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Cherry Bomb Live debuts

Live music meets club beats

Veteran DJs Denise Benson and Cozmic Cat have no problem keeping Toronto’s clubbing homos bopping to the latest funk, house, electro, hip hop, soul, rock and reggae beats at the monthly editions of Cherry Bomb. This duo has been turning Andy Poolhall into an exciting space for queers to dance their asses off since June of 2007. Now the ambitious pair are adding something new to the mix. Cherry Bomb Live is a bimonthly concert series (with plans to go monthly in the fall) that will feature some of the funkiest local and national performers. Benson explains that this will not interrupt the regularly scheduled Cherry Bomb dance party, but rather complement it.

Although this is the first Cherry Bomb Live in name, it’s not the first time CB has done a live, concert-style showcase. In fact, in April 2010, Cherry Bomb introduced Shell Toe Live, an event that brought together some of queer hip hop’s best and garnered much success. The full house and warm reception greatly inspired Benson and Cozmic to focus on developing their formula of providing a platform for queer-positive musicians to advocate their thoughts on culture, politics and lifestyle.

Debuting this Friday, April 8 at the Garrison, Cherry Bomb Live will merge traditional CB DJ sets with live performances. On the turntables alongside Benson and Cozmic will be guest DJ Nino Brown. The live performances will feature Latin American hip hop trailblazer La Bomba, hybrid dancehall-indie and R&B pair Bonjay and the 10-piece glam rockers Tomboyfriend.

Tomboyfriend band pic


Led by Toronto poet-songwriter Ryan Kamstra, Tomboyfriend has been on the scene for about four years. Recently, they have been receiving critical acclaim for their first studio album, Don’t Go to School. “We live in Toronto, and, most of us being queer, we have at some time attended, hooked-up and/or been kicked out of a Cherry Bomb event,” jokes member Adriana Alarcon. She explains that both Benson and Cozmic have remixed their songs and have always shown interest in featuring their music at CB events – so Cherry Bomb Live seemed like a perfect fit.

When asked what the audience can expect in their performance, Alarcon replies, “Something for everyone! Not in the politically correct corny sense, but really – where else do you find high femmes, mouthy butches, a not-a-pretty-girl boy keyboardist, and a crazy meatloaf-like frontman?”

The diverse representation on stage is in harmony with the open policy that CB has always honoured – welcoming everyone who is respectful of queerness into their events. Benson and Cozmic believe the politics of sexuality and gender shouldn’t be carried onto the dancefloor; instead everybody is invited to “sweat, dance, cruise.”

You can check out the first Cherry Bomb Live at the Garrison (1197 Dundas St W) this Friday, April 8, from 9pm onward ($10 at the door). For more information go to the official Cherry Bomb site or visit them on Facebook.

Cherry Bomb Live Event Flyer

Cherry Bomb Live Event Flyer

If Friday’s events sound exciting to you and you’re curious about what the next the second Cherry Bomb Live has up its sleeve, Benson shares the scoop: the second CB live event will be at the Garrison on Saturday, June 4, and it will feature Egyptian-born queer rapper Jazz (who  performed at last year’s CB Pride event). This event will also bring together indie stars Gentleman Reg and James Bunton to form Light Fires as well as the South-Asian sensation LAL, featuring Rosina Kazi, Ian De Souza and Nick Murray – proving Cherry Bomb Live will likely be a Toronto hotspot all summer long.



  1. Paula Burrows on Thursday 7, 2011

    YES!!! i cant wait for this party !!!!

  2. Tomboyfriend on Thursday 7, 2011

    This is just the best, Parul! Thanks so much! B/c we’re total losers about not wanting to say anything untrue, let us be annoyingly exact and say it was in fact only cozmic who remixed one of our songs [ (so far! ;) ] and this is the first time Cherry Bomb ever approached us with such a wonderful thing as playing their event. We ran around the room shrieking and shouting, gradually calmed ourselves, enough to muster typing “Yes, we would be pleased to, thank you” like we were all super cool. Thanks for this article! Cherry Bomb is going to be brain-splitting. Queeries rocks.