This last Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m., Eric Maroldo, singer for The One and the Other, stood in front of a nondescript blue door while holding a fresh drink somewhere in downtown LA. Past that door and up a flight of stairs, open paint cans explain that new practice space smell in the air.
The band's gear sat unattended on a stage risen two feet above the rest of a large studio floor as they took a moment to greet us. The One and the Other's set was scheduled for midnight and they were waiting for Cass Epstein, the lead guitarist, to meet them at their private attic.
Bass player Aaron Stepka asked his bandmates,"What'll it be?" from behind a collection of bottles, while Stephen was busy behind the camera, pacing curiously towards artwork hung without frames. Church pews and exposed support girders stood lit by florescent shades of light.
Cass arrove a few minutes before ten, and by 10:20 drummer Eric Lund was standing purposefully at the blue door on Broadway with his drum set disassembled and packed before him. "I never get too excited, or feel very nervous," said Lund roughly two hours before the fourth performance of the groups two month old band lineup.
The tracks posted on their Myspace page were recorded by Maroldo with studio aid from DEE in Montreal. "We're still shaping our sound" said rhythm guitarist and vocalist Maroldo before we made our way from downtown over the ten freeway to the Good Hurt in Venice.
Forty-five minutes before TOATO's scheduled performance, the band's instruments were offstage waiting to be put together, and Keyboardist Steve Phillips shoot a nearly wordless game of pool with me while the vocalist onstage was belting it through what must have been the twentieth bridge of an epic.
Steve wins, then after a brief round of photos, these five dedicated musicians assembled to put forward a solid performance. The sound of TOATO's live set benefits from the talent of an eager group of artists that bring greater depth to the driving rhythms and tight melodies.
Confidence beats with precision from Lund's kick drum as Epstein's guitar and Phillips' keys sharpen the organic line drawn by Septka and Maroldo's rhythmic strings. Maroldo's vocals wraps each composition with an ominously patient pulse.
TOATO's production took possession of the Good Hurt's soundscape through the first hours of morning, and then the session was capped by blisteringly spirited outro.
As they were unpacking their gear one could sense a hunger for the next performance. This is a group of artists that Maroldo says "are ready to play." Most spectators would add that they are ready to be heard as well.