Toronto's Indie Music Zorro by Darro Muzsart

The Lonely Vagabond is one of the more mysterious figures in the Toronto Music Scene. No one seems to go see more live music or spend more time tirelessly supporting up-and-coming bands than he does. We first learned about him back in our days working for SoundProof Magazine, where he occasionally contributed reviews. We've been fascinated by his story ever since. So when he recently emerged from the shadows just long enough to give us the chance to post this story written by another mysterious figure — who wants only to be known by the pseudonym Darro Muzsart — we couldn't resist:

The initials, LV, stand out like the singe of a hot branding iron and truly suggest a character from those ancient journalistic freedom cries for the voice and music to be heard.

Sometimes being at the right place at the right time can be very uplifting, and may I make a comment to the readers that my past is not important... but recognizing who is publicizing the present live indie music performed in Canada's metropolis is most significant.

I made a stop-over and decided to back track the city's entertainment scene to what I recalled of the '60s when shirt and tie was a must to enter an off-the-street sing-a-long or Massey Hall. As I strolled around I couldn't help but notice that slicing a wall of cigar smoke with your hand over your face was no longer necessary. (That's what I really call, "A breath of fresh air!")

Such freshness also extended itself to my surprise that there were so many venues with live performers! In the early '80s I watched the bottom fall out of this city's nightlife and I never thought I'd see a resurrection of openness to so many live acts in all genres of music. With that weighing down my mind, I wondered: what else was in store for me?

On that cool night of 2012, I witnessed a dragnet taking place at a famous downtown Toronto night club. The lights were dim, the whispers hushed as dark figures criss-crossed the spots of a featured country band. Little did I know, but I happened to be seated next to a solo shadowed face against the back wall, and as the energetic waitress prances to the drumming and guitar pickin' momentum on the fiery stage, she tips me off that a stake-out is on to catch the mythical Lonely Vagabond name in action.

The night played out like something out of a classic movie, and so, I casually scanned the crowd. I knew that whomever this character is, he or a she, must have been through these encounters many times before — and obviously knows that keeping one's back against the wall reaps the surveillance advantage. For I myself had been in similar situations.

It wasn't long before I exchanged brief words of wisdom with a hazy silhouette and realized that Toronto's indie is alive and kickin' harder then any mule.

The hours slipped by... and so did Lonely Vagabond.

When the burst of light came on at closing time, there was not a soul to fit the description presented by the Music Gestapo and his so few vigilante followers... who had promised to unveil the identity of the mysterious stranger. They looked me up and down, then left disappointed.

I stood there in my tracks, then slowly bent downward to pull my denim pant-leg over my boot. After corner-eyeing my surroundings, I slid my boot aside... and picked up a calling card which I was standing on. In the palm of my hand I read the words: Lonely Vagabond. I lifted my face with a sheepish smile and felt the honour of being present in the shadow world of this elusive super-hero.

After leaving my fist full of dollars for the tip, I followed the faces out into the crowded street. Upon looking both ways, my footsteps echoed westward, and like an aging Zorro in disguise, I thought about my younger days. And who will carry on that fight for music industry justice? Yes, Toronto's Indie Music Zorro of today... is Lonely Vagabond.