The blanket of chatter hushed, overhead lights dimmed, and all eyes directed toward the spotlight as Zeus took the stage at La Zona Rosa Friday night. Three of the four guys that make up the Toronto-based group took turns handling guitar, vocals and keyboard throughout their show. Not one outshined the other. It doesn’t take much to notice the sheer talent present in this group, and the fact that each member isn’t restricted to one instrument adds a level of versatility not often found. Though they played a quick set, Zeus served up a variety of tracks from their 2010 debut album, Say Us. From slow ballads laced with harmony to guitar-laden indie rock songs, Zeus offered something for everyone. The group closed up with “The Renegade” off their recently released vinyl after warning the audience, “Now’s your chance to get down.” Simply put, Zeus nailed it.
Not many bands are capable of engaging their following for more than two hours without the crowd slowly trickling away. Well, Broken Social Scene isn’t like most bands. The ten-member ensemble proved Friday night that the rumors are true: the more the merrier. Trumpets blaring, lights flashing and fans dancing; BSS put on a show that won’t be forgotten by those lucky enough to witness it. Song after song, the show seemed never-ending… and the fans ate it up. Lead vocalist Kevin Drew captivated the audience and proved genuinely passionate about his music. The guy refused to leave the stage, insisting on what seemed like 10 encores. Not only is Drew passionate about his music, though, but his fan following. Bright white lights cast from the stage into the audience as the singer commanded everyone to lift their arms into the air, and repeat, “I Believe… that we’re gonna make it.” Stark emotion loomed overhead as Drew mesmerized the audience as a preacher would his congregation. The singer performed one of three ballads of the night, “Sweetest Kill,” after announcing Houston’s lack of respect the night before, chattering throughout the powerful song. Perhaps resulting from the Texas rivalry he conjured, the crowd stood still, soaking in the sentiment while singing along.
Around the two hour mark came the first “end of the show,” an impressive instrumental display accompanied by a blinding light show that left the crowd entranced and craving more. Sure enough, they got what they wanted. BSS played several more crowd favorites and the audience danced right along loving every drawn-out minute of it. Thunderous clapping resonated throughout the venue as they played their final song, embracing the last few seconds on stage. BSS exited the stage for the final time as Drew’s voice bidding “Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight” echoed across the scene. The whimsical marathon had ended, but undoubtedly marked a lasting memory in the minds of those who experienced it.
(Broken Social Scene performed at La Zona Rosa in Austin, TX on February 18, 2011)