10 Kingston Concerts You Can’t Miss This July

By Jordan Whitehouse

David Wilcox returns to play Springer Market Square, indie darlings Deux Trois hit The Grad Club, and old friends celebrate Gord Downie at The Ale House.  

Mapstone plays Musiikki Cafe
Photo via Mapstone Facebook

Sunday, July 1, 2018 – 8 pm
Musiikki Café
If your idea of a good Canada Day is more about roots and reggae than fireworks and crowds, this small Musiikki show could be your ticket. Mapstone is a three-piece band from Australia in similar sonic territory as Ben Harper, Xavier Rudd, and Bob Marley. The difference is that their mix of roots, rock, and reggae sometimes includes the didgeridoo and is almost always tinged with an uplifting message.
Price not yet available

Jillian Kerr plays The Mansion
Photo via Jillian Kerr Facebook
Jillian Kerr

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 – 8 pm
The Mansion
Ottawa singer-songwriter Jillian Kerr grew up in rural Ontario, and like Sarah Harmer, for instance, you can hear those backfields and long summer nights in her type of acoustic folk. There’s an edge to her soothing vocals, though, and sometimes a bit of darkness to her lyrics, too. All of it’s handled with a depth of confidence and skill not always heard in a recent music graduate (she earned a BA in music from Carleton).  
Price not yet available

Leonid Nediak plays at St. George Cathedral
Photo via Facebook
Leonid Nediak – St. George’s Summer Concerts

Thursday, July 5, 2018 – 12:15 pm
St. George’s Cathedral
Piano wunderkind Leonid Nediak is still a teenager, but he’s already had eight concerto performances with orchestras in the U.S. and Canada, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Quebec Symphony Orchestra. At age 12, he successfully performed two orchestra concerts — Beethoven Concerto No. 3 and Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2 — within three weeks. Currently enrolled at the Taylor Academy in Toronto, he’ll definitely be one to keep an eye on in the years ahead.   

Photo via DidgEra Facebook
DidgEra – Kingston Buskers Rendezvous

Thursday, July 5, 2018 – Sunday, July 8, 2018
Buskers fest always includes a strong lineup of eclectic musicians, and this year Australian multi-instrumentalist DidgEra — aka Dave Johnson — will be one of them. Johnson calls his sound “earthy world dance music inspired by the Australian landscape,” which typically means the use of a wide mix of instruments: slide didgeridoo, saxophones, percussion, keyboards, guitar, marimbas, and Native American flute. He won’t be hard to find on any day of the festival — just listen for that didgeridoo and the beats.
Artists are paid by tips

Rap Roast at The Mansion
Photo via CEOLegzz Facebook
The Rap Roast Kingston

Friday, July 6, 2018 – 9 pm
The Mansion
Hosted by AB3Comedy, this popular night of hip-hop and comedy is all about not taking oneself too seriously. Sets will come from local hip-hop artists 92’ Rare, Jesse Sincere, Cory EdeyRoc Ede, Dan Doesn’t Sleep, and C-Flaulis. Each will be followed by a roast session from stand-up comedian Al Babcock and other special guests. Stick around until the end for a special rap battle.   

Alex Tikhnenko and Friends play Musiikki Cafe
Photo via Alex Tikhnenko Facebook
Alex Tikhnenko and Friends

Every Saturday – 3 pm
Musiikki Café
Alex is a Kingston bass player you might have seen keeping the groove alive at Musiikii’s Monday jazz nights. He also has this regular Saturday afternoon gig at Musiikkii where he welcomes local buds to help him stretch the repertoire to include funk, soul, R&B, prog rock, punk, and beyond. His influences range from Stanley Clarke to Miles Davis to Peter Gabriel, so his sound is exactly what you need to kickstart a Saturday night.    
Pay what you can

Deux Trois play the Grad Club
Photo via Deux Trois Facebook
Deux Trois

Friday, July 13, 2018 – 9 pm
The Grad Club
This Kingston indie supergroup is the project of Nadia Pacey (Konig), Benjamin Nelson (PS I Love You), and Ben Webb (Carvings, We Are Adam West). Expect dark pop from the trio, but think driving rhythms sometimes reminiscent of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, plus 80s inspirations, and heavy guitar. The living-room-like Grad Club should be pulsating by the last encore. Michael C. Duguay and Emilie Steele & The Deal will open the show.   
$8/advance, $10/door

Gord Downey Tribute and fund raising concert
Photographer Mike Bouchard via FlickrCC
Gord Downie Tribute Show

Friday, July 20, 2018 – 7 pm
The Ale House & Canteen
About 10 local musicians will come together for this special tribute to Kingston’s most famous music statesman. So far that list includes Smitty, Tim Alysworth, Tracy Drinka, John Torres, Jordy Jackson, Yessica & Carlos, Bon Evans & Dave Bull, and Neon Nostalgic with Shawn Brady. The song lineup will be Hip- and Gord-heavy, of course, but there will be other tributes, too. Don’t assume a downer show, though. The night will be a rocking homage to the man and his music, and also a fundraiser for two Gord-related causes: brain cancer research and Indigenous initiatives.

Annual Tattoo at Fort Henry
Photo via Kingston Accommodation Partners
Fort Henry Annual Tattoo

Saturday, July 28, 2018 – 7:30 pm
Fort Henry
Other than the ink variety, a “tattoo” was once known as the signal sounded by drummers and trumpeters that meant soldiers were supposed to stop drinking beer and return to their garrison. Now the meaning has morphed into yearly drill and musical showcases like this one at Fort Henry, a 19th-century garrison itself. Each tattoo is slightly different, but expect to hear the sounds of Canadian and international fife, brass, pipe, and drum bands filling Parade Square and culminating in a massed band grand finale with fireworks.    
$18.75 – $25

David Wilcox plays Rockin The Square
Photographer Richard Vignola via FlickrCC
Rock in the Square – David Wilcox

Sunday, July 29, 2018 – 8 pm
Springer Market Square
Back for its sixth year, Rock in the Square will feature one of Canada’s most popular blues rockers of all time playing a free show in Springer Market Square. No doubt you’ll hear Wilcox classics like “Riverboat Fantasy” and “Hot, Hot Papa,” plus plenty of other hits from over a dozen albums, five of which went gold and platinum over his 40-plus year career.