The Kingston Live Music Scene

By Visit Kingston

Written by Guest Blogger Marcin Mazur Rusak
When it comes to local live music, Kingston has a wealth of fun places to experience it.  Whether you’re looking for energetic and exciting rock, want to dance the night away, or want to relax to some smooth jazz stylings, in Kingston, there are always options which make for an entertaining night.
The Grad Club and The Toucan are great places to start.  While sometimes difficult to make conversation because of the level of noise, it rarely poses a problem at these locations because of how captivating the music is. Both The Grad Club and The Toucan are capable of facilitating a range of different performance styles – from hard rock to smooth jazz – and are sure to leave you wishing you had a few more nights to spend in the city.
The Grad Club, established in 1963, is a bar located on Queens’ University campus and attracts students, faculty, and locals alike. Although Kingston is host to some larger and more prominent venues such as the K-ROCK Center, The Grad Club often features big-name artists like Inspectah Deck while featuring local talent as well.
Acoustics at the Grad Club are phenomenal even though the building (formerly a residential home) has seen its years. Whether you are at an energetic dance party or a quiet folk band performance, you will undoubtedly feel comfortable in the roomy yet intimate stage room.
Regardless of music type, the sound quality is always incendiary with each note sounding clear and distinguishable thanks to the top-grade equipment used and the quality acoustical construction of the building.
The Toucan is fairly similar when it comes to demographics and music style; populated equally by mature students and locals, The Toucan offers a great atmosphere for revelry and music appreciation. Harder, more energetic musicians tend to book here, but regardless of your musical inclination they are always worth listening to.
While far from feeling cramped, The Toucan is in fact quite intimate. But if you find yourself needing to break free from the crowd which usually gathers there on busy Friday and Saturday nights, there is a much quieter lounge area upstairs. Don’t feel like mingling with regulars at the bar? Then take in some fresh air on the spacious outdoor patio. Regardless of what you’re feeling, The Toucan has something to offer everyone, young and old.
Food at both venues is standard pub fare, although The Toucan has a wider variety of drinks available.  Some beverages on tap at the Grad Club are exclusive to the Kingston location, so in terms of selection, it’s second only to The Brew Pub.
If you’re looking for some local colour and a great musical experience, look no further than either of these venues.  The Toucan is located in the heart of historic downtown Kingston so you can take a walk and admire some of the limestone architecture between sets.  The Grad club has just as much to offer with its location on beautiful Queen’s University campus, made of elegantly-crafted and locally quarried limestone. Be sure to visit their websites to see their current musical lineups!