After a year of Zoom concerts and couch concert halls, live music is making a comeback. 

The Aviary 

Live music starts back up at the Aviary on Aug. 6 and will continue every weekend. Big shows are scheduled, including Black Mastiff’s 10-year anniversary show and the Polaris Short Prize listed band Zoon. 

“People are very excited to be back, ready to mingle, and try the new beers we have on tap, the new cocktails we have,” says Philip Muz, co-owner of the Aviary. “It’s nice to welcome everyone back.” 

Additionally, there are DJ Nights and Smarty Pints! Trivia to look forward to. 

The Aviary is kicking off live music in August and will host bands such as Zoon and Black Mastiff (Zoon pictured). | Devin Murphy-Hopp

The Aviary did host some live music during the pandemic with Plexiglas and barriers, but Muz was forced to cancel shows as restrictions waxed and waned. “Really hoping we don’t get another shutdown,” says Muz, “because canceling shows for the fourth time would just break my heart, break my soul.” 

But now, business is picking up. “I think our sales are up about 10, 000 per cent from a couple months ago,” says Muz with a laugh. 

Check out their website for a full list of upcoming shows!

Arts on the Ave  (AOTA) has plenty of live music events, starting at The Carrot Coffeehouse. 

Friday Night Live

In August, head over to The Carrot Coffeehouse for Friday Night Live! Professional and semi-professional musicians perform on Fridays for Carrot goers. 

“[Friday Night Live] is an abundance of riches,” reflects Christy Morin, executive director of AOTA. Her highlight is listening to Peter Nolan play his Mississippi blues. “We get to be part of his world for an hour-and-a-half. It is truly beautiful.” 

There is a $5 cover for three hours of great music. 

Garden Variety Open Mic 

Saturday evenings at The Carrot Coffeehouse are fun for the whole family! Professional and semi-professional performers can drop in for a 10-minute set that can be anything from original songs to comedy to spoken word. “It’s a really safe place for people who are maybe just getting back into their instruments or back into their art form,” says Morin. 

The four hosts this year are Bill Werthmann, Rhea March, Ron Taylor, and Braydon Gates. They will take turns hosting the event.  

“Live music has always been part of The Carrot since we began,” explains Morin. “One of the reasons why we actually started The Carrot… 15 years ago this year, is because we wanted a place for community to come and jam and play together and have a good coffee.”

Community response has been so positive ever since restrictions were lifted. “We’ve been quite busy and we’re really glad and thankful for the support from the community,” says Morin. She notes that some people will feel more comfortable coming back in person than others, but there’s no rush. “We’re not going away.”  

Birds on a Wire Performance Series

This brand-new event from AOTA is all about involving community in the arts. Morin says a big goal of the event was to allow the audience to become part of the performances and gain appreciation for the artist’s creativity.

The performance series will feature different workshops and performances that run until October. Workshops will be on a variety of topics such as dance, poetry, spoken word, and more. 

Check out Ivan Touko’s dance workshop on July 30, take in some jazz at a Littlebird’s concert on Aug. 6, and listen to Experience Points on Sept. 14. 

For additional show information, check AOTA’s website for updates. 

“The arts are super healing and break down so many barriers,” says Morin, so this is the perfect way to reconnect with the community. “We’re all creators and we’re all creatives,” she adds, “so being able to bring people together to share a new experience in the summer and the fall, is… something that we want to encourage.”

Front Porch Series

The Front Porch Series has been running for six years and serves as the lead up to Kaleido Family Arts Festival. It’s a way to engage community members and bring people together. 

Morin realized that large front porches or lawns are abundant in Alberta Ave. “So I thought, wouldn’t it be great to be able to use those spaces for people to come together? ” Morin says. 

The series is becoming part of Alberta Ave’s DNA. Residents can volunteer their porch space and musicians perform a 45-minute set from the heart of the community. 

“So bring a chair, bring your cup of tea, and get to meet the neighbours of the community,” says Morin. “It’s just a really special way to spend 45 minutes together.” 

Watch out for performances by Rebecca Lappa, Konzy Vida, and more.