Capsule Review: TOPANGA @ Rancho Relaxo (CMW 2012 – Day 5)
On the final night of CMW, with most visitors having exited the city to return to their various places of origin, Sunday night at Rancho was really a party for the local Toronto crowd. With that in mind, Dan Wolovick from Two Way Monologues made a great booking decision by getting TOPANGA as one of the closing acts, because no one knows how to create a party atmosphere like these guys.
A TOPANGA set is all about energy: their music is rooted in frenetic pop-punk and indie-rock and is primarily a conduit for the band members and audience alike to go nuts. The at-capacity crowd loved every second of it, writhing and pulsing in time with the music and even opening up a brief mosh pit at the front.
Unlike most mosh-friendly acts though, TOPANGA’s music is entirely positive and sunny, full of catchy group singalongs and wordless melodies. Frontman Stefan Babcock was everywhere: standing on amps and drumkits, and generally working the audience into a frenzy.
While it may have looked like four guys freaking out, there was actually quite a bit of musicianship on display here. Their music is very fast and takes a good amount of skill to play properly while still entertaining the crowd. It also has significant complexity, with constantly-changing arrangements and added bars- drummer Zack Mykula especially impressed with his speed and finesse on the drumkit.
Overall, it was a very successful way to put a cap on a crazy CMW. The band and the crowd both gave it their all, and helped to end the festival with a bang!
Photos by LIZ GARERI