Bailiff Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON, June 12

Bailiff Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON, June 12
Photo: Matthew Ritchie
8
As Chicago power trio Bailiff climbed the stage, lead singer/guitarist Josh Siegel gently placed a squeeze bottle of honey on his amp before facing the crowd to begin the band's 40-minute set. With red eyes and a clammy complexion, it was hard to tell if he was really stoned, really sick, really nervous, or a bit of all three. Things didn't bode well for the throwback blues rockers right off the bat, as the band's bassist began experiencing technical difficulties mid-song, scrambling behind his stack trying to find out what went wrong. But after a quick blip in the band's first song, the throwback blues rockers slowly wowed the sizable crowd, delivering dexterous, Zappa-esque guitar solos, Les Claypool-ish levels of four-string shredding and soulful rhythms that could even make the Black Keys reconsider their day jobs. Playing only their second show in Toronto, it was hard to understand why we haven't heard more of this virtuosic three-piece. Perhaps it was due to their lack of classification (NXNE's schedule strangely described them as "Interpol meets Red Hot Chili Peppers," which sounds like nightmares come to life. But as the band finished their set, the group offered listeners a mailing list at the merch table to sign up for and people actually lined up to do so, leading one to believe this isn't the last we'll hear from these impressive rock purists.