A priori, Latin meaning “from the former” is a philosophical term denoting a type of knowledge that is independent of experience. However, for one night at Rancho Relaxo, Toronto’s fine Mexican Dining restaurant/music venue, it meant something completely different.
Tonight, A Priori, meant leaving behind your preconceptions and approaching the next few hours of live music as an empty slate. It required taking the music for what it is, sitting back and allowing the arguments to flow past me regardless of my agreement with. I must say a clever use of the philosophical concept by promoter/performer Khaleel (K-rule) Seivwright. So, I did what the event required. I sat back with a good friend and a few beers listening to the music as it entered my ears. The culmination of that night led to the following, this experience-based, subjective account of the night and its events.
Rancho Relaxo, a small intimate venue just a hop and a skip from College & Spadina with a casual atmosphere where I prepared myself to wade through a night of local bands in an independent scene in order to write about my experience. As the venue filled I slowly noticed that though there were a lot of people in the venue but it didn’t interrupt the calm mood until the first few bands took the stage. The night became a flurry of sound and energy as bands flooded the stage with music ranging desert and punk rock to what I can only describe as some sort of tribal/blues/jazz/funk.
Punk influenced alt-rock. The one thing I remember most about this band is the energy of their lead vocalist running around the stage and singing at the crowd. He had a powerful voice which boomed over the music. He seemed to have an old school metal influence in his range. Another standout was the guitarist who carried the band with his proficiency. Though the band had an interesting sound their energy seemed to lessen as they ended their set. However, It was a great kickoff to the evening.
Loud in your face punk rock. Fronting a female vocalist, the band took the stage with truculent force. The five piece was strong and energetic through their whole set even creating a bit of a mosh pit, in which, one crowd surfer hit head on a ceiling fan. The bands cover of Seven Nation Army and Sexy and I know it had the audience bouncing up and down on the Relaxo floor. Even through broken strings and bruises the band continued on and left the audience fulfilled and as they the stage they left the crowd with a message. “Don’t be a bitch! Be a shit disturber!”
Album Download: Mother Leads http://motherleads.bandcamp.com/
Experimental garage rock. This three piece who shares a drum with the next band was impressive. The band let the instruments speak for themselves allowing the bass player to shine alongside the sleazy guitar workings of the lead vocalist. Mother Leads were really able to get the crowd pumped and remained in control at all times. The clear stand-out of the night as a well-practiced and extremely tight band. The two elements that made this particular band standout was the use of noise rock elements into their set and the vocalist’s voice that sounded like a lower toned Matthew Good with a bit of grit.
Album Download: Basement Filth http://wombofficial.bandcamp.com/album/basement-filth
Desert rock with a fearless edge and a twist of blues. This small three piece, took me from a small Mexican restaurant to the Mexican deserts imagining myself tired and beaten, walking down an endless road toward the sun. Womb is no stranger to dynamics and works flawlessly between tempos to create the appropriate mood for their musical stylings. Although the singer had some technical issues with his vocal processor his voice ripped through rounds of drums, sleazy guitar riffs and a fuzzy bass to provide the audience with a solid performance.
All-girl indie alt-rock. This even smaller two-piece band really surprised me with their writing style. The band evades regular song format and opts to change around the atmosphere of songs halfway through but not abruptly as to confuse the listener but rather to pull you back in. Their music seemed in constant defiance of usual song structure but had varying dynamics to compliment the interesting changes made throughout the songs. Though they were missing a band member and timing was a bit off it was a performance worth seeing for a second time with the full band.
Slaves to the Groove
There is no accurate description of this group so I will simply give you my notes on them. Be prepared. Elements of blues and jazz among fuzzy guitars and bass adding to bongo drums and analog pianos reciting poetic ramblings and singing two feet off the floor accompanied by tribal dancing dressed in Mexican wrestling masks. And don’t forget the addition of some reggae and ska elements. The band was like an interesting art project that you know was worth millions but you did not quite understand why. An entertaining experience worth trying for yourself.
If you’d like to hear more tune in to the Dr. Taylor North Show @6pm on Tuesdays.
Do it Yourself. Do it Together.
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