The Weekly Rancho Rundown

What’s up folks? Welcome to our new weekly feature, your one-stop show for finding out what’s going on at Rancho Relaxo each week — for TWM shows and others. For each show, I’ll provide you with the Facebook event link and as well the Show Gopher link, providing there is one. For any further details on any of these shows feel free to email me at and I’ll help you out!

This week we are open from Tuesday to Saturday. Read on for the details…

Tuesday May 8th: Hot to the Touch @ 11:20, Jason Legge solo of the Skirt Chasers @ 10:20, The Badniks @ 9:40; Pay What You Can
FB event

The Badniks are a brand-new band that crosses continents. A couple of Europeans moved to Toronto and hooked up with a Torontonian and former member of the Vestaloynes (who were quite good). They played their debut show at Rancho not all that long ago. Cool band, alas very little online to listen to.

Highlight of the show for me is the solo set from Jason Legge of the Skirt Chasers, a Toronto two-piece featuring Jason and Hilary Chan on drums. They play blues-rock with Elvis soaked vocals and are one of the more exciting live bands in the city. Jason’s been working on a more traditional country(ish) solo set and he’ll debut it at Rancho on Tuesday. You can hear the first song from the set in advance here.

Closing out the night is Hot to the Touch. The first time I had them, they played pretty much exclusively covers and had one original song. That night I remembered thinking, they did an alright job on the covers but the original “Fancy Party” had a lot of potential. These days, they have a lot more originals, one of which is available as a free download at the FB link provided. It’s a rather hilarious tongue-in-cheek song called “The Exam Song” and well, we’ve all been there.

Weds May 9th: Joseph and The Mercurials @ 11:30, Borders @ 10:40, Bajcar @ 9:50; Pay What You Can
FB event

This show is headlined by Joseph and the Mercurials. You might remember Joseph from Polynesian Bride, a band that had a zillion members and a ton of energy but alas were unable to last very long in the Toronto scene. Having learned some valuable lessons, Joseph is back in a trimmed-down four-piece with creative instrumentation including bass, guitar, synth, violin, and drums. No music up as of yet, but they are calling it 50s/new wave/crooner/punk — if you can figure out what that will sound like without attending, more power to you!

Before that we have Borders, which much like the headliner has a creative instrumentation setup that you can see if you follow the provided link and watch the video. It’s steeped in folky goodness but in a subtle and dark way — my favourite kind of folkish music.

Starting the night, the infamous/famous Bajcar of the Grim Preachers shall be bringing us his solo set. Well, at least last I heard it was solo. The thing about Bajcar is that he is nothing but unpredictable; I wouldn’t be surprised if he showed up with a nine-piece band for this show. With his trademark growl and huge talent on the organ, Bajcar has a voice that is absolutely undeniably his. Some rough demos of new songs are up at the link provided.

Thurs May 10th: Mars @ 11:30, Boxfull of Groundhogs @ 10:45, Swim Trunks @ 10:00, Inland Island @ 9:30; $5
FB event

The boys from Mars are throwing this Thursday show with a bunch of their close friends. These set times seem optimistic, so expect them to run at least a half hour later than what they are saying. Alas, these acts are all relatively green and/or haven’t taken the time to put up recordings. But if you like exuberant indie rock and wanna find a new band to back, this is your show. It should be a super energetic and exciting night of young indie rock on the rise.

Friday May 11th: Live on Brighton @ 12:00, Tracking Nicely @ 11:00, The Folk @ 10:00; $6
FB event
Show Gopher preview

TWM puts on this rockin’ show as our only bill this weekend. The night starts with one of Toronto’s better indie pop acts — they headlined a show for me back in April and it kicked some serious ass. Lots of people didn’t have the stamina to make it that far, but this week you don’t have to worry about it as they open up the night. Don’t be misled by the name, there is nothing Folky about the Folk.

Following that up we have Tracking Nicely, who haven’t graced the Rancho stage in what feels like an eternity. Tracking Nicely do something that not that many bands do anymore and that is play straight up rock n roll without worrying about having some twist to separate themselves from the pack. I tell my Artist Management class this all the time — sometimes what sets you apart is being a really good band who doesn’t bother trying to do something out of the box. In the Toronto music scene in 2012 it’s refreshing to just hear a sweet rock band. That, my friends, is what you get with Tracking Nicely.

Closing out the night are Live on Brighton! Live on Brighton are part of the recent wave of bands relocating from all over Canada to come to Toronto. These boys came from the West Coast and are playing Rancho for the first time. They play big anthemic pop-rock songs with a bit of a punk undertone. It’s the kinda stuff you want to end your night with when you are just starting to feel those Stock Ales having their way with you.

Saturday May 12th: Presented by The Indie Machine w/ Faraway Neighbours @ 12:00, Wax Mannequin @ 11:10, Abigail Lapell @ 10:20, Dan Kosub @ 9:30; $6
FB Event
Show Gopher preview

The night starts with Dan Kosub, which I would describe as chamber pop meets rock. His bio suggests “he merges the pop sensibilities of Maroon 5 and Barenaked Ladies with the rock n roll purpose of Springsteen and the poetic lyrical instrospection of Elliott Smith.” To be totally honest, that description kinda made me feel a bit sick to my stomach. Thankfully, what I hear is the Elliott Smith and in a big way, particularly on the more somber songs. Sometimes people get too caught up in writing a bio that sounds impressive as opposed to just telling it how it is. I really like this guy when he does the more introspective songs like “Till I’m There” and “Fifteen Summers.” I’d suggest coming early to catch him.

Then it’s Abigail Lapell, who fits this folkish bill just fine. She’s been playing around Toronto and elsewhere for a while and garnering a strong following and reputation. She does what she does extremely well even if it’s not exactly what I personally listen to most of the time.

Then the iM has a special treat for you, WAX MANNEQUIN! Wax Mannequin is a bit of a indie legend and this is going to be the first time in a long time — ever? — that he’s graced the Rancho stage. I probably don’t need to tell you about Wax Mannequin at this point, but needless to say this is going to be one of the most memorable sets the Indie Machine have ever put on at Rancho.

Closing it out is Faraway Neighbours, a band I know as a fact Dave from the iM has had booked for quite some time now. Faraway Neighbours are an alt-folk trio based out of North Bay who are on tour to celebrate putting out some new music. While Abigail plays the type of folk-pop that isn’t always my cup of tea, Faraway Neighbours are exactly what my ears crave, taking folk into a kinda spacey ethereal place a la a band like Timber Timbre.

That is your weekly Rancho Rundown, maybe I’ll see you at the bar?


Dan Wolovick


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