>By the end of this note, I want you to love Zeus like I do. I want you to understand how I felt at this show. And finally, I want you to see how talented this band really is.
Zeus have a raw energy to their live show that few bands have that I’ve seen. Everything they do has been thought through, not hard, but in a way that they can do exciting things live in a clean, manageable way. Most notably is their serious instrument change ups. Everyone with the exception of the drummer played piano, bass, guitar and sang lead vocals.
I couldn’t help myself but to think of comparisons in seeing this show. I took two friends who hadn’t experienced the Zeus live show and I myself had forgotten just how innovative and fun they were live. We all agreed they sounded a bunch like the Beatles. My favourite tune is called “Greater Times by the Wayside,” followed by the tune “River by the Garden.” Two songs that could easily be blended together like the Guess Who’s “No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature” and the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” They always play these songs together in the live show, as it is represented on the album, tonight was no exception. I was very surprised that they played it so early in their set (probably four and fifth). It was definitely my climax of the show, as it was the very moment I craved to hear. “Greater Times…” sounds a bunch like a John Lennon tune. This song is very clearly a Neil Quin song. Whereas, “River by the Garden” is a very Ringo Starr like song, clearly written by Mike O’Brien. The tipper is if someone sings the song, it’s a safe bet to say it’s theirs.
Much like the Beatles, this band songs are very divided. However, not so much as a disjointed way, but more as a collective. I can’t help but think those songs that say Quin brought to the band are so much like those that say Lennon brought to the Beatles. Although a good chunk of Lennon’s tunes were credited as Lennon/McCartney.
Zeus also has the energy that the Beatles had when playing live. It is very evident it comes ridiculously easy to these guys, and I truly admire that. Zeus put on an extremely fun show, a show I want to dance at (and I’m not very good at dancing!).
Another comparison that came to mind was to Jason Collett. These guys have served as Collett’s back up band for as long as I’ve been sneaking in underage to see Collett’s shows. Although not altogether, Mike O’Brien has always been there, a former member of Paso Mino, Collett’s back up band from 2005/6. This comparison was an observation of how much Zeus has influenced the way Collett’s more recent albums have turned out. Both ‘Here’s to Being Here’ and ‘Rat A Tat Tat’ ooze Zeus. The first notable shift on a Collett album that I heard (and really didn’t like) was “Charlyn, Angel of Kensington,” from the weird guitar riff (Mike O’Brien) and the odd tube-like instrument that Carlin Nicholson plays imitating the streets sounds in the chorus. I really truly hated this song. After really hearing Zeus, I’ve come to realise that that song is as much Zeus as it is Jason Collett.
They closed up their set with a Genesis cover titled “That’s All,” which made it on to their first release titled ‘Sounds Like.’ It’s tremendously edgier than the soft original.
Zeus put on a real charismatic show. They’ve completely won my heart over. By the end of it, I turned to my friends and said – “Can you imagine seeing, Zeus, Jason Collett and Bahamas altogether for a revue?” My dearest friend replied – “WHEN WAS THAT?” I said calmly in return (and mighty proud) – “Oh, a few months ago…”
After the show, I was walking my bike by the venue, there was a man taking up too much of the sidewalk. That man was Jason Collett and I very politely asked him to move out of the way. He was quite engaged with the conversation to the amazing Afie Jurvanen (Bahamas). I’ve never been one to confront artists that I really admire, but I felt good just asking him to make some room for me. This is why I love Toronto, music lives here. In six months time when I don’t have the comforts of this city, that is something I’m going to really miss.