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Rare-ing to go

Canadian band Rare Indeed on threshold of “success”

By Erin Wright

“Does anyone want to square dance?” asks Rare Indeed’s giddy guitar-toting lead vocalist Johanna Reynolds. A young couple in the lively Sunday night crowd at C’est What apprehensively motion some interest and Reynolds instantly eggs them on.

“I dare you!” she laughs, as co-vocalist Lay Boltman leaps off stage to dance with the crowd. 

This kind of un-spirited atmosphere characterizes Rare Indeed’s performances. They foster an intimacy that makes you feel like you’re “part of the band;” like you could bring your own instruments and join in. But unlike many bands who contrive a certain image or mood, Rare Indeed’s positive energy is genuine.

“We have a nice intimacy level with the crowds,” says Reynolds. “The support from people is astounding.”

They’re nothing you haven’t heard before, but Rare Indeed isn’t trying to re-invent the wheel. What’s unique about this sextet is how well they gel. They’ve woven together regional Canadian musical genres and powerful vocals to produce sweet layered harmonies. 

“Picture Fleetwood Mac going through the meat grinder of the ages. Grunge, folk, punk. We’ve got everything,” says Boltman.

The band began as an acoustic trio when Toronto natives Boltman and Reynolds hooked up with St. John’s lead vocalist and guitarist Zach Kellum while in Montreal.

Toronto bassist Michael Khoo joined the band two years ago, while drummer Scott Milligan of Yellowknife and another Torontonian, lead guitarist Rich Pell, are recent additions.

“We’ve grown up a lot,” says Reynolds of the group’s development. “Taking our time and waiting for the right deal.”

The “right deal” came along when producer Marvin Dolgay put together Rare Indeed’s first self-titled, 10-track CD, which debuted at number 15 on the HMV indie chart. Reynolds explains that the band wanted the songs “to flow into each other nicely, kind of like the ocean, a mix of slow and boogie tunes.”

And since their August CD release party at the Rivoli, Rare Indeed has gotten wired. The band has an on-line site where fans can hear soundclips, view pictures and find out about upcoming gigs. And they plan to include CD- ROM track on the next printing of their album.

“The medium can become an art form,” says Reynolds. “We’re pretty pumped up on that idea.”

Zach Kellum chips in, “What I totally dream about is being respected on a national level by Canadian musicians. For people to pass judgement and say ‘these guys are cool.’”

But despite Rare Indeed’s philosophical raison d’etre, the motivation behind these young Canadian’s dedication is simple: it’s fun.

“There is a lot of ugliness in bands today,” explains Reynolds. “We probably have a lot of similar opinions about society’s rules and things that get us pissed off, but we want to have a mix and keep it light.”

Rare Indeed will be playing the Rivoli on Nov. 3 and the Bamboo on Nov. 30. 

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