The Mercedes-Benz Garage Gigs returned for 2019 and took over the 146 Ossington Avenue garage space with live intimate performances from some of Canada’s hottest musical acts. Torontonicity was invited to check out two evenings with the amazing Allie X and then The Strumbellas – these were two evenings of amazing energy.
You’ve most likely walked by 146 Ossington and not given it a second thought, but the space located just north of Argyle Street is the garage where the first Mercedes-Benz was built in Canada. This historically-significant space is now used by the Mercedes-Benz team to host a handful of musical acts intended to bring musicians back to their roots, in an up-close and personal performance with fans. The space isn’t converted into a full stage, but instead kept with all its tools and equipment so that guests are literally in a garage gig.
Our first night was with Allie X, the singer-songwriter born in Oakville who is known for catchy and gritty pop tunes. Her live vocals were impressively powerful within the small garage space and brought the crowd’s energy through the roof! The experience can only be described as an intimate dance party. I’d also like to point out how fantastically whimsical her outfit was, with a head-to-toe red outfit that included shoulder plumage.
I left the Allie X show pumped and couldn’t wait for night two with The Strumbellas. This Toronto-based six-piece band rose to fame with the hit “Spirits” in 2016 and haven’t stopped touring since. Their rock sound is accented with a folky quality, courtesy of Isabel Ritchie’s violin playing. During their performance, I was amazed at how well the sound quality was, even as every member belted out notes with full power!
The Strumbellas’ evening was just as high energy, but the crowd remained cool (in classic Toronto style) and swayed to the music while singing along. The band also engaged in playful banter between songs, reacting directly to guest comments or questions, which isn’t something afforded by larger impersonal venues. I think that’s the greatest part of these Mercedes-Benz Garage Gigs: the artists and musicians you listen to regularly are standing only a couple feet away from you and only elevated slightly, so at times you lose yourself and feel like you’re singing with them. It’s any music lover’s dream environment to experience a live show!
The Garage Gigs aren’t just for fans though, as they’re intended to also remind the musicians themselves of where they started and what it felt like to connect directly with fans. The environment and experience created by the Mercedes-Benz team really is meant to bring all parties together in an inspiring evening that reminds all in attendance what they love so much about music – connecting with others.
This year’s #MBGarageGigs have passed, but make sure to keep your eyes and ears open for the 2020 lineup. The amazing energy and quality performances coming out of these sessions is undeniable! You never know who the next great act will be to perform in the intimate space allowing for a fun evening for you and friends to sing along at full volume. If you were one of the lucky few who were there for either night, or you’ve attended Mercedes-Benz garage gigs and have a fond memory, comment down below and share the details!