Insert Clever Animal Pun Here…by Nathan Zeno / 01.06.2009
Maybe it was the quality of the sound at the Willowvale, maybe it was the just-here-to-get-fuckedness oozing off the crowd but watching Zebra & Giraffe live was a serious non event. As one samey song blended into another and the indisctinct vocals washed up and ebbed away I was struck mainly by the keyboardist. He would stand back and then with one hand strike one note and then punch the air as if he’s just hit a jackpot and it was paying out in awesomeness, which he sorely needs. The overriding feeling I got coming away from this Z&G gig is, well, nothing. I don’t remember any of the songs, the hooks or even the lyrics and I don’t see what all the fuss is about. There is no texture, no range and certainly no journey involved in thier music, it just kinda exists.
The band that most people came to see is Fire Through The Window performing their brand of disposable radio friendly pop. The room was packed and people were pressed against the stage and I felt like a cantankerous old man for not enjoying what everyone else was, but it seemed the mix was muddy and the instruments seemed to blend into one another indistinctly, all I really took away from what I saw was how damned happy FTTW seem. As full of life as cartoons and getting maximum love from the crowd. All I can hope is to see them in a better environment and to be as impressed as I know so many others are.
Out of the three bands that performed, the opening act The Shadowclub seem to be the one that may have found a groove, if not yet the songs. In retrospect the thing that struck me most about their set was that, maybe it was because they were going for a simpler sound, pure Rock n Roll, they sounded the cleanest of intent. On stage they were remarkably free of ego and bombast and really just seemed like they were enjoying being there, not putting on an act at all. Its too early to tell with The Shadowclub, but it does feel like they could get much better than the really good that they are now. The one indicator of a real band that I’m sure of, is that, no matter the technical limitations of the gig, venue or situtation, you have a presence, a sound and a direction that can reach an audience.