London Rock City?
Well, maybe not. In the context of the actual Juno Awards, anyway, there’s not a great deal of representation by artists actually from London. There are, in fact, only two nominees with a vague claim to the city on this year’s list: dance duo Loud Luxury, whose Andrew Fedyk and Joe Depace met way back in grade school in London and started making music together while attending Western University; and brooding psych-roots outfit the Deep Dark Woods, whose principal songwriter Ryan Boldt actually hails from Saskatoon but relocated to southwestern Ontario a year-and-a-half ago while his girlfriend finished school in London and has since decided to stick around.
Toronto being the centre of the universe and all, we don’t know all that much about London.
So we thought it might be helpful to get a few tips on cool spots to check out this Juno weekend from the London(-ish) nominees themselves. They were happy to oblige.
Loud Luxury, nominated for Single of the Year and Dance Recording of the Year for “Body,” Breakthrough Group of the Year and the Juno Fan Choice Award and performing on Sunday night’s CBC Juno broadcast from Budweiser Gardens:
- The Barking Frog, 209 John St. The first bar we started playing at as Loud Luxury and still one of the best places to drink in the city.
- London Music Hall, 185 Queens Ave. We have lost count of all the amazing concerts we have seen or performed at here.
- Dimi’s Greek House, 551 Richmond St. Hands down the best Greek food in the city. Come for your birthday and smash a plate. Opa!
- Barney’s patio, 671 Richmond St. We have spent so much of our OSAP and 99 per cent of our summers here.
- Grooves, 236 Dundas St. We both collected vinyl when going to school in London and this was our go-to spot. We highly recommend the $2 bargain bins for some hidden gems.
Ryan Boldt of the Deep Dark Woods, nominated for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year for Yarrow and performing at Union 10 on Friday, as part of JunoFest:
- Barakat, 1149 Western Rd. and 11-551 Richmond St. I’ve eaten a lot of shawarma and falafel on tour and I would say this is in the top two that I’ve had. I’d say the best I’ve had is in Ottawa, but this is a close second. It’s amazing.
- Western Fair Farmer’s Market, 900 King St. It’s great. You’ve got a record store up in the top and there’s lots of Mennonites selling pies and summer sausage and that sort of thing. It’s an old-time farmer’s market.
- Milos’ Craft Beer Emporium, 420 Talbot St. It’s a great bar. They’ve got tons of different beers that they’re changing all the time and they have, I would say, the best burger in town. They grind their own brisket and then they cook it kinda medium and it’s the best in town, for sure. The falafel burger is amazing, too.
- Brown & Dickson, 609 Richmond St. It’s just a great little bookstore and they sometimes have shows there — small shows where they can only fit, like, 10 people in the place — and the people who own it are great and they have a good selection of books.
- Grooves, 236 Dundas St. They’ve got a pretty good folk section there and a really great country-music section and Bonnie who works there is very knowledgeable. She knows everything (ranging from) the Incredible String Band to punk-rock music.
- Raja, 428 Clarence St. Raja would be the best Indian restaurant in London. The madras and the rogan josh at Raja are fantastic.
- Addis Ababa, 465 Dundas St. I would say it’s the best restaurant in London, for sure. The people are very friendly and it takes a little while to get your food, but it’s well worth it. It’s some amazing Ethiopian. I’ve been to a lot of them and this one is really, really good.
- Latino Market, 470 Dundas St. It’s small but they have whatever you need for making tacos or pozole and they have a tiny little takeout restaurant in the back. It’s really good stuff.
- Sugar Shack. It’s the best studio in town and it’s run by Simon Larochette, a great engineer and great producer and a just a fun guy to hang around. I’m currently recording there right now.