Toronto’s Top Non-Electronic Dance Parties

Everyone loves to dance, but not everyone loves the club

Say you want a night out on the town, but you don’t want a club night with a capital C and a crowd that’s only waiting for the bass to drop. Toronto’s bars and nightclubs still offer plenty of regularly scheduled dance parties throughout the month, so get out a pen and your calendar and plan the month ahead accordingly.

The Big Sound @ Mod Club

Crowding stages with a big band consisting of familiar faces from across the local music scene, this monthly night of golden era classic soul from the likes of Motown, Stax, Chess, Phillies, and Atlantic has packed some of the biggest dance floors across the city. A staple of Great Hall programming before its capacity was restricted, the Big Sound has moved around a bit over the years in search of a venue that will accommodate the crowd that keeps coming back for more to dance to. Its current headquarters is the Mod Club.

Chronologic @ The Garrison

The Garrison
This monthly time warp from the Goin’ Steady DJs (also responsible for Homework) got its start in 2005, and after spending time at the Boat in Kensington and Lee’s Palace, it now claims the dance floor at the Garrison as its own. It’s a sweaty night chronicling pop and anti-pop tracks from almanacs 1890 through the present, all played in chronological order. The next one’s on June 13.

Fuck It @ Clinton’s

Billed as a guilty pleasures dance party from the Bangs & Blush DJs (Shake Rattle & Roll, Beatlemania), this is a night that doesn’t celebrate top 40 so much as it feeds off of the hilarity that ensues when being reminded of your worst sins as a music listener. It brings the best/worst music from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s to Clinton’s on the second Friday of every month.

VOX @ Baltic Avenue

This night of cold, rhythmic indie, new wave, and electro pop spins vintage acts like the Smiths and Joy Division alongside artists as recent and local as Toronto’s Austra. The whole experience is augmented by Baltic Avenue’s tone-appropriate lighting set up, fully equipped to fire lasers with synths. This party was touching down every last Friday of the month for a while, but it skipped an April instalment and we’re still waiting on the announcement of a May event.

Yacht Rock @ The Boat

Yacht Rock
Sail away from the humdrum of city life with Christopher Cross, Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs, Kenny Loggins, Toto and friends at Yacht Rock, a leisurely alternative to the wilder dance parties dominating Toronto nightlife. Brought to you by local DJ group the Hit Parade (not this Hit Parade), this laid-back night of soft rock grooves from the late ’70s and early ’80s departs every Friday at (where else?) the Boat in Kensington. (Dock shoes optional.)