Article by: Lee Fraser
Combining world-class blues music with an unusual venue, Ringside Blues provides live music fans with a unique experience.
The Boxing Loft in Toronto, ON
One Friday per month (Shrimp Daddy - April 19, Jack de Keyzer - May 24)
Doors at 8 pm, 19+, $40 includes buffet dinner and show, $25 tickets ($15 for ages 19 to 25 at the door) after 9 pm for show only
Emile Awe Reed is a boxer, coach and the owner of a boxing loft. With a couple of years of “house” concerts organized at the loft, and a vested interest in house music, Reed is expanding his horizons to include the origin of all modern day music, the blues. It’s a match that’s meant to be; both blues music and boxing have long and storied pasts, both developed by individuals facing adversity.
The Boxing Loft takes up the better portion of the lowest level of an old manufacturing building in what used to be the Fashion District and what is now known as the Entertainment District. Once you enter and go down the stairs, you’re in the midst of a full-fledged gym. A boxing ring grabs your attention: the thick ropes suspended from heavy springs and the canvas-covered padded floor.
Though the ring is normally occupied by the compact, powerful bodies of boxers, one Friday of every month, the boxing ring will be the stage for the powerful force of live blues music. Each month, one blues artist will perform three 45 minute sets, following a mouth-watering buffet. The April show will feature award-winning Shrimp Daddy Reid. Shrimp Daddy has a great sense of humour and an even greater growly blues voice which he accompanies with some of the best harp playing in the city. Future acts will include blues guitarists, vocalists and bands from across Canada and the US.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by emailing the promoter or by paying online through PayPal. At $40 a ticket, the monthly events have been designed to juxtapose an elite type of experience with the stereotype of a sweaty, working class gym. Recognizing that younger music fans may be more into the music than the gourmet bites, folks between 19 and 25 years of age can get in after 9 pm for only $15, a steal considering the level of talent that will be booked each month.