhibition Place), this festival provides the perfect opportunity for everyone to kick back and enjoy a wonderful summer weekend in the city.

The festival is such a hit that it returns every year without missing a beat and the 2019 edition of the festival is sure to live up to the hype. With so much to see, do and sample, we thought we’d outline some of the reasons why you need to attend Beer Fest in 2019!

01. Beer, Beer and More Beer!
– As you may have guessed, this event is not lacking in beer in the slightest! In 2018, there was a whopping 416 breweries to choose from. The choices of beer are endless from microbreweries like Junction Craft Brewing to large, more familiar brands. For those who are more adventurous with their beverage choices, there are tons of imported options from England’s Hobgoblin to Tiger, all the way from Singapore. In short, if you like beer there is no way you will not have a blast.

Check out some our photos from last year’s event. Tatiana Morand’s full photo gallery of beer, bands, and food!

02. Good Grub…
– What is the perfect accompaniment to some nice, cold beer? Some amazing choices of diverse cuisine of course! Just like the beer selection, this festival has a food vendor for any craving. For Italian you can visit Queen Margherita, for American you can wander over to South St. Burger and for Caribbean, you can hit up Jerk Brothers. These are only three of the dozens of options that you can take advantage of to quench your beer-induced hunger!

03. Top-of-the-Line Entertainment…
– Music is one thing that every good summer party needs and the festival is not lacking in this department as this year’s event will feature can’t-miss headliners on each day of the festival.

July 26th will feature none other than hip-hop royalty Public Enemy! Founded by Chuck D, Public Enemy is one of the most prominent hip-hop collectives to ever hit this planet, laying the groundwork for groups like NWA, G-Unit, and Migos. Public Enemy is known for their well-defined socio-political messages and speaking out for those who don’t have a voice.

They are one of the few hip-hop acts to transcend the ranks of the genre and make waves in the mainstream. The New York Times has named Public Enemy to their list of “25 Most Significant Albums of the Last Century” and in 2005 the Library of Congress added Fear of a Black Planet to their Nation Recording Registry. It is safe to say that this performance will be an opportunity of a lifetime!

Does it get any better than this? Here’s some PE for you, along with Anthrax for their classic rendition of “Bring The Noise.”

On July 27th, gracing the stage will be Canadian band Dwayne Gretzky. There is nothing to not like about these guys. They are a live music collective that celebrates the greatest songs of all time transcending both era and genre. In other words, they have the material to get everyone up and moving and having a good time.

Last, but certainly not least, the final day of the festival will feature Ja Rule and Grammy Award Winner Ashanti! Also known for his acting in such films as Fast and Furious, Ja Rule is also a menace on the mic who effortlessly meshes rap, metal, and pop into an extremely fun and energetic sound. With four Grammy nominations, three platinum albums and countless hit singles Ja Rule is said to be one of the most decorated rappers of all time.

His partner for this performance, Ashanti, is no slouch either. With endless awards, including a Grammy under her belt, Ashanti is one of the most iconic female R&B singers of the 21st century. In 2002, she earned herself a Guinness World Record for the highest first-week sales for a female artist’s debut ever, selling 503,000 copies of her self-titled album. Not too shortly after, Ashanti became the first female and solo artist to have three top ten songs on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in the same week, a feat that has only been achieved by The Beatles and Cardi B. This performance will be a once in a lifetime experience!

04. Beautiful Bandshell…
– Bandshell Park (of the Exhibition) is the perfect location to host an event like this. With tons of open space to hang out, everyone has the opportunity to enjoy their cold beer, gourmet food, and A-list music entertainment. It doesn’t hurt that its right on the lake shore with a beautiful view of Lake Ontario. When is summer? It can’t come soon enough!

Remember this one? Here’s some Ja Rule teaming up with Ashanti in the music video for “Always On Time.”


Glixen – “foreversoon” [Song Review]

On “foreversoon,” Glixen created a song where youthful exuberance clashes heavenly with the established shoegaze sounds of yesteryear,



Glixen “foreversoon” single artwork
Glixen “foreversoon” single artwork

It’s been less than a year since Glixen released their debut EP, She Only Said, on Julia’s War Records. Still, the Phoenix shoegazers have already dug their heels into the DIY music scene and are heading out on an extensive US tour this year alongside the likes of Interpol, Softcult, Glitterer, and fish narc. Appearances at SXSW and Treefort will only further cement their reputation as a new band worthy of note.

To herald the busy year ahead, the band has released a new single, “foreversoon,” via the AWAL label, and it’s well worth a listen.

Says lead vocalist Aislinn Ritchie:

“‘foreversoon’ represents blissful moments of new love and intimacy. The song harnesses melancholy chords, layered with fuzzy red melodies and gliding guitars that pull you in deeper. I wanted my lyrics to feel like a conversation that expresses my infatuation and sensuality. Time is relentless and memories are fleeting, this song encapsulates those emotions forever.”

It’s a fair summation. Its youthful exuberance clashes heavenly with the established shoegaze sounds of yesteryear, think Ride, Curve and Slowdive, but with the fuzz cranked up possibly higher. Ritchie’s vocals certainly share that dreamlike quality of Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, and with many of those bands back on the road this year, perhaps the time is ripe to inject fresh blood into the genre.

Glixen, photo by Jesse Beecher

Glixen, photo by Jesse Beecher

Run Time: 3:43
Release Date: February 9, 2024
Record Label: AWAL Recordings

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Mieko Shimizu Premieres Music Video for “Unworldy” Single “My Tentacles”

Get stoked, cause radical multi-instrumentalist Mieko Shimizu premieres the video for the reworked single “My Tentacles.”



Mieko Shimizu, photo by Ruta Zemmere
Mieko Shimizu, photo by Ruta Zemmere

Radical, nonconformist Japanese singer and multi-instrumentalist Mieko Shimizu recently re-released her offbeat, unworldly single “My Tentacles.”

The single is the offbeat, unworldly title track of Mieko’s soon-to-be-released album. It is be-thronged by chimeric fusions, dysfunctional beats and startling mutations. The single is unaccompanied by an equally radical video created by diz_qo.

Speaking about the track, Mieko tells us:

“‘Emergence,’ the book by Steve Johnson, fascinated me; a colony of ants, a sprawling metropolis, and human brain cells, are all features of the unknown science of self-organisation. I wanted to cut down into society and sing a simple song about people as single cells.”

The multi-instrumentalist explains further:

“They interconnect with the multitude and conjure up a whole that is wiser together than we are individually. When my tentacles reach out and touch you, communicate with you then we become something else, something more than just an individual.”

For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Mieko has played at Sonar alongside Kraftwerk, as well as support for Goldfrapp and Massive Attack at their Melt Down Festival. She is currently an artist in residence for Wonky Plonky Electronk, an experimental, electronic live event which is touring the UK throughout 2024, the next show being on 28th March at The Cinema Room at All Is Joy in London.

Mieko has worked with an extensive range of artists, including Japan’s Mick Karn, Nitin Sawhney, Riz MC, David Cunningham, Robert Lippok and has also remixed the likes of Coldcut and Haruomi Hosono of Yellow Magic Orchestra.

For more information on diz_qo, check him out online here. To check out more of Mieko’s work or to pre-order the upcoming album, click here.

Mieko Shimizu ‘My Tentacles’ Album Artwork

Mieko Shimizu ‘My Tentacles’ Album Artwork

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Morning Bear Reveals Latest Single “A Simple Understanding”

John Runnels unveils the revival of his indie folk project, Morning Bear, with the release of new single, “A Simple Understanding”.



Morning Bear

Denver raised and now Copenhagen based singer/songwriter John Runnels unveils the revival of his orchestral indie folk project, Morning Bear, with the release of a deeply personal and emotionally charged single, “A Simple Understanding.” Marking the band’s return after a six-year hiatus, Morning Bear’s latest offering provides an intimate glimpse into the mind of its creator, navigating through the profound challenges of loss, resilience, and self-discovery.

Characterised by highly dynamic compositions, Morning Bear’s music weaves together the calm and delicate stylings reminiscent of artists like Bon Iver and Jose Gonzalez, while embracing the complexity and depth akin to the Fleet Foxes and Sufjan Stevens. Featuring soaring vocals and unconventional arrangements, including cello, violin, piano, and more, Morning Bear crafts a textured landscape behind pop-influenced hooks.

The catalyst for Morning Bear’s resurgence lies in the transformative journey of band leader John Runnels, who, after facing a series of devastating events and losses, found solace and inspiration amid the chaos. The global pandemic, the loss of three close friends in separate tragedies, a severe injury, and battles with anxiety and depression marked a period of uncertainty for Runnels, but he emerged stronger and more resilient.

“A Simple Understanding”, a continuation of the first releases from Morning Bear after a long hiatus, showcases Runnels in an intimate and vulnerable performance, accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. Released at the time of year where it is most difficult for mental health, John recorded this in a single, live take during a rainstorm in a small garage in a village outside of Andover, UK, and the song captures the raw emotion of Runnels’ struggles and experiences. The lyrics delve into themes of self-loathing and finding hope in the darkest moments of life.

He says “People are often their own worst critic. ‘A Simple Understanding’ speaks to the self-loathing you feel when you have hit rock bottom. How do we find something to hold onto when we’re in the darkest points of our lives?

Morning Bear invites audiences to join them, to embrace vulnerability and share the power of music to heal and connect. With echoes of early Bon Iver in its acoustic performance, ‘A Simple Understanding’ is a brutally honest and delicately executed piece of songwriting that is sure to resonate with listeners, John Runnels bears all in this captivating and emotionally charged offering that sticks.

Morning Bear "A Simple Understanding" single artwork

Morning Bear “A Simple Understanding” single artwork

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