Rah Rah: Broken Down, But Not Stranded
NXNE has begun! So much to do, so many bands to see, and so many pints of beer to consume; the pressure is on! As fun as it may be for me as a spectator, I can only imagine what it must be like for a band that has traveled all the way from Regina, Saskatchewan to play just a festival in Toronto.
Rah Rah may be from Regina, but NXNE isn't their only stop, and they aren't playing just one NXNE show. This six-piece workhorse has been touring since May, hitting up all of Canada as far east as Newfoundland, and will continue to do so until July.
That is, if they can fix their tour bus.
It's sad, but it's true. I spoke with Joel (bass, occasional percussion), who had just finished spending a relaxing day in London, ON, on a beach that he couldn't name. He didn't sound overly impressed with the van dilemma, or the money that had to be forked over for the van repairs, but he definitely wasn't down about it.
"Our van sort of broke down yesterday, so we treated ourselves to a little beach therapy. We have rented a van in the meantime, and hopefully it'll be done sooner than later. We just got word of what it's going to cost, and... it happens. Sucks, but at least we're close to the next few shows for the next little bit."
Rah Rah are playing three shows in Toronto as part of NXNE. The first two take place this Thursday; one will be at the NXPO stage at the Hyatt Regency on King St., and the other will be later on in the evening at Rancho Relaxo. The third is on Sunday at the El Mocambo, on the main floor.
I asked Joel how they managed to squeeze three shows out of this year's festival, whereas last year they flew out for just one.
"A lot of asking people, annoying people, bugging people - unfortunately. Hopefully they're not too annoyed."
They released their first full-length, Going Steady, in 2008 to decent reviews, which led to campus airplay and CBC Radio 3 air-time. Recommended MySpace tracks are 'Tentacles', and 'Betrayal pt. 1'.
Amidst the two month tour, Rah Rah has managed to squeeze a bit of recording in. Joel tells me about how they booked some studio time with a good friend in Montreal.
"We spent some time recording for a bit, just because we had some songs ready to try. In the last year, it seems like every time we get together to rehearse and get ready for a show, we get bored and just start writing songs. It just made sense that if we were going to be out there [Montreal], we might as well take ten days to just sort of start the process. There's no real timeline. And it's nice to hang out in Montreal for a bit."
This is Rah Rah's most extensive tour thus far, and while Joel admits that everyone can have a bad day, he is finding that there is generally an up-side to each down.
"Take yesterday, for example. Our van breaks down, but then we had this amazing tow truck driver - which never happens - who hooked us up with an awesome friend who had this super-cheap van, so we weren't stranded. Now it's beautiful out and we go to this beach. There's always a redeeming factor."
Sometimes I stub my toe when I'm walking barefoot. Next time it happens I'm going to look for this "redeeming quality", because it really hurts.
Photo by Carl W. Heindl
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