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Zeus: Descending from Mount Olympus

by admin October 20, 2009

Zeus: Descending from Mount Olympus

by admin October 20, 2009

Every girl in the bar wants to bone every member of the opening band – and out of all the reasons for this, their music places about halfway down the list.
They all look like the people they’re playing to, with the same “vintage-but-not-really” tweed blazers and V-neck t-shirts and shaggy hair.
They are the heavily-bearded indie-pop group Zeus. From Toronto, they are the latest addition to the Arts & Crafts record label, the same music powerhouse that brought the likes of Metric, Stars, and Feist to the limelight. In fact, next month, Zeus will be opening for Metric as they tour across Canada. But tonight, they took to the tiny stage at the Green Room, a smaller, unmarked bar on the corner of St-Laurent and St-Viateur, opening for seasoned Seattle indie band, Grand Archives.
The dimly-lit bar looks as one would expect on a brisk Wednesday night. The audience is on the sparse side.
Paintings hang from the exposed brick wall, and strange papier m’ché creations dangle around the room: a huge set of lips and teeth over the stage, a naked doll by the piano. Christmas lights are strung along the back, an area that doubles as a dance floor sometimes.
The band is late, but this is because the audience was late, trickling in around 10 p.m.
Eventually, the members take position – Carlin Nicholson, rocking a Sgt. Pepper-era George-Harrison-‘stache, perches behind the keyboard and begins to hammer out the first chords of “I Know,” a catchy pop tune reminiscent of The Apples in Stereo or Boy Least Likely To. Then the bass drum kicks in, distortion is added, and then the shameless pop song turns into a raging instrumental segue – the bassist has broken into a maniacal shredding rampage. It’s refreshing – they’re experienced enough to be able to deliver smooth transitions and drift from one catchy pop song into another, but new enough to enjoy tearing it up at whim.
The surprising thing about Zeus is that the three frontmen never stay in a fixed position. Everyone but the drummer gets to be lead singer for different songs. They all take a turn at the keys, the bass and guitar are passed and picked up. The ease with which they each pick up a new instrument, take a second to tune it, and resume playing is impressive.
About nine songs into the set, with the randomly interspersed instrumental breaks, the band is ready to leave the stage. A chanting comes from the audience, “One more! One more!” They return, ending with an aptly titled Genesis cover, “That’s All.”
It’s angrier than the rest of their reasonably tame songs, and every band member shouts the words together. At the end of the song, the band looks like they’re about to trash their instruments. They thank their fans profusely, and after they leave the audience thins out.
Grand Archive, the headliners, are left with a less than impressive turn-out. However, they’ve been around longer, and have an interesting assortment of instruments – a cello and two ukuleles are added to the stage. They seem to be the complete opposite of the openers.
They’re much older, and dressed casually. The bassist is wearing an oversized wolf sweater and their beards are, rather than being meticulously tousled, neglected and messy. Unlike Zeus, their music and performance style is quieter and handled with a polished control that comes from years of practice.
They have mastered the art of indie-folk, their falsetto harmonies seamlessly mixing in with light strumming on the ukeleles. Each song is delicately shaped, as if they worked at each one bar by bar. Their music from the fun, folksy “Digging That Crazy Grave” to a melancholy, plucky “Topsy’s Revenge” drifts lazily from the speakers. Despite the range in instrumentation and tempo of their songs, they can’t seem to capture the attention of their audience.
They end on a cover of ELO’s “Telephone Line” and saunter nonchalantly off stage.

Every girl in the bar wants to bone every member of the opening band – and out of all the reasons for this, their music places about halfway down the list.
They all look like the people they’re playing to, with the same “vintage-but-not-really” tweed blazers and V-neck t-shirts and shaggy hair.
They are the heavily-bearded indie-pop group Zeus. From Toronto, they are the latest addition to the Arts & Crafts record label, the same music powerhouse that brought the likes of Metric, Stars, and Feist to the limelight. In fact, next month, Zeus will be opening for Metric as they tour across Canada. But tonight, they took to the tiny stage at the Green Room, a smaller, unmarked bar on the corner of St-Laurent and St-Viateur, opening for seasoned Seattle indie band, Grand Archives.
The dimly-lit bar looks as one would expect on a brisk Wednesday night. The audience is on the sparse side.
Paintings hang from the exposed brick wall, and strange papier m’ché creations dangle around the room: a huge set of lips and teeth over the stage, a naked doll by the piano. Christmas lights are strung along the back, an area that doubles as a dance floor sometimes.
The band is late, but this is because the audience was late, trickling in around 10 p.m.
Eventually, the members take position – Carlin Nicholson, rocking a Sgt. Pepper-era George-Harrison-‘stache, perches behind the keyboard and begins to hammer out the first chords of “I Know,” a catchy pop tune reminiscent of The Apples in Stereo or Boy Least Likely To. Then the bass drum kicks in, distortion is added, and then the shameless pop song turns into a raging instrumental segue – the bassist has broken into a maniacal shredding rampage. It’s refreshing – they’re experienced enough to be able to deliver smooth transitions and drift from one catchy pop song into another, but new enough to enjoy tearing it up at whim.
The surprising thing about Zeus is that the three frontmen never stay in a fixed position. Everyone but the drummer gets to be lead singer for different songs. They all take a turn at the keys, the bass and guitar are passed and picked up. The ease with which they each pick up a new instrument, take a second to tune it, and resume playing is impressive.
About nine songs into the set, with the randomly interspersed instrumental breaks, the band is ready to leave the stage. A chanting comes from the audience, “One more! One more!” They return, ending with an aptly titled Genesis cover, “That’s All.”
It’s angrier than the rest of their reasonably tame songs, and every band member shouts the words together. At the end of the song, the band looks like they’re about to trash their instruments. They thank their fans profusely, and after they leave the audience thins out.
Grand Archive, the headliners, are left with a less than impressive turn-out. However, they’ve been around longer, and have an interesting assortment of instruments – a cello and two ukuleles are added to the stage. They seem to be the complete opposite of the openers.
They’re much older, and dressed casually. The bassist is wearing an oversized wolf sweater and their beards are, rather than being meticulously tousled, neglected and messy. Unlike Zeus, their music and performance style is quieter and handled with a polished control that comes from years of practice.
They have mastered the art of indie-folk, their falsetto harmonies seamlessly mixing in with light strumming on the ukeleles. Each song is delicately shaped, as if they worked at each one bar by bar. Their music from the fun, folksy “Digging That Crazy Grave” to a melancholy, plucky “Topsy’s Revenge” drifts lazily from the speakers. Despite the range in instrumentation and tempo of their songs, they can’t seem to capture the attention of their audience.
They end on a cover of ELO’s “Telephone Line” and saunter nonchalantly off stage.