After taking a year off, Pitter Patter Fest has returned and this year will take place in four provinces, running from Thurs September 13th through to Sunday September 16th. Rancho Relaxo will be a venue for all four nights of the festival and me, the Indie Machine, GreenShades, and of course Keith Hamilton and Pitter Patter put together an awesome schedule for you.
If you aren’t familiar with Pitter Patter Fest, it is a unique festival with the hallmark of having no application fee and guaranteed Pay What You Can cover. It is run largely by volunteers and covers the East Coast, Quebec, and Ontario. Over the course of the festival we will have 16 acts at Rancho Relaxo. Here are your details:
Thursday September 13th: GreenShades, Two Way Monologues, & Pitter Patter Fest Present:
Royal Creatures: A brand-new band with just two live gigs under their belt, Royal Creatures are two former members of the Craft Economy joined by two members from another band. That is where the comparison between the Craft Economy and Royal Creatures ends. This band is dirty, they are heavy, and they play hard. It lives in that blurry area between heavy garage and punk. A tremendous band and a great way to kick off this festival. Set time: 10 PM
Cave Baby: Cave Baby is where Andy from the Craft Economy went after leaving the band in order to take a chance as a lead guitarist and vocalist. The resulting recordings were some of my favourite in Toronto in 2011. Reminding me of the Thermals at their most raw and visceral. The band has been at work on new songs but real life has kept them from hitting the stage for quite some time. This all changes on September 13th. Set time: 11 PM
Sleep for the Nightlife: There was a time when Sleep For the Nightlife was always playing Rancho, be it for Two Way Monologues or later on for GreenShades shows. But it has been a while now since they’ve been back. I can tell you the boys at GreenShades are thrilled to have them play this show. Sleep for the Nightlife has always been one of Toronto’s finest, if not the finest, instrumental rock outfits. This is a set you do not want to miss. Set time: 12 AM
Terror Lake: Perhaps no band aside from Keith’s own band is a staple of Pitter Patter Festival like Terror Lake are. The band doesn’t play as often as it did, but spend a few minutes on their website and instantly you’ll remember that they are and always will be one of the most vital and stellar Toronto acts. With an act like the Speaking Tongues playing their final show the other day, it’s more important than ever to enjoy every set you get from long-time Toronto music-scene warriors like Terror Lake. Set time: 1 AM
Friday Sept 14th: Two Way Monologues, the Indie Machine, & Pitter Patter Fest Present:
Sky of Sound: If you don’t yet know Sky of Sound, it will not be long now before you are hearing about them relentlessly. The band, composed of several dynamic and very diverse musicians, originally had a sound that was great but appealed to a very small audience. But as they’ve played more, practiced more, and written more they’ve begun to pen some of the finest songs and arrangements in Toronto — or quite frankly, anywhere. With a new album coming and merch debuting at this show, expect the night to kick off with a bang and a wow. Set time: 10 PM
Persian Rugs: You’ll notice a theme here soon, if you haven’t already. This night — and the festival in general at Rancho — features some of Toronto’s greatest bands. Persian Rugs have just finished recording at Sloan’s studio for their follow up to the beautifully haunting indie-pop classic Always All EP. The world needs more bands making music like Persian Rugs — come and hear why at Pitter Patter Fest. Set Time: 11 PM
Czars: When promoting music you inevitably encounter a band who you have witnessed grow and develop to the point where they release a very strong and promising album…only to see the band immediately break up. That is what happened to Czars, who released their album Arrows Onward and played their best set ever at Rancho Relaxo to a huge crowd, only to have a member move to the East Coast and not get to play again. Until September 14th, that is, when Czars will rise once again. Czars’ set will include their full live setup, with projections and everything. Set Time: 12:00 AM
Pkew Pkew Pkew: If you are like me then for quite a while now you’ve been anxiously waiting for Pkew x3 to drop their hotly anticipated vinyl Red Ass. Word is that vinyl is dropping in October. In the meantime Pkew x3 are back for another Pitter Patter at Rancho and they are playing at drunk’o’clock. Quite frankly, there is no better time to see Pkew x3 than at the end of the night! Set Time: 1:00 AM
Saturday Sept 15th: Two Way Monologues and Pitter Patter Fest Present:
Goodnight, Sunrise: Two Way Monologues and Goodnight, Sunrise are destined to be together, it seems. Keith had the idea to put Goodnight, Sunrise on this bill, and who am I to ever say no to one of the hardest-working rising bands in Toronto? They are about to record an album that should shake this city’s very soul — an album you can help them finance, no less! Huge way to open the night. Set Time: 10:00 PM
The Stables: The Stables have been playing the Rancho for so long that they once were playing it under the name the Kent Boys. They played my rehearsal dinner, they coincidentally played the night I found out I was having a kid, AND they may well be playing the night my kid is born if Ezra decides to join us that day. That’s heavy shit, right? One of my favourite bands to watch. One of my favourite bands to grace the Rancho stage of all time. Sold yet? Set Time: 11 PM.
The DGB: While you’ve been likely sleeping the DGB have been evolving and recharging. Make no mistake, they are still the same guys who tirelessly toured the country from coast to coast over and over again. But they are also a band who are going in a new direction, with an added female band member and an updated approach to their songwriting that brings the 90s grunge sound they have forward to places it’s never been before. Set Time: 12 AM.
The Handsome Fix: The Handsome Fix are a relatively new band under this combination, but not as individual musicians. Combining guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass, and drums, the band plays intensely energized folk/country/rock about things like whiskey. Weird then, that I found myself gravitating towards them… Set Time: 1 AM.
Sunday September 16th: Two Way Monologues and Pitter Patter Fest Present:
The Bright Skies: I just found out about the Bright Skies recently but I very much like what I have heard so far. Having recently reconfigured the band, the Bright Skies have a vibrant and invigorating — and at times very much soaring — indie-pop/rock sound. It’s the perfect stuff to kick off a night with. Early start, Sunday-night rules. Set Time: 9 PM
The Autumn Stones: Once upon a time Brennan Gault of the Cheap Speakers told me about a neat Toronto act called the Assistants. Years later I hear about the Autumn Stones and am absolutely captivated by their song “Under My Spell” — and it turns out the band shares a few members from the Assistants. I strongly suggest clicking their link and taking a listen to their full album on Bandcamp. Set Time: 10 PM
Patti Cake: Their album is called The Prime Minister of Cool Chicks and that is very much what Patti Cake and lead singer Kritty embody. Kritty has assembled an her insanely talented band that puts on a hell of a live show, one that encourages even the stiffest of concert attenders to sway — and perhaps even dance. Set Time: 11 PM.
The Unquiet Dead: Windsor has a truly special music scene: close enough to Detroit, within reach of Toronto, and yet far enough from everything else that they have to scratch and claw for whatever they get. The members of the Unquiet Dead have been scratching and clawing longer and harder than everyone and with this project they might finally be smashing the glass ceiling. What a great way to end the fest. Set Time: 12 AM.
Programming a festival like this is not easy. Doing it with very little money and trying to do it in as artist-friendly a way as possible is even harder. We have Keith Hamilton to thank for that. I strongly encourage you to support this festival and the ethic behind what it supports.