With a forward by Geddy Lee, co-author Rob Bowman takes the geeks through time to discover Toronto the Good was playing host to influential musicians since the 1880s.
The Flyer Vault unlocks 150 years of Toronto concert history
by Shane Alexander
First, bit of a backstory before getting into the new book, The Flyer Vault, 150 Years of Toronto Concert History. A decade before joining Geeks and Beats, I was a flyer guy. Fresh from Trebas Institute I landed a dream gig as a street promoter with REMG Concerts Canada. As a hip hop fanatic, I was thrilled as the job was getting paid to see the biggest hip hop concerts in the city. The not-so-luxurious part of the job was flyer-ing concerts and raves after they let out. Very late nights that turned into very early mornings.
The street promotions manager at REMG was a fellow named Dan Tate. The flyer king. Tate knew of every jam that was going on in the city. But this wasn’t only urban shows.Tate knew of every single concert happening. Even obscure DJ nights in the outskirts of the city. “There’s this big emphasis on Toronto as a music city now, but I’m more interested in ‘how did we get here?’ Well, man, it didn’t just happen overnight. That shit started in the 1880s.”
Around 3,000 flyers were in the flyer vault
Tate had around 3,000 flyers packed away in his parents’ garage. This is where he came up with the idea to open the vault and share its contents. He created the Flyer Vault Instagram account in 2015. “I love to take people down memory lane,” Tate shared with BlogTO, “but these aren’t just interesting stories; they’re a historical record of our city’s music scene.”
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August 1985: Produced by legendary concert promoters, Gary Topp & Gary Cormier . . . . . . . . . . . . Image source: NOW Toronto #bluemonday #murmur #throwback #toronto #torontohistory #music #flyer #concertflyer #torontolife #canada #ontario #torontoigers #the6 #streetsoftoronto #416 #yyz #tdot #igtoronto #narcitytoronto #tbt #throwback #streetsoftoronto👌
The Flyer Vault, the book
“Tate and Rob Bowman have assembled a time capsule that captures a mesmerizing history of Toronto concert and club life, running the gamut of genres from vaudeville to rock, jazz to hip-hop, blues to electronica, and punk to country.”
The musical memoir “traces seminal live music moments in the city, including James Brown’s debut performance in the middle of a city-wide blackout,” reads the synopsis. It also features a story of “a then-unknown Jimi Hendrix backing up Wilson Pickett in 1966,”
“No matter what the internet changes, disrupts or kills, I don’t think it will ever change, disrupt or kill our desire to watch and experience live music,” Tate said. “That’s innate.”
The book officially drops October 26th and is now available for pre-orders here.
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On this date in 1972, Elton John made his sold-out Toronto concert debut in front of 15,000 fans at Maple Leaf Gardens. The Toronto Star in its review would call it the "greatest rock n' roll show the city had ever seen." 📷 @jellyfunk_creative . . . . #rocketman #eltonjohn #toronto
That awesome clip of Geddy Lee talking about seeing Cream at Massey Hall? Via Sonic City: