The Blue Stones Rancho Relaxo, Toronto, ON, March 21

The Blue Stones Rancho Relaxo, Toronto, ON, March 21
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"Looking sharp," yelled a punter at dapperly attired Windsor duo the Blue Stones. Suit-clad but sweaty, the two-piece may have looked vaguely out of place in Rancho Relaxo's fantastically shambolic space, but their forceful blues rock proved particularly appropriate.

Singer/guitarist Tarek Jafar took a balls-out approach on the microphone, but it was his fretboard work that set the tandem apart. Sure, he clearly owes a debt to the Dan Auerbach school of garage/blues blends, but he proved particularly versatile, adding a dash of ska, a hint of surf, a smidgen of Hendrix and some big ol' power-chord breakdowns along the way.

Standout "Criminals" took a brief punk turn, gaining steam throughout. Moreover, the rollicking, singalong-friendly "Rolling with the Punches" was a bar-band song par excellence. Music for pint drinking, it was a visceral, deodorant-demanding show.