Self-described as high performance rock n roll, RAQ has been touring as a four piece band for over a decade now. Their unique sound featuring complex song structure and quirky-yet-accessible lyrics has their older fans wishing the band was still full time and the younger generation wondering what they have missed. There is little doubt after the first reunion shows that RAQ still delivers tremendously when it comes to live improvisational rock.
The band met in Burlington, Vermont, where they first called themselves "Shadraq", but decided to shorten the name to RAQ before cutting their debut album “Shed Tech” in March of 2001. In 2002, the band saw original keyboard player, Marc Scortino, leave the band and replaced by Todd Stoops. Stoops joined Chris Michetti (guitar), Jay Burwick (Bass) and Greg Stukey (drums) to make up the band for the remainder of the decade. The band went on to release “Carbohydrates Are the Enemy” later that year and set out for their first national tour. In 2006, RAQ released their third album “Ton These.” The band took a brief hiatus from 2012-2014 to pursue some other projects such as Conspirator and Kung Fu. In 2015 the band reformed with Neal "Fro" Evans (Dopapod) on drums.
One of the reasons behind RAQ's highly successful tour past is due to their compositions being grounded in solid song structures, but still being malleable enough to go in infinite directions in the live setting. This keeps the quartet's devout following and first time listeners yearning for more as the audience is taken along on the collective journey. Their extensive repertoire of original compositions and eclectic selection of covers give the band the freedom to create a unique set list for every show.
The wait is over, RAQ is back!
Ocular Panther:"Ocular Panther is bold; a brash and brilliant example of ethereal pursuit with organic tools. They have melded music from different genres, eras, and approaches to create a new contagion of danceable ambiance and rock grit. Some of the songs exhibit a protracted intro to their varied grooves that grow from a standard hook into a kind of epiphany. It smacks smooth and gloriously disjointed."
-Frank De Blasé, Rochester City Newspaper
"Ocular Panther’s sound doesn’t so much caress and cajole the listener as it stalks that listener like prey through a jungle that sounds like it erupted from the mind of Salvador Dali. Essentially dance music, the band’s sound employs electro grooves as if they were the obvious basis for a brand of outer-space funk. The music is sinewy and menacing. A blend of world beat, European electro, and a futuristic marriage of both laid the basis for the virtuosic interplay of the musicians, who managed to take what was essentially dance music into some deeply interesting places. Ocular Panther seems to have no trouble crafting music that moves with purpose and forward motion, avoiding the pitfalls of lazy static repetition. Which is to say, this is music that you can dance to, analyze, or simply lose yourself within with equal ease."
-Jeff Miers, The Buffalo News
The legend of the Ocular Panther is one of the most ancient and seldom told. Stories of the great beast can be found as far back as history has been written. These shape-shifter myths can be found all over the world from China to Iceland and Brazil to Haiti. They are said to be able to enter one’s being through eye contact, hypnotizing the mind and terrorizing the soul.
Skunk City:Emanuel Washington - Drums / Vocals Mike Spadaro - Bass Guitar Jay Lock -Electric Guitar Chris Eves -Electric Guitar Deyquan Bowens - Keyboards / Talkbox