If you weren’t there, you missed it. You missed the last Home and Native Sound Series showcase at Clinton’s Tavern in Toronto for the second of three 2010/2011 seasons. Now, you’ll have to wait three weeks until Season Three begins.
(But don’t cry about it; look back here and we’ll tell you where to go for great music until then)
Anyway, that showcase you missed on August 21 was a great one – maybe our favourite ever.
The bands hit with the highest energy from the start of the Alt-Rock/Indie/Urban showcase, with Red Slam Collective opening the night.
A piercing electric guitar jars the crowd and two break dancers battle it out on the narrow expanse between the tables and the stage.
Yeah, you read that right – break dancers.
The five-part group was part punk, part ska, part grunge. Their take on skater-hip hop is less Blink-182, and more Sublime.
They transitioned so insanely well between songs that it’s hard to say where one track ends and another begins.
And while their vocals were a tad weak at times, their musicianship, and even more so their showmanship, made up for it tenfold. They pumped up the audience so full of get-up-and-dance energy, seemingly without stopping for a breath themselves.
With the Collective’s spirit still surging through the veins of all at the Tavern, it was time for The Broadys to take stage.
The Montreal-based trio is a case study of rock music.
Hard-hitting drums bump, a torrent of bass throbs, and an electric guitar shreds fast and lean. They compliment each other well, meshing and melding but never overpowering one another.
The frontman’s vocals are strong – the Dave Grohl-looking guitarist has a throaty hoarse voice at times, but can belt out softer tunes on cue. The backing vocals are flattering, adding support and letting the lead singer take centre-stage – as should be.
Even their vocals and instrumentals are cohesive and practiced, working well together without being contrived.
In short, The Broadys embody true rock.
While their vocals and instrumentals are evenly paired, such is not the case with Keith Rich and the Po’ Boys.
The talented threesome focused clearly on vocals, which were unparalleled. Instrumentals consisted of a semi-acoustic guitar and a cajon box drum (it literally looks like a wooden box, but sounds like a drum).
The guitar is twangy and steadily soothing. The cajon is quiet and provides a soft track to move the songs forward. The instrumentals tend to induce a toe-bouncing, head-bobbing, need-to-move aura over the audience, but the instrument-playing brothers from Saskatoon aren’t Keith Rich.
It’s clear that vocalist Keith Rich is intended to be more of the focus of the group – though the sheer skill of the brothers cannot be ignored. Rich has a drawn out, disconnected, hoarse style of singing, and when combined with the dirt road feel of the Po’ Boys’ instrumentals, well, it makes country cool again.
The goodtime vibes are in high supply, especially when Rich and the Boys harmonize – sweet, calm, and perfectly pitched.
And pitched last on the stage was Octobre’s Ending. The so-cal, ska-infused quartet are reminiscent of early No Doubt, right down to the (pregnant) vocalist’s guttural, nasally sound.
But don’t think for a second that just because she is with child that her energy is depleted.
The entire band has vibrancy for days – the drums are at a fast, loud march, while the guitars are versatile, sliding between zest and wah-wah, between a focus and a supporting role.
Their sound is an assault (the good kind), almost forcing you to jump up – and keep jumping. And the crowd did just that.
The third and final season of the Home and Native Sound Series will begin in mid-September, and you can bet your butt that Raz Mataz will be there front and centre.