31st March 2015
Review & Photography by Ritchie Birnie
Zoax head to Glasgow for the opening gig of their first ever headlining tour. Come and enjoy the excitement of a relatively new band who are determined to break into the music scene and have us all be aware of exactly what and who they are.
Tonight we have three support bands and all for £6. This has got to be the best “bang for your buck” tour around at the moment. First up were Servant Sun (3.5/5) who are a local band who did a great job of getting the crowd going. They were only formed last year but definitely look to have what it takes to build up a following in this city and beyond. They are also heading down to England with “North Seasons” for a few dates so go check them out.
Second up tonight was Number Them (3.5/5). They are a local hardcore band who already have quite a following. Last year saw them tour the UK and the release of their “Cursed” EP, which you can check out on Spotify. They are definitely a band for the visual side of things, which saw the whole band in the crowd at different points. Some excellent songs and one to look out for. Well done boys.
The last support band of tonight was Dead (4/5). The band are doing the full Zoax tour and I have to say I was very impressed. They hail from Southampton and class themselves as Punk’N’Roll. They have some cracking anthems, the best of which is “Phantom” which had a real Lost Prophets feel about it. A great track with a brilliant chant along chorus. Well worth the entry price all on their own. They tour extensively down South so keep your eyes peeled for when they hit a town near you.
Now we have Zoax (4.5/5) and their first headline gig. I spoke to the guys beforehand and they were nervous, excited and full of lasagne. Things are going well for them. The recently released EP “Is Everybody Listening” is getting rave reviews and the merch stall seems pretty busy. It is hard to pinhole these guys. I have tried and failed. They do not fit into any one genre, which you can hear clearly from the aforementioned EP but this is no bad thing. There are plenty of bands out there that get a bit uncomfortable when they are plonked into the wrong category. Zoax are not that type of band. Their motto is make music, tour and have fun doing it. That is not to say they do not worry about the diversity, they are acutely aware that the range is large but they know it’s all down to the fans to chose whether they are doing the right thing.
Personally I think they are right on track. If you get stuck under that one genre its hard to break out. The fans they have just now understand they are different and go with it. All they can gain from this is a bigger fan-base. All manner of people can go see Zoax and enjoy the show so I would ask you to gather up your mates of all musical tastes and go see them live. The band will ensure you enjoy yourself and you will have some great memories of a show crafted by a hard working, professional and very listenable band.
As I said I found it very difficult to fit this band into the wide spectrum that is rock/metal but my mind keeps going back to the 90s to a band called Saigon Kick. Although there are only a few comparisons musically it is the genre jumping that strikes me more. I loved the band as they were completely diverse. Never mind each album being different, each song on every album was different. They did gleam some notoriety, however, they just didn’t quite make it. I felt it was due to the variety that they did not manage to pull it off, but that was the 90s. The band were way ahead of their time and as we know today’s punters are also very diverse in their music choices. There is not that stigma of just being a metal fan.
As the show nears we see the amps bedecked in Christmas lights. The lights drop and it all looks very pretty. The show stays in relative darkness for the majority of the show which works well but as I am also the photographer tonight I have to say I wasn’t happy. C’mon guys, give us a break and have the front lights on for at least one song! “Lonely Souls” from the new EP is first up. It starts with a rhythmic, distorted guitar before Adam bursts in with some apocalyptic vocals, which then drops away to very quiet, angelic singing. This really shows the range on this singer. An excellent choice for an opener.
“Burn It To The Ground” from the previous EP is up next. You can see where the direction was going with this song. There is some pent up anger, some brutal guitars and guttural vocals but this one is very catchy. A good introduction to the band if you have not heard them. It is also a good video, especially if you like to see girls kissing. “Click” bursts from the PA now with more brutality but to show you the band aren’t doom and gloom merchants Adam is over the barrier at the front of the stage and is mingling with the crowd. Hiding behind fans, stealing their hats and wearing them before crawling around the floor. I swear I thought I was going to see a RKO being pulled off.
Back on stage for “High” and with the last two songs I start to hear hint of Funeral For A Friend. Way back to their early days when they were good. This is another cracking song, very accessible and although diverse in itself as we get plenty of tempo changes it kicks in spectacularly. “Right Words” is another new song and you can see the slight directional change. We even get a kind of Morrissey vibe but the whole composition works well.
Watch out folks. Adam is off for a wander again. This time with acoustic in hand. He climbs onto the bar at the side of the stage and begins playing. I wonder if this is the break the guys needed. A quick breather from the chaos on stage. This must be around about the end of their usual set list as support band (you lasted no problem guys). As the songs pass along I realise I am totally lost in the show and a show is what it is. The guys obviously love what they do and with such a charismatic singer at the helm they have no issues knowing he will get the crowd engaged, even if they have no idea what he is going to do next. As you watch Zoax in action you can see full measures of talent, hard work and fun. A band with a vision who wants to take you on a journey with them. They have the songs, they have the charisma, they have a superior work ethic and vision for what the band will become.
They may not know exactly what direction the music is heading yet but they are loving the experience and to boot they are a well grounded and funny bunch of blokes. It is always heartening to me to be there at the beginning of a bands journey through the music business, whether it be as a fan or a reviewer. Love of music is why I do this and when you get that little voice in the back of your head that is just sitting there going, yes, you saw something different tonight, something that you can enjoy and follow the progress and say I was there at the very first Zoax headliner.
They finish with “Bitter Angry Fake” and it is all over. I wonder how it was for the band, but for myself and the crowd it was a great show and I am sure we will all be back soon with lots of friends.