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Rethinking Zero 7

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I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to buy a Zero 7 album again. Sunday night's performance utterly blew me away. Yes, it was still Zero 7, but this was something else. This was them as giants. This was a Zero 7 I did not expect and frankly, I like this version of them much better.

I had a similar experience after seeing Aqualung at the Fonda last year. The nice English band that snuck itself onto the iTunes Soccer Mom Chillout Essentials Mix literally rocked out, rocked hard and became a different beast on stage.

One new Hollywood Bowl rule should be that all bands must now request in their rider, a bar on stage, complete with microphone for singing while drinking. Sia Furler accomplished this well with Zero 7. And who knew Sia was a wild flower child who would dance non stop (except while sipping her drink)? And who knew this "downtempo band" had such an energetic stage presence?

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You want to know who didn't have stage presence, yet was goofy as all hell? Herbert. The opening band who probably had one of the greatest starts to a set with a simplified organic process vocal piece, à la Steve Reich's It's Gonna Rain, ruined everything when it just became a gimmick, or a hook, if you will. Start a song with something interesting and then abruptly throw it away to really start the song. Blech.

José González who opened the whole concert with a few songs before stepping back in with Zero 7 was the other highlight of the night. For you extreme music nerds out there, the timbre of his voice is a square wave, no? Like a hollow wooden clarinet. And beautiful that was. That boy is chillax and a singer/songwriter to watch out for in the future.

The Argentinian tango remix group - Gotan Project - closed the show. While they didn't rock the 17,000 or so concert goers like Zero 7 did, they did what they did best (quite well with the integrated video art, I might add) and unlike Zero, they are consistent with thier sound, in album and on stage.


photo of Gotan Project by Omar Omar via flickr