The Zoobombs @ Starlight, Waterloo, Ontario (10th Oct. '07)
What' s the best way to break in a new band member? Take 'em on tour!|
The Zoobombs were originally planning to embark on a Canadian tour, their fourth in three years, this past summer. However, the departure of long-time drummer Pocky in June put those plans on hold. After a few warm-up gigs in Japan with new drummer Kim, the Tokyo quartet re-scheduled the dates and geared up for the 13-hour flight from Narita to Toronto.
Bookmarked by appearances at music festivals Pop Montreal and Halifax Pop Explosion, the 14-gig jaunt sees Zoobombs playing their way across four Canadian provinces. Tonight' s gig in Waterloo marked the second night of a week' s worth of Ontario concerts. The major cities in Ontario are fairly close together, making the group' s longest drive between gigs only 4 hours. Next week' s 16-hour drive from Toronto to Moncton, New Brunswick will obviously be more challenging. Most international touring acts skip over this part of the country because of the distance, but The Zoobombs have proven, both at home and abroad, that they aren' t your typical rock n' roll band.
A small, supportive audience of 35 eagerly paid the $8 cover charge (about 950 yen) and crowded around the stage as the group emerged shortly after 11 p.m. and kicked into their first song. One of the best things about a Zoobombs' gig is that you never know what direction they are going to take their music in. At the Starlight, it was evident early on that tonight was going to have a heavy bluesy feel.
The band were tight as they turned each number into a 10-minute long jam session. The addition of Kim has taken nothing away from The Zoobombs' stellar live skills. This was most evident during "Way In/ Way Out" from 2004' s New San Francisco. A staple of the band' s live set since its release, watching the track unfold on stage is truly a spectacle that every music fan should experience at least once. A rolling rock song to start, front-man Don Matsuo raised his guitar overhead as it morphed into a slow burning, psychedelic-tinged freak out. Flinging his guitar over his shoulder, he turned towards wife Matta and intently watched her fingers moving across the keyboard before holding down as many of the keys as he could, blanketing the room is wave of noise for a dozen seconds. Matsuo and Matta' s five-year-old son and a few others started dancing at the back of the club as Kim and bassist Moostop joined in. Almost everyone else simply stared on in awe.
Although Matsuo went all out during "Way In/ Way Out," on the whole, he was much more subdued than usual. First acknowledging the crowd prior to the encore he admitted this saying, "To tell you the truth, tonight is a bit weird for me." At this point, one of downtown Waterloo' s finer residents, an obviously intoxicated older gentleman who had just arrived, felt the need to scream back "I think you' re weird," causing Matsuo to turn away while Matta took over mic duties and thanked the audience for coming.
Launching into their one-song encore, "Dolf," Matta added maracas to the mix as they dished out one last slice of improvisational goodness. As "Dolf" began to end an obviously frustrated Matuso put his guitar down and exited as the rest of the band closed things out. Talking with him afterwards he said that he was disappointed with the lack of promotion for the concert and that no other bands had been added to the bill. Also, despite sounding fantastic, I think all of The Zoobombs were a little nervous about their playing due to the personnel change. As the tour progresses hopefully they' ll begin to trust the overwhelmingly positive reactions from fans more and realize they have nothing to worry about.
While saying my good-byes, both Matsuo and Matta commented that they were excited about visiting Hamilton, Ontario the next evening. The city has definitely provided Zoobombs with some memorable stories, all of which have helped make them an even stronger band in the process.
Upon finishing their Canadian concerts, Zoobombs will be gigging throughout Japan in support of their new live album, Bears Banquet (which, interestingly was recorded in Toronto, Canada this past March). Tour dates are below.
Zoobombs N.Z.B.G. Tour 2007
11/4 Okayama@ Crazy Mama 2nd Room
11/6 Kumamoto @ Drum Be-9
11/7 Oita @ T.O.P.S
11/9 Kagoshima @ SR Hall
11/10 Nagasaki @ Drum Be-7
11/17 Nagano @ Neonhall
11/23 Shimokitazawa @ Basement Bar
11/25 Iwaki @ Sonic
11/27 Nagoya @ Club Rock 'N' Roll
11/28 Osaka @ Fandango
11/29 Hiroshima @ Neopolis Hall
11/30 Kumamoto @ Django
12/1 Kurosaki @ Marcus
12/2 Fukuoka @ Decadant De Lux
12/4 Okayama @ Pepperland
12/5 Kyoto @ Mojo
12/6 Hamamatsu @ Lucrezia
12/7 Yokohama @ Club Lizard
12/21 Kashiwa @ Drunker' s Stadium
12/22 Shimokitazawa @ Basement Bar
report and photo by shawn