Archive for March 11th, 2011

March 11, 2011

2011 Canadian Music Fest: Zeus is almighty and Billy the Kid could make herself famous

It’s happening again.

The groundswell of support that’s lifted Arts & Crafts’ artists like Stars and Broken Social Scene to wide recognition in Canada and elsewhere has surrounded Toronto band Zeus.

Nina Gandolfo waited at the front of the Horseshoe Tavern stage all night Thursday to see her favourite band, which didn’t begin its set until 12:20 a.m. “The best band ever” and “they’re like the Beatles” and “they care so much about the music, there’s such warmth in it” were among Nina’s words of worship. She’s clearly the leader of the Zeusbolts (every great band needs a name for its followers; other contenders: Zeusters, Zeusheads, Zeusies). They are mostly twenty-something artsy types with sharp enough ears to realize they must turn off the radio in order to find good music.

On Day 2 of this year’s Canadian Music Fest, the Z-bolts sang and danced joyously to every song, and added the kind of energy that’s needed for a terrific show. Zeus have won over a number of critics, both locally and abroad. Their sound is rich and their musicianship worthy of their fans’ effusive praise. A cover of “That’s All” by Genesis was one highlight from this quartet that includes drummer Rob Drake and a trio of frontmen: Carlin Nicholson, Mike O’Brien and Neil Quin.

Formed a couple of years ago, Zeus has members who’ve backed up Jason Collett on nationwide tours. The band plays in Toronto a lot, so there’s ample opportunity to see them in small venues, for now.

Elsewhere on Thursday night, Billy the Kid, aka Kristen Pettinger, from Vancouver wowed fans at the Dakota Tavern. Canada has turned out many excellent female singer/songwriters in the past 10 years or so and Billy the Kid seems poised to join the ranks of Kathleen Edwards, Julie Doiron and Sarah Harmer with her melodious tunes.

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