Music News

Published on November 17th, 2018 | by Gilles LeBlanc


Poll: Who Should Play Toronto’s El Mocambo?

It’s somehow appropriate that on the first snowy night in Toronto this year, the city’s most famous palm tree was restored to all its illuminated neon glory, giving hope to music fans that warmer days are ahead.

I am of course referring to El Mocambo, the two-tiered venue that’s been around for 70 years and is being redeveloped for the future under the watchful eye of former Dragon’s Den investor Michael Wekerle.

There haven’t been many concerts there since I did this brief history for blogTO back in 2012 because of all the renovations that have been going on, including launching their own record label(!). Keep on Walking by veteran Vancouver-area band 54-40 is the first official release from El Mocambo Records.

The El Mo has always been known for concerts though, like that time 40 years ago when some cockroaches infested the place. No no, not the Australian rock-n-rollers that would eventually morph into The Wiggles; in one of many interviews Wekerle gave before the relighting ceremony with Toronto mayor John Tory, he expressed how he would love to have The Rolling Stones be one of the first groups to perform in his reborn club.

The El Mo’s neon palm is shining down onto Spadina once Let`s see! Happy to see so many music lovers at @theelmocambo to help light up this Toronto landmark again. Great job by @MWekerle and his team for bringing the El Mo back to life.

— John Tory (@TorontosMayor) November 16, 2018

While no firm date was given, Wekerle is apparently aiming to have El Mocambo up and running by the time Canadian Music Week rolls into Toronto May 6 to 12, 2019. What say we have a little fun and provide a few suggestions as to which artists should be given this prestigious honour? You know my poll rules – Tweet, FB, post a comment, or email [email protected]. The Stones are an obvious given, but there no shortage of local acts who would add to the El Mo’s impressive legacy…like The Beaches, perhaps? The Dandy Warhols have also announced a May 10th T.O. show at a venue TBD as part of their 25th anniversary, and I don’t think there’d be a better choice because they both RULE, OK?

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We lit Toronto! Thank you for everyone’s support! ?

A post shared by The El Mocambo (@theelmocambo) on

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About the Author

Gilles LeBlanc literally fell into “alternative rock” wayyy back at Lollapalooza 1992, where he got caught in his first mosh pit watching some band named Pearl Jam. Since then, he’s spent the better part of his life looking for music to match the liberating rush he felt that day, with a particular chest-beating emphasis on stuff coming out of his native Canada. It took him awhile, but Gilles now writes feverishly about all things that rock (and or roll) through his ROCKthusiast alter ego.

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2 Responses to Poll: Who Should Play Toronto’s El Mocambo?

  1. Glen Buchanan says:

    Since the El Mocambo is back from the dead….Dead Or Alive open for Marc Bolan/ T.Rex.

  2. mikeadamson says:

    Anvil. This could be the one that puts them over the top.

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