Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I Have Seen

  • concert review: Zero 7 @ The Opera House[Toronto, Canada], Monday May 24, 2004

    picture courtesy of Red Dust [A Zero 7 fansite]: Downtempo music can be downright boring at times but when it's good it's really good. I will attribute the latter to the Zero 7 show at The Opera House just this past Monday. I got to the venue just after 8:30 and was disappointed that security wouldn't let me bring in my digital camera[the security guard said it was the policy of the promoters] so I trodded back to my car to put my camera inside my car and I went back to the venue. At least security were nice about it and the security person from the first time remembered me, waved me in without having to search me again and said "thanks" for co-operating. Although considering some of the camera flashes that went off during the concert, I think they missed some people. Oh well. It was all the more disappointing considering I had a fairly good view of the stage upfront. :-(

    The worst thing about concerts sometimes is getting to the venue too early and having to wait for the show to start. And after what seemed like an eternity, a guy sauntered onto the stage and started to work the turntable that was set up off to the right side of the stage. I originally thought it was a roadie setting up for Zero 7 but realized that he was DJ and was opening the show. He spun a great mix of slightly-downtempo, jazzy, funky beats and it was a perfect segway for an evening of Zero 7's chillout tunes.

    I was slightly unprepared for Zero 7 in a couple of ways. Firstly, I was only really familiar with their first CD "Simple Things" and secondly, I had never made an effort to find out what the band looked like. In a way, not knowing what the band looked like, held a bit of mystery for me. So to my astonishment, when the members of the group walked onto to stage, I realized how unassuming they looked. There were no co-ordinated wardrobes, nothing really interesting to look at, just a bunch of Londoners(?) in their street clothes. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how attractive the three female vocalists were: the sultry dark-haired Sophie Barker, the playful Sia Furler[vocals on "Destiny"!] and the newest vocalist, Tina Dico, who was quite the cutie with her straight blonde hair, and wearing blue jeans and a sleeveless shirt. Oh yes, there was also one male vocalist named Mozez, who's just a really cool dude.

    As the evening progressed, it was interesting to see the vocalist changes and their different styles. Mozez rocked the mic on the awesome "I Have Seen" and got the crowd pumped up with his bouncing and flailing on stage. A highlight of the evening was my personal favourite Sophie Barker and an acoustic performance with just her sultry vocals, over keyboards and guitar; sorry I don't know the song but it was absolutely mesmerizing. Sia Furler brought "Destiny" to life with her purring vocals. Sia was quite playful on stage initiating a child-like dance routine with Tina Dico, which was totally fun to watch and was greatly appreciated by the crowd. Tina Dico was just so amazing to watch sing because her impressive vocals just did not seem like they should have been emanating from her. The band itself was quite impressive as well. The men behind Zero 7, Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker, one on keyboards, the other either on keyboards or some sort of sampler, were located on opposite sides of the stage and were quite content in giving the spotlight to their vocalists. Another gent on keyboards rocked the place with his extended funky keyboard solo which brought out some thunderous whoops from the crowd. The guitarist, bassist and drummer, fleshed out the sound quite adequately. The band came back for two encores, both times to thunderous applause. Although considering that the band left the stage the first time only about an hour into their set[way too early for the evening to have ended], and that by the time the band finally left the stage after their second encore, another half hour had just passed, I'm thinking the whole 2-encore set-up was planned. Sneaky but dramatic. When the band finally ended their second encore, all the members of the band gathered on stage, arm in arm, and bid farewell to us. Awesome show!

    There was no merch table and I wasn't able to bring in my camera, but other than that it was a totally memorable show! And in related news, Tina Dico will be making a solo appearance at the El Mocambo on June 15, 2004, so I'll definitely consider getting down to that show! Check out the song samples at her site.

  • In other news, the Beastie Boys will be making an appearance at the 2004 Muchmusic Video Music Awards!

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