The Weekly Rancho Rundown

Here’s edition no. 2 of our weekly rundown of what’s going on at the Rancho Relaxo.  I call this the “Rancho bartender and all-around great dude Casey Lyons had his birthday party last night on the Mezzrow’s patio until last call, and I can barely think let alone write” edition.  But I will try since you are all lovely and I wouldn’t want to let you down.  This week we are open Tues-Sat and they are all my shows — I’m exhausted already!

Tuesday May 15th: Jean is Dead at 11:25, Joob @ 10:35, The Stogies at 9:45; Presented by TWM; $5
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Halifax comes to Toronto to kick off the night with the Stogies, a rock band through and through and a throwback one at that with huge riffs, crashing drums, stadium-style vocals, and a show that will slap you in the face and not feel any remorse for it.  Shotgun a few beers, embrace your inner Guns N Roses fandom, and get your ass down to the Rancho nice and early for this set.

Then it is Joob up next! Hailing from Hamilton, Joob are a brand new band made up of several people from other acts you might recall.  But their music stands alone and is a sweet blend of rock with a fair amount of blues as well.  They have more recordings now than when I booked them, so click the name at the top of this blurb and take a listen for yourself.  The guitar in particular is rather epic.

Closing it out we have Jean is Dead, who will wake the neighbours with their brand of kickass punk rock.  I have seen this band once before and they absolutely thrash on that stage.  It’s a take-no-prisoners style of rock, where they get up there and blaze through their setlist — you either love it or you deal with it.  I like that mentality.  Truthfully, Jean is Dead isn’t even the type of music I’d normally listen to but they kick ass.  That’s saying something.

Weds May 16th: The Return of God at 11:20, The Smile Case at 10:30, Lauren Heenan at 9:40; Presented by TWM; PWYC
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Lauren Heenan kicks off our PWYC Weds.  You may know Lauren from her great local band Avery Island, but this will be a solo set.  Lauren has a few songs on her Bandcamp, provided at the top.  This is a very stripped-down sound compared to what you are used to with Avery Island, but I always love seeing front people for bands solo. It gives you perspective as to how they eventually get to the sound you are used to as a band.  Plus, it doesn’t hurt when you have a voice like Lauren does.

Next up is the Smile Case, a project of Ben Andress who, when he isn’t busy working on his label and doing things like releasing the new Wheatus (yes Wheatus!) album on vinyl, sometimes gets up on stage and rocks an acoustic folk-punk set.  We’ve had this once before at Rancho and the Smile Case stole the show playing on the floor: no mics, no plugs, and everyone captivated and, at times, in stitches.  Can it be topped?

Closing it out we have the Return of God, the new musical and movie project of Ashley Beattie and his backing band.  I said it before and I’ll say it again, I haven’t heard something local that instantly captivated me the way this recording does.  I’m a sucker for innovative music — add a concept to it and I’m even more likely to be obsessed.  This could very well be the best set of the week at Rancho.  Well worth staying out on a Weds night for.

Thurs May 17th: The Raspberry Heaven at 11:40, Lonnie in the Garden at 10:40, Stranger Danger at 9:40; Presented by TWM; $6.
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The opening act Stranger Danger are without recordings as of yet but have invoked the name of the great Brennan Gault (Cheap Speakers) in promising that they are going to be very good.  That was enough for me.  Brennan is a god around the Rancho, after all.

After that we have Lonnie in the Garden, who have a song on Bandcamp that has been absolutely slaying me.  They’ll have just put out a 7″ on one of the best labels going in Canada right now, Out Sound, and they’ll have said 7s at the show!  Think psychedelic rock meets folk rock, with a big splash of noise rock worked in as well.  This powerhouse act features members of Say Domino and Whoop-szo, both bands who are awesome as well.

Then we have the Raspberry Heaven.  I have no clue if it’s full band or if it’s solo; I thought I had booked a band but now it’s a mystery.  Regardless, the act plays either way and so it should not disappoint.  I’ve only recently gotten to know about the Raspberry Heaven, but the act is gigging constantly and all over the place.  That kinda hustle combined with this type of talent will take you a long long way.

Friday May 18th: John Holmes Book Club at 12, Atom and the Volumes at 11, The Good Luck Foundation at 10; Presented by TWM; $6
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Much love goes out to the openers of this show, the Good Luck Foundation, who stepped in on the heels of two touring bands going AWOL just before the show.  I hate when that stuff happens but I love when a quality act like the Good Luck Foundation steps up and saves the day.  When these guys played Rancho I had a particular song that was my favourite — they took it to heart and put it up online before anything else.  That’s pretty damn cool!  They play rockin’ music with a dash of Queens of the Stone Age and a ton of live energy.

Then we have Atom and the Volumes who are promoting this show as same Volumes but different setup.  What that means is that the band, typically a pretty rockin’ outfit, are trying out a more electro-inspired set.  I quite like their sound already and I’m sure if you listen to the link provided you’ll be getting a good idea what they sound like even in the new setup.  But who knows!  It’s also a birthday show which usually makes for some fun shenanigans.

Closing it out we have the reformed, reunited, and recharged John Holmes Book Club!  It has been basically a year since JHBC took to any stage, and a lot longer since they took to a Rancho stage.  They have a new lineup and are literally chomping at the bit to take their heavier indie-rock back to the stage and deliver some serious rock to their legion of adoring fans!

Sat May 19th: The Bitterweed Draw @ 12, Nerds with Guitars @ 11, Rory @ 10; Presented by TWM; $6.
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To say this is an eclectic bill would not do it justice.  On this night, we shall be celebrating the release of Nerds with Guitars’ EP.  These guys are a acoustic folk duo who play songs very well that also happen to be absolutely hilarious.  So how do you, then, put a bill together for such a tough to match combination?  Like this.

Rory is a big fan of Nerds with Guitars, and Nerds with Guitars are a big fan of Rory.  Rory plays music that nestles in somewhere between the worlds of folk, pop, and even a bit of country.  He plays with a backing band but not your typical guitar, bass, drums setup whatsoever.  But what really sets Rory apart from others playing similar music is the vocals.  Holy hell this dude can sing.

And closing it out, all the way from Alberta, is the Bitterweed Draw!  Several people from all across the country have told me how great this band is.  They play rockin’ banjo-heavy, whiskey soaked songs about, well, things like drinking, drinking whiskey, life and how it can be hard sometimes, and some more stuff about whiskey.  In case you didn’t know, I’m a pretty big fan of whiskey.  I’ll be drinking all of it during this set.

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