Having never been on a guest list for gigs that weren’t my mates’ band in some random pub, I was admittedly rather excited about this. However when I strolled up to the door staff and was prompted to present my ticket, replying with “I don’t know if you know this, but I’m kind of a big deal, people know me” in hindsight might not have been my best moment (I don’t think he’s seen Anchorman). Regardless I was undeterred by my social awkwardness resembling that of a spectacled trekkie meeting William Shatner, and pressed on.
Zodiac: German stoner blues-rock band that I found out was not really that German. After sitting down with drummer Janosch Rathmer for a quick chat, I quickly discovered that frontman Nick was in fact raised in Canada, awesome authentic blues rock singing voice explained. Now admittedly I had never heard of them before about a week ago, but very quickly found myself in love with their work. They have a very genuine feel to their music, this is a band that clearly enjoys doing what they do, which according to Janosch is exactly what they were going for “For us it’s just important that we really like what we are doing so when we go to the studio and record a record it’s really important that you can hear, ok the musicians love what they do.”
Sonic child is a mature release that attempts to expand on the well established musical styling that their dedicated fan base have come to love. The album immediately opens with a rather trippy set of synths accompanied by a slightly eerie speech about a love of music. This is not just for effect as Janosch explains to me “On the lyrical side we had like a concept because the whole record is about our love to the music”. One gets a feeling it is not only about there love of music but also about a deeper respect for a style of music that laid the foundations of modern rock and roll “when I was 16, 17 years old I was maybe a little bit like a rebel and thought oh I have to listen to heavy music and stuff, so I still love to listen to heavy music but in the last sort of 10, 15 years I was looking for the root of all this music and when your looking for the root its quite normal too come across the blues.”
Two minutes in to the bands set and I find myself admiring my surroundings, this band makes an atmosphere that one would struggle to fault. It’s everything you’d expect from a rock show; an enigmatic frontman that plays with a confidence and style that would have everyone in the room believe he taught Hendrix, Enthusiastic drunk dancing from a rather varied crowd, including some big burly Germans that have clearly come a long way for this (don’t mention the war) and of course two girls getting off with each other in the corner, incidentally I discovered that it is in fact not ok to stare… Especially when you have your dick out! As good as this bands set is though, some personal favourites being Rock Bottom blues and their single Penny and a Dead Horse, the song that stole the show for me had to be their very emotionally charged and masterfully played cover of Neil Young’s Cortez the killer.
I must say I was sceptical upon first going to watch these guys, this is a well-explored genre that some would argue has no relevance or future in the modern industry. However these guys bring it, with tons of style. The song writing is strong and consistent across there entire back catalogue, and they bring a fantastic energy to the stage that would make me gladly not only go watch them again and again, but I’d drag ten friends along as well, cause they’d all enjoy it as much as I did. Do yourself a favour and buy one of their albums, go to one of their shows, you will surprise yourself with how often you will listen to it. It’s good fun with good music, what more do you want?