Ben Rayner, TorontoStar

Ben Rayner



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  • TorontoStar
  • Hamilton Spectator
  • GuelphMercuryTribune
  • WR Record

Past articles by Ben:

Toronto musician, Simone Schmidt, put advocating for homeless in encampments ahead of album launch

“Fiver and the Atlantic School of Spontaneous Composition” was released May 7. → Read More

Blowup — the pop party that united T.O. anglophiles for a decade — back for its silver jubilee

The party that forged friendships returns on Saturday at the Peacock House. → Read More

Céline Dion was flawless in Toronto, with vocal power, charm and hits to burn

More than a decade after her last Toronto show, Dion had the audience in her hip pocket from the start and kept it there, writes Ben Rayner. → Read More

Hot local pop duo reveal Ice Cream’s surprising ingredients, from Cher to ZZ Top

Women with new album talk of their influences as they prepare to play Venus Fest on Friday in Chinatown. → Read More

For Dallas Green’s City and Colour, a triumphant tour is also a reminder of a terrible loss

After the death of friend and collaborator Karl Bareham, Dallas Green tells Ben Rayner he’s taking it ‘day to day’. → Read More

John Mann, Spirit of the West frontman, dies at 57

Mann had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease when he was 52 → Read More

Death, disorder and a DJ: memoir chronicles the rise and fall of raves in Toronto

The man once known as Anabolic Frolic has time for one last (sedate) party next week while touting his book “Requiem for My Rave: The Story of Anabolic Frolic, Happy Hardcore and Hullabaloo!” → Read More

More than a year after Toronto's Silver Dollar Room closed, two new ones are in the works

Beloved Toronto music venue promises to return intact, while a second venue is in development in Parkdale. → Read More

Here’s how Tool unseated Taylor Swift from the No. 1 spot on the Billboard album charts

Music critic Ben Rayner explains how the band has maintained a loyal following despite breaking the music industry rules. → Read More

Roger Waters on ‘Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera,’ being ‘a slave to your emotions’ and more

As operatic adaptation of Pink Floyd album hits Toronto, band’s ex-frontman tells the Star why ‘Comfortably Numb’ has a different power in concert than it once did. → Read More

Jaw-dropping collection of Toronto concert flyers captures history for local music fans

Daniel Tate’s archive of flyers, posters and more — touting shows by everyone from Cab Calloway to Nirvana — is now a book co-authored by Rob Bowman that triggers a rush of memories for music fans and reveals their history. → Read More

Is Elton John’s farewell tour really goodbye?

Should Elton John decide in a few years to hit the road again, it’s not like anyone will really be that upset. Because a world in which Elton John is touring will always be better than a world in which Elton John is not touring, writes Ben Rayner. → Read More

New Headstones album is another mile on Hugh Dillon’s wild ride

Veteran rocker survived heroin and his band’s implosion and built an impressive acting career. Now he and the Headstones are back in hellraising form. → Read More

Black Keys show, for all its worthy songs, can’t quite blow arena’s roof off

Talented rock duo, augmented live by several sidemen, are skilled and have an armful of cracking tunes, but show would’ve been better in a smaller venue. → Read More

From Adele to Ol’ Dirty Bastard: 17 cover songs that are so wrong, they’re right

Bad cover versions of pop tunes are abundant, writes Ben Rayner, but take a moment to savour it when, like David Hasselhoff’s latest, a cover that shouldn’t work on paper works marvellously in your ears. → Read More

Post Malone concert aims low and does just enough

Young music star seems genuinely grateful for his success and humble about his work. But he could have put in a bit more effort on Thursday in Toronto, writes Ben Rayner. → Read More

Here’s what the creators of the Bob Dylan stage musical learned about his songs along the way

Conor McPherson and Simon Hale, the men behind Girl from the North Country, now in Toronto, came to appreciate his songs’ musical sturdiness — they’re ‘built like tanks’ — and the useful vagueness of the lyrics. → Read More

Thom Yorke’s show at Scotiabank blurred the lines between rock and rave — for better or worse

Yorke’s solo stop in Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena on Friday night was a reminder that rockers and the ravers still have an uneasy alliance. → Read More

Toronto musicians mourn La Hacienda, rockers’ favourite eatery and home to countless memories

A Queen St. W. institution is shutting down on Saturday — more or less — and will be remembered as a place where musicians and music lovers ruled, worked, hung out and strove to alienate the wrong sort of customers. → Read More

Canadian music’s new north star, Riit, lets talent do the talking

Singer from Nunavut not one to tout or even explain her music, getting showcased in Toronto on Saturday. → Read More