RAQ: RAQ Live, Vol.1 & 2

By: Alex Borsody

There is new-ish Vermont band that's hitting folk's radar lately, a guitar-led quartet with keys, bass and drums. Yes, the Phish comparisons abound. People out there are just waiting for that special band to come along and fill the void in their souls, and some believe RAQ could be this band.

It's far too easy for a truly great band like this to get overlooked in a sea of touring acts and behemoth festivals. Though relying on traditionally structured jams, RAQ breathes new life into the scene, while at the same time carrying the torch of tradition for bands that came before them. RAQ brings back the energy of just a few years ago, when there was less of a reliance on "crossover acts" to bring in huge crowds, when Trey Anastasio and Widespread Panic were the biggest headliners in the game.

Listening to the digital-only releases, RAQ Live, Vol. 1 & 2 - which cover 03.26.07 in Pittsburgh, PA and 10.31.07 in Asheville, NC, respectively - the shows are warm every time you put them in the ol' MP3 player. Hours go by and you realize they've been on repeat, two or three times. These sets include two good '80s covers, The Cars' "Just What I Needed" and Van Halen's "Jump," where they nail the synths. The electro-headband sound of the '80s compliments RAQ's style, and for some reason I like when RAQ plays '80s tunes more then when I hear the original cuts in a supermarket. What really sets this band apart is their high energy, catchy, quality songwriting and a signature lead guitar, which is something truly hard to achieve in this six-string saturated genre.

This new experience with RAQ has left me with a few new favorite songs, too - "Donkey Show," "Tumble Down" and "Stuck In A Hole." Like most of RAQ's material, these three cuts are all super catchy with hooks that snare you in the first five seconds. This is definitely not the type of music that has to grow on you. It's got an instant appeal right out the box. My only wish for the band is for the bass to play a more prominent role in the music. I think there's lots of great potential for them to explore some more funky, grooving basslines, and perhaps we can look forward to the possibility of a "funky album" similar to the one done by a certain other Vermont quartet one day.

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[Published on: 5/21/08]

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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Wed 5/21/2008 06:10AM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Wed 5/21/2008 06:12AM
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robbie c (12/16/2007 8:16:26 PM)

This is a great download. I can`t seem to get disc 1 out of my car. Donkey show, bobs, stuck and the always crowd pleasing beauregard. Nasty shit. Can`t wait for Vol. 2

SkReEv (11/30/2007 12:04:19 PM)

ohhhhh yeeeeeeaaaaahhh sounds great everyone get this show now!

Finley (11/29/2007 1:04:32 PM)

More please!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Wed 5/21/2008 06:16AM
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I need this, but I have no computer I can download on.. I can only use my work computer, but no downloading is allowed.. Can someone help me get this??

jambeatnik Wed 5/21/2008 06:38AM
Show -4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
gabus! starstarstarstarstar Wed 5/21/2008 07:23AM
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i need to hear these guys. i know people who go ga-ga for raq. You might wanna say they are raq-ing up the fans...

Lakai Wed 5/21/2008 08:00AM
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what with everyone covering The Cars nowadays? The Join version was awesome tho.

onthemoon Wed 5/21/2008 08:12AM
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everytime i listen to this band, i hear nothing that grabs me and keeps me wanting to hear more. yeah they have chops i get it, but i never hear any really interesting melodies coming from the guitar player. can anyone recommend a good show on the archive?

joxley1 Wed 5/21/2008 08:27AM
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I don't listen to these guys but I do know there is a bunch of live stuff on archive.org available for streaming and/or download.

Ponzio starstarstarstarstar Wed 5/21/2008 08:59AM
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RAQ kicks ass! there are some SBDs out there on archive. search RAQ BOMB and you will find some great stuff, like 2008-01-25 and 2008-02-27. the crowd energy is quite a thing of its own as well.

TXfarmhouse starstarstarstar Wed 5/21/2008 09:30AM
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These guys are far from new, they went by shadraq some years ago. They are always compared to phish just because they are from VT. I think they have a sound of their own and it is a great one. The intimate settings and affordable ticket prices are nothing to complain about. I think this band has had many opportunities to be bigger in the scene, they may just be waiting for the right fit.. who knows. In the meantime I can always count on them for a sick show!

catphish007 Wed 5/21/2008 09:36AM
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Cant wait to Raq out with my saq out at AMJAM. Late nite set is sure to fu*# ur face!

1048 starstarstarstarstar Wed 5/21/2008 09:52AM
Show -8 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
DELYEAH starstarstarstarstar Wed 5/21/2008 10:02AM
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RAQ is pure insanity! I love these guys and can't wait for AllGood! Another good 80s cover they throw in the mix is Cult of Personality by Living Colour. They played it the last time I saw them and it was sick! I'd recommend their New Years show from 2007 to download. The only drawback is the balloons popping in the background after the New Years countdown. They cover Tennessee Jed and Billie Jean and tear through a number of their nasty originals like Donkey Show and the classics Brother From Another Mother and Beauregard.

DelrayChris Wed 5/21/2008 12:00PM
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RAQ and ROLL...they were SICK at LANGERADO.


mark_perk starstarstarstar Wed 5/21/2008 02:13PM
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i wouldnt say its guitar-led. Stoops IS in the band. I'd say more of a guitar/keys/bass/drum-led quartet.

Muffinman1 Wed 5/21/2008 02:22PM
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RAQ is the Shit!

Redworm starstarstarstarstar Wed 5/21/2008 03:03PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

The Donkey Jam from volume one should not be played in the presence of small children for safety sake, and The late Night > Bootch is hotter than two wet rats fuc#in' in a wool sock. Raq is the best kept secret around, and that aint going to last. Nice review Alex, but lets get the song names right next time.

Danimal Wed 5/21/2008 03:48PM
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Saw them once. I was bored after 10 minutes. I'm gonna give em another chance at All Good but as of right now they are nothing special.

Redworm- The secret isn't going to last? They've been around for like 10 years and haven't gotten any bigger.

adubvu Wed 5/21/2008 05:20PM
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raq's keyboardist is freakin amaaaaazing

jphunk starstarstarstar Wed 5/21/2008 05:35PM
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A live RAQ show will change your life for the better... SMASHGOSEERAQSMASH

Lord-K. Wed 5/21/2008 07:01PM
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Todd Stoops indeed getting this album immediately

monodub starstarstarstar Wed 5/21/2008 09:57PM
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RAQ is one of my current favorites. They are definitely on the up n up. They will be big in a few years, mark my words. And if you can find it, snag the first disc "Shed Tech." Tasty stuff...

veggiemite starstarstarstarstar Thu 5/22/2008 05:38AM
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download any of the "dirty south" shows from the past few years, particularily from charlotte, raleigh or columbia. RAQ is amazing...these four guys definitely know how to bring the HEAT! TON RAQ!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Thu 5/22/2008 06:30AM
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wooo hooo!!! people are catching ON. I knew I did not go see four shows last year in Knoxville for nothing. I love some high powered ROCK!!!!

sweetcreamconfuzor starstarstarstarstar Thu 5/22/2008 01:36PM
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danimal your a fuckin idiot! you saw them for ten minutes you said so stop talking like you know something about them

raq is sick nuff said

garchetti Thu 5/22/2008 02:02PM
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great review. i wish these guys got more love on tour. they have been steadily getting better the past few years and really deserve a broader fanbase. they are a hidden treasure still, but shouldn't be for too long

Danimal Thu 5/22/2008 03:27PM
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Sweetcream-Fuck you dude I said I was bored after 10 minutes not that I left the show. They were opening up for the Bridge, as they should be. Learn to fuckin read before you go off you fuckin tool.

piper1227 starstarstarstarstar Thu 5/22/2008 06:28PM
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stoops is sick, like a fucking octopus on the keys. michetti is a sleeveless rock star. the bassist has the best bunch of the voice and can lay down some serious funk. the drummer holds it down and mixes in some ridiculous samples. so much better than any other band out there imo. I don't know why they haven't blown up yet, but hopefully we'll all get the chance to see it happen. danimal, can't knock you for being bored since i didn't even go see the bridge when they opened for raq in phila. this is raq country. RAQ's been together for 6 years in current form, check their progression against some other bands after 6 years. They're behind where I'd expect them to be, but their sound will win people over. ton RAQ!

alexisard starstarstarstarstar Fri 5/23/2008 03:23PM
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sweetcreamconfuzor is a fucktard, but RAQ is one of the best band out there hands down. todd stoops plays like 8 keyboards at once, literally. danimal if you are going to All Good check 'em out again, you got an off show. they aren't gonna bring the heat when they are opening for the bridge in falls church.

Danimal Fri 5/23/2008 04:02PM
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I checked out a few songs from archive that were way better than anything they played at State Theatre. I'll definitely give em another chance at All Good. I guess I just haven't heard anything that really sets them apart from other jambands.

Danimal Fri 5/23/2008 04:03PM
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I was impressed with the keys dude though. He's pretty sick.

chinacatsunflower1989 starstarstarstarstar Sat 5/24/2008 11:15AM
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Raq is more than bomb, they are bommie!! ive seen em a few times, each show left me with a melted face. I even smoked a bowl with them in their tour bus!! (i swear to god!)

kandrokitis starstarstarstarstar Sat 5/24/2008 02:01PM
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i need to check them out live. have only listened to live shows and they sound awesome. these guys definitely have chops and know how to jam.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Mon 5/26/2008 05:40AM
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If I gave every band only ten minutes, I would never be a fan of anything.

curtbraski Mon 5/26/2008 11:21AM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
Deucesturf Mon 5/26/2008 06:05PM
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nice, I'll be acquiring this. They're always fun to watch, people claim they are dicks, but they're shows are fun and definitely worth the 7 bucks for a show. Miles...I may be able to help you out, get at me.

wagsinnorthernva Tue 5/27/2008 10:25AM
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I remember raq playing in burlington when they just started. They stayed together and now have a nice following, good for them.

kandrokitis starstarstarstarstar Tue 5/27/2008 11:19AM
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vol. 1 is great. michetti is an excellent guitar player.

n-1 starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/25/2008 08:34PM
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so click on my profile to read my blog, sometimes i give things a test run there. Help me edit my work and correct me before i publish it