Zeus rocks the stage at Starlight

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Indie rock band. Loud. Screaming vocals. Clashing sounds. Rock star hair whips.


That's probably how a word association game would turn out for the independent rock scene. Zeus, the Toronto-based rock band, formed by childhood pals Mike O’Brien and Carlin Nicholson, embodies all the qualities of the anti-stereotype.


The Canadians made a North American tour stop in Waterloo to support the release of their fourth studio album Classic Zeus, which dropped last month. Their sound can be described as a mix of classic rock meets 21 century synths, accompanied by smooth and soft vocals.


Solo act Taylor Knox and rock band The Golden Dogs warmed up the intimate crowd at Starlight with their contrasting loud and heavy music. After what seemed like an eternity of set up intermissions, Zeus finally opened their set with “Where Is My Love,” a track off Classic Zeus.


They continued to pump up the crowd by performing fan-favourite throwbacks to their first album from 2009. Unlike pop concertgoers who scream every lyric to every song, this crowd was here to enjoy and actually listen to the live performance.


That’s not to say that none of these people knew the lyrics by heart. When Zeus asked the crowd to sing along to the hook, they screamed out every word on beat. But of course, they reverted to their quiet selves moments later.


Although Zeus didn’t speak to the crowd too much, they did tell the story of how they began in an air-conditioned garage in East End Toronto. The closest thing to a fan conversation was a five second bonding moment over how great air conditioning is.


Despite the lack of conversation, Zeus interacted with the fans in other ways, like letting them sing right into the mic to fulfill their rock star dreams. Everyone had a blast.


Tuesday night’s crowd was a great reminder of how music is ageless. While you may question your mother’s choice to blast Iggy Azalea in the car, we had university frat boys, parents, and even grandpas all enjoying a nice cold beer while bobbing their heads together. Some even made use of Starlight’s dance floor and busted out a couple moves.


What impressed me were the wide musical talents of the Zeus band members. They were swapping keyboard, guitar, and vocal duties left, right, and centre — something you don’t see too often.


If you’re unfamiliar with Zeus, give their music a try. It won’t be long before they’re back in town again.
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