10 Can’t-miss Concerts in Kingston This September

By Jordan Whitehouse

Here are four names you probably haven’t heard together before: Vanilla Ice, Jann Arden, Salt-N-Pepa, Bruce Cockburn. Yet this September they’ll all play shows in Kingston. And they’ll be joined by a similarly diverse cast of can’t-misses playing everything from backwoods folk to alt pop to classic rock. Here are 10 to put on your list.

10 Can’t-miss Concerts in Kingston This September
Photo via Rocky High & The Northern Lights, Facebook
  1. Rocky High & The Northern Lights – Music in the Park

Saturday, September 2, 12:30 pm
Confederation Park
Listen close enough and you can almost hear the wind through the trees in every one of this six-piece folk band’s tunes. The band is relatively new, forming in 2016 in the backwoods of Soperton, Ontario, but they’re quickly making a name for themselves at small shows across the region. Known for high-energy foot-stompers and slower ballads and waltzes, their music, as they say, “comes from quite lakes, long drives and the fields they work every day.” In other words, perfect for an outdoor show on the waterfront.
Admission: Free

10 Can’t-miss Concerts in Kingston This September
Photographer Alix Aylen
  1. Abigail Lapell

Saturday, September 2, 8:00 pm
Musiikki Café
It’s hard to pinpoint a group of words to properly describe this folk artist’s astounding voice — effortless, powerful, smoky, haunting? Nevertheless, it’s the warmth of Lapell’s voice that draws you in and the wall of sound she creates with it that keeps you there. No wonder the Toronto native received the 2016 Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, and NOW Magazine called her a “folk/country musician to watch” in 2017. Watch jaws drop at this show at the intimate Musiikki Café, where that voice should spill well out onto Brock Street.
Admission: Check musiikkicafe.com closer to the date.

10 Can’t-miss Concerts in Kingston This September
Photographer Brendan Smyth
  1. Needless Love Endorsement

Tuesday, September 5, 9:00 pm
The Mansion
The brainchild of Kingstonian songwriters Rae Corcoran and Sean Tomalty, Needless Love Endorsement is all about synth driven pop-rock that’ll get you dancing and daydreaming at the same time. Their EP came out just last September, but it’s clear these two have been cultivating their sound for years. Tomalty’s driving atmospheric beats pair seamlessly with Corcoran’s strong pop vocals, creating a sound that will make The Mansion’s walls pulsate all night long.
Check mansion.rocks closer to the date.

10 Can’t-miss Concerts in Kingston This September
Photographer StreamyAwards via Flickr
  1. Vanilla Ice, Salt-N-Pepa, Young MC, C+C Music Factory – “I Love the 90s Tour”

Friday, September 8, 7:30 pm
Rogers K-Rock Centre
The biggest challenge at this throwback arena show will be to not bust a move. But why wouldn’t you when Young MC will be there imploring you to do so? And Vanilla Ice will be giving word to your mother? And Salt-N-Peppa will be wanting to talk about sex? And C+C Music Factory will be screaming, “Everybody dance now!” Other big names from the 90s rap, hip-hop, and R&B scene may show up too, including Coolio, Tone Loc and Color Me Badd.
Admission: $69.50 – $99.50

10 Can’t-miss Concerts in Kingston This September
Photographer Tabercil via Flickr
  1. Trooper, Honeymoon Suite, and Sass Jordan – Kingston Family Fun Fest

Saturday, September 9, 5:00 pm
Base Gym Event Tent, CFB Kingston
Keep the nostalgia alive the very next night at CFB Kingston’s annual “Great Canadian Rock Show.” Rock icons Trooper, Honeymoon Suite, and Sass Jordan are the headliners, so guaranteed you’ll hear everything from “Raise a Little Hell” to “New Girl Now” to “Make You a Believer.” Kingston’s own Whiskey Overdrive will get the outdoor show going with a little rock, blues, and country. About 1,500 people are expected.
Admission: $20

10 Can’t-miss Concerts in Kingston This September
Photo via Travis James
  1. Travis James

Saturday, September 16, 8:00 pm
Musiikki Café
Vancouver singer-songwriter Travis James may remind you of John Mayer or Ben Howard or Chris Martin, but make no doubt that his blend of adult alternative is all his own. Strings, bass, piano, drums, guitar, and horns all show up on his recent EP, “Timeless as the Moon,” though there won’t be room for all of those instruments on the tiny Musiikki stage. But that’s fine. This could be your first and last chance to see the young crooner up close in such a small venue; his star should rise.
Check musiikkicafe.com closer to the date.

10 Can’t-miss Concerts in Kingston This September
Photo via Change of Heart
  1. Change of Heart

Friday, September 22, 9:00 pm
The Mansion
This year, Canadian indie rock heroes Change of Heart celebrate the 25th anniversary of their fourth LP, “Smile,” with a reissue and a tour. The Toronto band was a huge force in the Can-rock renaissance of the 80s and 90s, and this 1992 magnum opus played a big role in that turnaround. The 21 songs on the album found the band expanding their sound and drawing on elements of rock, pop, folk, dub, and prog. Not surprisingly, and as you’ll see at The Mansion, “Smile” still very much stands up as one of the best Canadian albums of all time.
Admission: $12 in advance, $19 at the door

11 Festivals to Hit In Kingston This September
Photo via public domain
  1. Brahms Festival

Sunday, September 24, 2:30 pm
Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts
Nineteenth-century composer Johannes Brahms is so respected that he’s sometimes grouped with Bach and Beethoven as one of the “Three Bs” of music. It’s no wonder, then, that the Kingston Symphony wanted to feature the German genius as part of its annual Composer Festival. Join the 45-member orchestra on a journey through two of Brahms’s greatest works: Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 4. Both will sound as Brahms intended inside the acoustically sound jewel that is The Isabel.
Admission: $10 +

10 Can’t-miss Concerts in Kingston This September
Photo via Wiki Commons
  1. Bruce Cockburn with Terra Lightfoot

Wednesday, September 27, 7:30 pm
The Grand Theatre
“My job,” Bruce Cockburn once said, “is to try and trap the spirit of things in the scratches of pen on paper and the pulling of notes out of metal.” And what a fine job he’s done of that for almost 50 years now. He’s unarguably one of Canada’s best singer-songwriters and guitar players, and he’s been rightly awarded 12 Junos and an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The Grand’s gorgeous 750-seat theatre will make you feel like you’re scratching and pulling right along with him and opener Terra Lightfoot.
Admission: $49.50 – $74.50

10 Can’t-miss Concerts in Kingston This September
Photographer Daniel via Flickr
  1. Jann Arden

Saturday, September 30, 7:30 pm
The Grand Theatre
Another legendary Canadian singer-songwriter hits The Grand just three nights after Cockburn. Since releasing her debut album in 1993, “Time for Mercy,” Jann Arden has gone on to make 11 more albums and have 19 top ten singles, including “Insensitive,” “Good Mother” and “Could I Be Your Girl.” She’s always best when heard live, though, and not just because of that boldly honest voice, but because there are few with as much stage presence and quick wit as her.
Admission: $69.50 – $74.50