Drake opens his own nightclub, called History, in Toronto

A new 2,553-seat club that Drake helped design has just opened in his hometown of Toronto. Global promoter Live Nation, which owns and operates numerous concert halls, has teamed up with the rapper on History, located in the Beaches neighborhood in the east of the city.

Variety got a tour from general manager Steven Biasutti ahead of the sold-out opening Sunday night concert by the Jack Antonoff band Bleachers. The 35,000 square foot space occupied 80% of the adjacent Champions Off-Track Betting Greenwood building and a 300-space parking lot.

When Live Nation decided to take charge of building the story, adding another prime location to Toronto, what better choice than Drake to be its ambassador, a proud Torontonian? Biasutti said, noting that Drake is “one of the most popular artists in the world right now. What a great partnership we thought it would be, and it was a huge success.

“He wanted to bring an arena experience to the artists in a small club,” Biasutti said of his contribution.

Bleachers present the opening night of History in Toronto
Tom pandi

Unlike Drake’s members-only Sher Club inside Scotiabank Arena, described by Toronto Life as having a “vampire-like vibe in Vegas,” or his custom-built mansion in the prestigious Bridle Path, described in an article by Architectural Digest as “a marvel of yesteryear craftsmanship, made of limestone, bronze, exotic woods and other noble materials”, the story’s interior is sober and timeless. Biasutti says it is suitable for concerts of all genres as well as private weddings and corporate receptions. “I would love to see a symphony on this stage,” he adds.

History was created by DesignAgency in consultation with Live Nation Canada and Drake. The architect was IBI Group, with sound design by PRG and its lead engineer Jon Halliwell. Swallow / Thornton Tomasetti was the acoustic consultant.

The club features a 22ft x 40ft stage with a permanent LED wall, and faces a two-level room, the lower level accommodating 2202 people and the curved mezzanine 351, for a total capacity of 2553. Les seated shows can also be hosted.

“What I tell performers when they come in and preview the stage is that you can see the facial expressions of the person deep in the room, the way they’re designed,” says Biasutti. “The curve is mainly to create the best live experience for the fans. You can be anywhere, anywhere in the room, and you are always so close to the stage. You could stand right in front of the stage and still have a great view. “

The story also has the ability to live-stream and record, and is equipped with cameras “strategically located throughout the venue for speaking engagements, like TED Talks,” he says.

The fun little touches include a giant instagrammable and TikTok-compatible “H” on the wall just inside the front entrance, “where fans can let everyone on their social media know where they are and what they are. artist they will see, ”says Biasutti. , plus extras most fans won’t see. The stairwell leading from the green room to the stage has customizable “any color, any speed” lights, which the artist can select “to step forward to climb on. scene, “reveals Biasutti.

Another stairwell that artists have direct access to from their tour bus has lyrics from Canadian artists all the way down, including, of course, “Started from the bottom now, we’re here,” painted one word per golden staircase. And Toronto artist Kwest – who in 2015 designed a sculptural ping-pong table for Drake and an installation in his former restaurant Fring’s – was commissioned to paint a mural on the wall.

The venue has 55 theater-style seats in the first row on the mezzanine with a capacity of 351 seats, with 10 premium boxes directly behind them, as well as two VIP areas on the ground floor, including the North VIP box directly next to them. stage with its own bar and entrance “for super fans.” There is also a south platform on the mezzanine for the artist’s guest list and promoters. “This gives the artist the opportunity to see the hall fill up before going on stage, or the headliner to watch the opening,” Biasutti explains.

Locker rooms and lounges look like modern upscale hotels, not the austere clean rooms that are common in clubs, where performers can hang up or arrange meetups or do interviews.

“I would say green rooms definitely have its own personal touch to the artist experience,” Biasutti says of Drake’s suggestions. “So the artist is flying around the world playing at the club level, why not come to Toronto and play History and have that elevated experience?

“A lot of the spaces here are designed to give the entering artist the experience of an arena inside a club level venue. So the lighting, the sound, cutting edge green room design… most clubs around the world, across Canada don’t have those little touches that ours do.

“In terms of the fan, it’s designed to be a concert hall and designed for the fan and the artist experience. With our VIPs, this gives the super fan the opportunity in our VIP north to be as close to the artist as possible in any other club setting, as well as for the fans to have a slightly more distant view. , but still have a VIP experience.

The story was slated to open in October, but was delayed when Ontario maintained capacity restrictions due to COVID, forcing the cancellation of All Time Low, Passenger and Allan Rayman shows. “We were just waiting for the province to allow 100% capacity and permanent sites for the GA,” Biasutti explains. “Suddenly we got the green light. We were therefore ready to leave on November 7th and we are happy to have bleachers on our stage.

Story vsoncert programming:

November 7 – Bleachers
November 11 – Thundercat with Channel Tres
November 12 – Deadbeats with Zeds Dead and his guests
November 13 – Deadbeats with Zeds Dead and his guests
November 16 – Jack Harlow Crème de la Crème Tour with Babyface Ray and Mavi
November 18 – Teyana Taylor: The Last Rose Petal… Farewell Tour
November 24 – CHVRCHES
December 4 – Big Wreck & Monster Truck
December 8 – INDIE88’s 8e Birthday party with Glorious Sons and JJ Wilde
December 9 – July conference: Live At Last
December 10 – July conference: Live At Last
December 12 – Silverstein: 20th anniversary of the tour
December 17 – USS – Final Freakquency Tour
December 18 – USS – Final Freakquency Tour
December 22 – BADBADNOTGOOD Talk Memory Tour
December 28 – Duc Dumont
December 29 – Kaytranada – Fall ’21 Tour
December 30 – Kaytranada – Fall ’21 Tour
January 20 – WizKid: Made In Lagos Tour
January 21 – WizKid: Made In Lagos Tour

Jerry C. Greiner