Hailing from Burlington, Vermont, the band began with the name "Shadraq", but shortened the name to RAQ before cutting their debut album Shed Tech. The bands unique sound developed while playing to ardent fans in local Burlington clubs. They started touring and soon expanded their scope to cover all of New England, eventually making their way to the West Coast in the summer of 2002.Over the past four years, RAQ has taken the stage at festivals such as Bonnaroo, High Sierra Music Festival, Langerado, Berkshire Mountain Music Festival, Summer Camp, Gathering of the Vibes, Adirondack Music Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and aboard the floating festival, Jam Cruise. In August of 2005, more than 600 fans reveled in New Woodstock, NY, for the Lew-Au -- RAQ's very own festival. They've also sold out the famed BB King's Blue's Club, and most recently, the Bowery Ballroom in New York City. RAQ has just finished a 48-city fall tour ending with two sold-out nights at the Visulite Theatre in Charlotte, NC for New Years Eve.
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.
On their latest studio album, Ton These, RAQ explodes with rich sound right from the first track with the anthemic and concise "Walking in Circles." Todd Stoops adds uncompromising rhythm and texture (keyboards, organs), Jay Burwick (bass) and Greg Stukey (drums), RAQ's unstoppable rhythm section, lay the perfect backbone for Chris Michetti's note cascading, awe-inspiring, guitar playing. Tracks like "Bootch Magoo," "City Funk," and "One of These Days" will have you signing up for the Air Guitar World Championships before the last note is played. "Forget Me Not" evokes the swagger of early Ben Folds recordings. "Glimpse" will carry you down the musical roads of your memory, complete with beautiful backing vocal harmonies courtesy of Aya Inoue. Much like their live show, Ton These is a multi-dimensional listening experience. With age and experience, RAQ's music has matured and evolved into a sound that is both retro and cutting-edge to a generation of grassroots music fans. They continue to tour relentlessly, infusing live performances, and leaving every ounce of energy they have on stage each night delighting the senses of the most discerning rock n roll aficionado.
Past Praise for RAQ:
"Considering the quartet's playful lyrics, random covers, drums-guitar-bass-keys combo not to mention its hometown, it'd be easy to label RAQ just another Phish look-alike. But with a much harder sound, it seems the group is making a conscience effort to carve out its own style in the jam wheel. ." -Jambands.com
"RAQ has been able to make personal connections with people through their music, which is a wonderful quality that makes concerts more fun, and makes fans stick around for the long haul. Once there is a legion of fans crisscrossing the highways to attend shows, its only a matter of time before their friends, their friends friends and their friends friends friends start showing up in droves. RAQ is building their fan base in exactly the way that their jamband forefathers did by touring relentlessly, and connecting with each fan on an individual level." -Jammed Online
"With many bands consciously shifting more and more toward darker, less-challenging sounds, RAQ revels in their influences and ideas, creating a robust and multi-dimensional rock style. It's a celebration of all things rock, an unabashed love letter to complex-rock heroes like Zappa, written and performed by musicians who have enough creativity to set themselves apart from the crowd." -Home Grown Music Network
"With ease RAQ can leave a rune behind and lift off into a very elusive, spacey improvisation before quickly recovering the original song." -Kynd Music
"In many ways, RAQ exemplifies the classic components of the term 'Jamband.' Where the majority of 'jambands' handle the instrumental areas with agility, they are often unable to combine the extended improvisations with good song structure and vocals, but RAQ has found a way to do so." -JamBase