Published Aug 25, 2020A group of Toronto-based musicians are keeping concerts alive by piling into the Monarch Tavern — one act at a time, of course — and covering their favourite songs as part of the Class of T.O. video series, presented by Exclaim! and Dan Burke with the support of the City of Toronto and Great Lakes Brewery. First up is Witchrot's Lea Reto covering Mazzy Star.
Reto and her backing band — including members of Witchrot, Rogue Tenant and Mother Tongues — covered "Fade into You" and "Five String Serenade" from Mazzy Star's 1993 album So Tonight That I Might See. With keyboards and slide guitars, the troupe stuck closely to the original dream pop arrangements rather than infuse them with Witchrot's aggressive doom metal sound.
"I grew up listening to them and idolizing their sound so it is very nostalgic for me," says Reto of Mazzy Star. "In the past with previous [D2TO tribute band] shows, it was always obvious to choose something high energy and loud to jump around and have fun on stage with. So given this unique opportunity to do a different kind of set — captured on film and knowing people are watching at home — I thought it was the perfect chance to choose something more intimate. Mazzy Star has such a delicate sound, and I felt it might be something commonly lost in a live setting but would translate perfectly on film."
Witchrot are best known for their viral breakup letter in 2018 following some intra-band drama, which ultimately resulted in Reto and bandleader Peter Turik deciding to reform the project with a new lineup. According to Reto, Witchrot remain active and will be releasing new material soon.
"Unfortunately, Witchrot had to cancel a U.S. and Quebec tour as well as postpone recording an album due to the pandemic. It seems that touring is sadly a far away reality at the moment, but we are finally going to move forward with finishing our album next month so I am super excited about that," she says. "It's going to be our first full-length album so that's pretty exciting. We are also working with Fuzzed and Buzzed Records and going to release some music with them as well."
Watch Reto and friends perform "Fade into You" and "Five String Serenade" at the Monarch Tavern below, and stay tuned for more performances coming soon, including For Jane performing Blur coming Thursday, August 27.