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Gentlemen's Lists

Top Venues To Discover Live Music In Toronto

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Toronto has arguably become one of the best cities in North America to discover #RandomActsOfMusic. Whether you are new to the city, or have been experiencing the downtown lifestyle for a while now you realize how alive this city really becomes at night. Here are five of Toronto’s top venues you need to visit if live music is your thing:

Danforth Music Hall

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One of the biggest challenges any concert goer faces, is picking out that great view of the stage. Luckily, Danforth Music Hall’s floor is built with a slight incline so no matter where you stand you are guaranteed to have an amazing view. Additionally, if you prefer to have a seat next to you when you watch a show, they also have a large balcony. The sound and lighting are also fantastic.

Dakota Tavern

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Dakota Tavern is one of our favourite spots in Toronto just north of Ossington and Dundas. As you walk in to the venue down the steep steps, you are automatically transported out of the urban city into what feels like the deep south… Cajun country. Bourbon is your best friend here, so make sure you get well acquainted. The warm sounds from the bands and artists mixed with the twinkling lights and wood walls really bring out the ambiance of this local gem.

Horseshoe Tavern

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It’s been 69 years since Horseshoe Tavern has been leading the charge on music venues in Toronto and it’s no surprise as to why that is. If you want to experience a classic rock ‘n roll venue, that’s grungie and loud, then this is the meat and potatoes of Toronto’s downtown music scene. It’s got a small concert floor that’s flat but that’s the beauty of it… you need to earn a good spot if you want to see the show.

The Drake Underground

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If hip hop, dance and electronic music is your thing then The Drake Underground is the place you need to go. On show nights you have all types of people that come through that have one thing in common; to let loose, get the liquor flowing, and have a good time.  It’s dark and there’s very little cell phone reception which is great because you can actually enjoy the show and meet some pretty chill people.

And there you have it! Five spots in Toronto for you to discover #RandomActsOfMusic.

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Gentlemen’s Tip – Top Tips For Gents By Gents

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We are taking this #BeBetter thing seriously. One part of the #BeBetter movement is to share knowledge, so we’re creating a list of tips to share with Gents all around the world. We want to collaborate with you on this list. We’ve penned a few, but do not think the list is a proper list without your input. Please add to the comments below and we will give you full credit for your submission. Hat tips all around.

Gentlemen’s Tip: Top Tips For Gents By Gents

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14) Be aware of your surroundings and always offer your seat on public transport to elderly folks, small children, people with special needs and pregnant ladies. – Hamid (via Blog comments)

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12) A true gentleman will always acknowledge with a friendly wave of thank you when some one let’s you ahead of them in traffic. – Stan (via Blog Comments)

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10) Be responsible in everything that happen in your life. – Dex (Via Blog comments)

9) Never leave a beer unfinished. – Andrew (via Blog comments)

8) A gentleman raises his voice in laughter never anger. – Gregory (via Blog comments)

7) Always put the toilet seat down. – Ingrid from Toronto.

6) Strive to live up to the Canadian stereotype. Everyone loves Canadians, act like one. – Mark (via Blog comments)

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4) Be great daily – Eric (via Blog comments)

3) Pick up the phone and call your Mom, she misses you. – Tyler (via Blog comments)

2) Always hold the door for others. This is non-negotiable. – Jon from our office

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The Gentlemen’s Expo is the premium event for emerging and established men’s lifestyle products, integrated consumer experiences and on-stage programming that will entertain and educate men.  It all happens November 10-12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building. Oh, and tickets are on sale right now. (AND YOU CAN SAVE $5 OFF GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS BY USING PROMO CODE: FIVEOFF) 

Come to #TGE2016 if you are interested in: style, tech, music, sports, cars, alcohol, grooming, sex, food, entrepreneurship, whiskey, beer, spirits, gaming, DIY, wellness, health and more.  Come to#TGE2016 if you want to see great speakers and compelling ATTRACTIONS. Come to #TGE2016 if you want to #BeBetter.

Friday, November 24th – 4pm to 10pm

Saturday, November 25 – 12pm to 10pm

 

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Top 5 Concerts You Probably Shouldn’t Have Missed This Summer

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As we wind down to the last days of summer, it’s important that we reflect on the great live music that rolled through Toronto over the past few months. As we all know, “The Six” has become a sort of “Hollywood North” in its own right and each year the line-up of concerts to choose from gets bigger, better and more memorable than the last.

From reunion tours, to surprise appearances, and even gut wrenching goodbyes, the spring and summer of 2016 was filled with performances that took spectators on an unforgettable, emotional journey. Here are the top five concerts you probably shouldn’t have missed in Toronto this summer:

Pearl Jam Tour 2016 – Pearl Jam

Eddy Vedder and the gang swept through Toronto with two kick-ass shows in May, leaving everyone in a state of awe after their performances were finished. The band even brought out famed Canadian guitarist, Donna Grantis for both shows which was very timely considering Prince had been in the news for weeks due to his unfortunate passing.

Pearl Jam Toronto 2016 Night One

In the first show, Pearl Jam played their album Binaural in its entirety and finished the show off with two mind-blasting encores that included covers of John Lennon’s Imagine, Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. The Who’s The Real Me, and Neil Young’s Rockin’ In The Free World.

In their second show, Pearl Jam played everything from Corduroy, Brain of J, Even Flow, and even Daughter for the first half. The second half of the show was a real treat though because the band played two encores that were comprised of songs like Oceans, Breath, Last Kiss, Better Man, Crazy Mary and even…. Yellow Leadbetter. Now any hardcore Pearl Jam fan knows, that it is very rare to see the band play songs like Crazy Mary and Yellow Ledbetter which made this a truly special night.

THE FORMATION WORLD TOUR – Beyoncé

Queen B stopped in Toronto for her massive Formation World Tour back in May and it was definitely one for the history books. Even if you’re not a huge Beyoncé fan, you can’t deny that the woman has some serious ‘chops’ when it comes to putting on a memorable show. She’s is undeniably one of the best performers of our era.

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Beyoncé started off her sold out show with her new single Formation and followed it up with songs like Kitty Kat in acapella and Run The World (Girls). As the night went on, she went in to tracks like Baby BoyMe, Myself and I; and even her classic head banger Diva. To wrap up the night she threw in hits like Crazy In Love, Freedom and the Destiny’s Child classic Survivor which of course made the crowd go absolutely insane.

Summer Sixteen – Drake, Future and Friends

During Toronto’s end of July long weekend, Drake made his infamous return to “The Six” as part of his Summer Sixteen Tour with two sold out shows at the Air Canada Centre for his Annual OVO Fest.

OVO Fest stretched over three venues this year — starting with headliners Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre Friday night, Machel Montano at Echo Beach Saturday night (co-headliner Beenie Man was a no show after contracting the Zika virus and Dengue Fever), and finishing up with Drizzy and Future on Sunday and Monday nights at the Air Canada Centre.

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The first night of Drake’s Air Canada Centre Performance started off with guest appearances by local rappers like Dvsn (pronounced Division) and Roy Woods. However, the biggest cameo of the night came from Drake’s rumoured love interest Rihanna. The two heated things up as they were bumping and grinding across the stage while Rihanna sang hits like Needed Me, Bitch Better Have My Money, Work and even Too Good.

On the second show, featured cameos by acts like French Montana, Future, Rihanna, and even Kanye West. In total the show consisted of a 46 song set list that nearly blew the roof off the Air Canada Centre. It was definitely one of the craziest shows of the summer!

Man Machine Poem Tour – The Tragically Hip

It seems as though The Tragically Hip was (and maybe still is) the band everyone was talking about across Canada this summer. Back in May, the band released a statement to their fans letting them know that front man Gord Downie was suffering from terminal brain cancer and that they would be embarking on their best and potentially last tour as a band. The Man Machine Poem Tour.

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As part of this tour, the band played three incredible shows in Toronto and left everything out on the stage, much like they did for all of their shows. However, aside from these three concerts in Toronto, the most important show of the entire tour and possibly the year, was the last one the band played in their home-town of Kingston, Ontario.

Yes we know… This isn’t a show in Toronto, but it’s still very important because it was the second largest moment in television broadcasting history. One quarter of Canada’s population watched The Hip give everything they had and more at this concert and it was a rollercoaster of emotion, right from the get-go.

The part that still stands out is when the image above was taken… for that short moment each and every Canadian felt exactly what Gord Downie was going through and it was a true tear jerker. This concert absolutely solidified The Tragically Hip as Canada’s band and everyone who watched it will never forget where they were that night.

Make America Great Again Tour – Prophets of Rage

Prophets of Rage consists of Chuck D (Public Enemy), B-Real (Cypress Hill), and three quarters of Rage Against The Machine. The band stopped in Toronto for one truly memorable show as part of their Make America Great Again tour.

Prophets of Rage

During this show, fans were lucky enough to hear all the major classics from Rage Against The Machine, including: Guerrilla Radio, Bombtrack, Testify, Bulls on Parade and even Killing in the Name.  Additionally, fans also had the pleasure of hearing their favourite Public Enemy and Cypress Hill songs, courtesy of B-Real and Chuck D.

The most surprising moment of the entire show though, was when the band invited a special guest to the stage who ended up being none other than rock legend Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana). If the crowd wasn’t already head-banging their music loving hearts out, they surely erupted when Grohl joined the band to play MC5’s Kick Out the Jams.  It was one of the most electrifying shows of the summer.

And there you have it… Five of the best live shows Toronto had the pleasure of seeing in the summer of 2016. If you had a chance to see even just one of these shows, be sure to cherish that memory because these experiences don’t come around very often.

Header Photo Credit: The Toronto Star.

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7 Types of Friends Every Modern Man Needs

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If you asked me to describe my friends in one word, I’d say, “Assholes,” but I’d be kidding. Friends are amazing – if they’re not the best part of life, they’re on the very short list.

Good buddies are rare, and true friends will be there through it all, but to avoid disrespecting my fingers by forcing them to type out sappy clichés, I’ll just say this: A good friend looks at you the same way on your lowest day and on your highest. Good friends keep you human, they’re your copilots on this journey, and until we discover aliens with the ability to teleport and fly, the space between a human birth and death is the craziest, most twisted, and beautiful adventure anything in the universe gets to have.

So trust your copilots, appreciate your friends – and if you don’t, start now or get new friends. Here’s my expert, trusted-by-governments-around-the-world, indisputable, and 100% perfect run-down of the 7 friends every modern man needs.

1) Normal*ish Guy

You need this guy. He’s done most things right, kept good grades and has probably landed a pretty comfortable job in a major city. He never went too crazy, but never judged any of his barbarian friends for doing so. Normal*ish guy often fills the role of a soundboard for the rest of you, because he’s probably one of the more responsible people you know your age, and he’s someone you can vent to if there’s drama going on within the group. Now, Normal*ish guy’s got an *ish for a reason. Nobody interesting is ever normal, and even if they seem that way, a personality is just a series of layers and when you peel back enough of anyone’s you’re eventually going to find some type of freak. And that’s awesome.

2) Business Bro

This guy probably had dreams of Wall Street or Silicon Valley. Hell, maybe he’s there right now, but even if he wound up in some less famous place, he’s still a necessary guy to have around. Like it or not, it’s business that makes the world turn, and understanding it is a crucial component of developing any adult comprehension of the way of things. This guy loves his suits, drops names you’ve never heard of, but expects you to be very impressed, and talks about his investments like a proud father. This guy can help you manage your credit, can give you tips on investing, and can probably hook you up with his tailor. And you haven’t lived until your buddy has expensed the crew’s bar tab to his corporate card because his boss thinks he’s meeting with potential clients.

3) Creative/Artistic Dude

Often one of the more misunderstood dudes in the group, but you need him. We could also call this guy ‘spontaneous dude,’ but that’s a symptom of his core condition: his distaste for all things conventional when it comes to a career. He’s got a talent, be it writing, acting, painting or stand-up comedy, and he’ll do whatever he needs to do to scrape a living away at it. Sure, someday the passion might fizzle and he’ll #sellout, but you’ll love him anyway Until then you can’t help but respect him, and maybe cover his tab. Creative Dude is often close with Business Bro because they see qualities in each other they wish they possessed themselves. Business Bro admires Creative Dude’s passion and spontaneity, and Creative Dude covets Business Bro’s security and organizational skills.

4) Ambitious Guy

Whatever this guy’s doing, he’s kicking ass, taking names, and he’s not slowing down the train ‘till he’s at the pinnacle – and even then, he’ll probably drive it right down into a sex scandal or some white collar crime. Grab on to the coat tails, boys, and hold on tight, because you’ll probably be dropping this dude’s name someday. He might be tough to get a hold of sometimes, but don’t worry, Ambitious Guy always keeps his old friends close to his heart. He’s going to have to dodge a million fake friends on his rise to the top, he’ll need you to keep him grounded.

5) Frat Guy

There is no requirement that this guy actually be a fraternity brother, he just generally acts like he was. Whether it’s bringing a beer bong to your house warming party three years after you’ve graduated, or peer pressuring everyone into that one last shot at the bar that leads to the best stories of the night, this guy pushes the limits of what’s acceptable, and that’s just damn fun. He’s probably fallen into a career like sales or recruiting where he gets to put his high energy to use and talk to people all day. Someday he’ll mellow out, but until then let the good times roll.

6) Wild Card

Always pulls the kinds of moves that make the other guys in the group look at each other sideways and shrug. He’ll disappear from a party and you won’t hear from him for days, he’ll show up out of nowhere with a girlfriend you’ve heard nothing about, and he has a different life goal every time you see him. He’s persistent with the ladies, and despite striking out 60 times in a weekend, will always be quick with romantic advice. Wild Cards burn bright, and sometimes they burn out and you won’t hear from them for a year or two, but make no mistake about it, once this guy learns to channel his personality into a specific goal there’s nothing he can’t (or won’t) do.

7) Anchor

Sometimes one of the guys mentioned above acts as the anchor, and other times the anchor will be one dude alone and unto his self. If you and your friends are all pieces of bread, your Anchor is the meat between you that makes you all one big awesome sandwich. He keeps tabs on everyone. Haven’t heard from Business Bro or Wildcard in a while? Call the Anchor, he’ll know what’s up. Anchors come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and they can come from any walk of life, but what they all have in common is they’re the ones that truly understand how awesome your friendship is. He’s the guy that’s not scared to text saying he misses you, or throw back shot after shot, toasting to ‘The Bros’ every single time. Trust your anchor.

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5 Ways to Exude More Confidence

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In a board meeting or on a date, confidence matters. It seems to be particularly important during those times when you feel the least confident. So what separates those men who always seem to exude confidence from the rest? They probably know the following ways to appear more confident.

#1 Stand Up Straight – It may sound trite but it’s the real deal. Standing up straight not only gives the impression that you are confident, it actually triggers the release of testosterone, which makes you feel more aggressive and, let’s face it, more confident. So the next time you’re in an uncertain situation, stand up tall, pull your shoulders back, and lift your chin. Look the person in the eye and feel your confidence increase.

#2 Stop Caring What Other People Think – The more you worry about what other people think of you, the more your confidence will be depleted. Instead, know that regardless of what you do some people will applaud and some will boo. Choose to be true to yourself and you’ll be proud and confident regardless of how others react.

#3 Take Good Care of Yourself – Now we’re talking about taking care of yourself in all of the ways that matter and impact your health and wellbeing. Exercise. Get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. Eat well and treat your body with respect. When you feel good, you look good and people respond. You’ll exude confidence and health.

#4 Develop and Embrace a Positive Mindset – Think about the people you know who exude confidence. Are they negative people? Do they complain and criticize? Not likely. Instead, they’re proactive and positive people. They take action and they make the best of situations, even when situations aren’t so good. Also, it’s good to know that when you embrace a positive and proactive mindset, others around you tend to follow suit. You’ll have a positive impact on them as well.

#5 Learn, Never Stop Learning – Learning new things engages your mind. It helps keep those synapses firing and exposes you to new ideas and new people. Broadening your knowledge is a fantastic way to meet new people, explore new opportunities, and put your new knowledge to good use.

Confidence is a trait that some people seem to be naturally born with and if you look at the list of five tips you’ll see that they are all learnable. You can learn to exude more confidence. Doing so will change your world.

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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Whisky

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Whisky has a reputation. Men who drink whisky are tough, smart, and confident. They know who they are and what they like to drink. Whisky isn’t an easy drink so to enjoy it, it helps to know a bit about it.

It Begins with the Grain

Whisky is a distilled beverage made from fermented grain mash. The grain that’s chosen has the most significant impact on the flavor of the whisky. Grains commonly used include barley, malted barley, rye, and malted rye. The grain is mashed first, which means water is added; it’s often heated, and then it’s allowed to sit and ferment. Whisky fermentation often takes place in oak barrels, which can have a significant effect on the flavor of the whisky.

Whisky is Beer

To make whisky you have to make beer first. The “wash,” a technical term for beer, is then distilled two or three more times. In fact, many whiskys, including Tennessee whiskys and bourbons use hops.

Regions and Types

While there is some dispute about how many types of whisky there really are, the primary regions and types of whisky include:

  • Scotch Whisky – AKA, Scotch, this whisky has a smoky flavor due to the fact that it’s made from barley that’s been dried over a peat fire. Common brands include Macallan, Glenlivit, Tallisker, and Highland Park.
  • Irish Whisky – Made using pure malted barley, it is triple distilled. Common brands include Jameson’s, Bushmill’s, Michael Collins, and Power’s. It’s clean, strong, and does not have the smoky flavor of some whiskys.
  • Tennessee Whisky – This is the same thing as Bourbon or Kentucky Whisky except for the fact that it’s not made in Bourbon, Kentucky. Common brands include Jack Daniels and Jailer’s.
  • Kentucky (Bourbon) – Made of mostly corn, it tends to taste sweeter than other whiskys. Good examples would be Wild Turkey and Maker’s Mark.
  • Canadian Whisky – This is the most popular whisky in the United States. It’s made from malted rye and can be distilled several times. Common brands include Seagram’s and Crown Royal.

There are, of course, other whiskys available in other countries, including New Zealand, Japan, and Australia. There are also whisky blends. These blends are created from taking whiskys from other distilleries and blending them. Johnnie Walker is an example of a whisky blend, as is Dewar’s, Jameson, and Chivas Regal.

The Water of Life

Whisky literally means “Water of Life” in Gaelic and you might have noticed that the Scottish spelling of Whisky is different than everyone else. Many believe that when the Irish began making whisky their word for it sounded a bit different and an e was added. Regardless of how you spell it, learning to understand the different types of whiskys can help you find the one you prefer. On ice or straight, whisky may become your favorite drink.

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7 Kitchen Tools You Can’t Live Without

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Tools are fun, generally. They make life easier and can add enjoyment to some jobs. In the kitchen, there are some kitchen tools you just can’t, and shouldn’t, live without. Add the following tools to your kitchen ensemble and you’ll be prepared to cook just about anything.

#1 Good Knife

Actually, three good knives are better. Invest in a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife for cutting baked goods and tomatoes.  Find a size that feels nice and fits in your hand. If a knife is too large or too small for your hand, nasty accidents can happen. Learn to use your knife and take good care of it. Generally, that means hand washing and drying your knives and learning to sharpen them with a whet stone.

#2 Whisks

Again, you can probably get away with one medium size whisk, but why would you? A large whisk works well for baking. A medium size whisk takes care of just about everything in between, from scrambled eggs to sauces. Small whisks are excellent for mixed drinks. Stainless steel whisks are durable and they look good in your utensil holder as well.

#3 Mandolin

Okay, if you’re dangerous in the kitchen, then maybe let someone else handle the mandolin. Essentially, this amazing tool lets you make julienned vegetables, French fries, and thin slices, too. You swap out the blade, set it to the appropriate thickness, and then slice your fruits or vegetables along the length of it. You get perfectly even slices. But the blade is sharp, so watch out.

#4 Cutting Board

Now, some people prefer wooden cutting boards and others prefer plastic or some other material. Honestly, the material doesn’t matter as much as the durability and usefulness of the board. For example, you may not want a wooden cutting board if you’re using it for raw meat.

#5 Silicone Spatula

Actually, grab a handful of these in different sizes. Silicone can’t be put in the dishwasher but they’re incredibly durable and they don’t stick to anything. They’re also heat resistant so you can leave them in the pan and they won’t melt.

#6 Cast Iron Skillet

Admittedly, a cast iron skillet isn’t by definition a kitchen tool; it’s more like a fundamental appliance. You just can’t do without one. You can whip up scrambled eggs in it, make a steak, or put it in the oven and make cobbler. Cast iron skillets are wicked easy to take care of too.

#7 Mixing Bowls

Last but not least, grab an assortment of mixing bowls. The range should begin with a large cereal bowl size and increase to an “I can wash my dog in that” size bowl. You’ll use them for just about every recipe you make.

The great thing about this list of kitchen tools is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on any of the items to get good quality. You can find a cast iron skillet, for example, at your local hardware store. Stock up and start cooking!

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