I say this with absolutely no pretentiousness intended, but the acoustics at the back of The Opera House are really really underwhelming, and seriously compromised a lot of The Zolas show.
I’ve been on the floor at The Opera House, and it’s an electric environment. You’re surrounded with like-minded fans, and engaging first hand with the band’s energy should be the goal of every concert goer. It’s where the magic happens.
But, we made the mistake of arriving late, and then to double down, we stood by the bar in the back. I guess ultimately, we were trying our best to not hear or see the band.
The balcony almost completely covers the sightline to the stage, and all but absorbed every sound coming our way. And the thing with music is, you have to be able to hear it to enjoy it. From what I saw for the first half of the show, The Zolas were very animated and very much into their music.
Was I battling my friends, and constantly trying to find a better avenue to watch? Yes. Did it annoy them, as we constantly shifted around the venue? Probably. But by the time we made our way up to the balcony, and situated ourselves in a positive vantage point, the show changed gears. Actually being able to hear the music is important, because, you know, you’re at a concert…
So once we were able to see the band, it became very enjoyable. I wish I could experience the intro to the show “In Heaven” once more, and actually experience “Molotov Girls” and “Get Dark” in the correct environment. Luckily, we didn’t miss “Ancient Mars” or “Strange Girl”, and the fact that they played “Marlaina Kamikaze” more than made up for the first half debacle.
The song was electric, filled with charisma and passion, and the keyboard solo building up to the bridge, gave me arrhythmia. I don’t think my body could’ve had more goosebumps. I was in euphoria, and the smile on my face had me feeling like Milhouse.
It was clear these guys loved playing the song as well. As soon as the song ended, lead singer Zachary Gray, promptly said “That was a song off our first album, that we thought would be a hit single, we were very wrong”. I thought that too you guys, I thought that too.
As the show came to a close, and The Zolas finished up their surprisingly long set, Zachary Gray entered the crowd and went into the middle of the floor. He got everybody in the crowd to flash their phone lights on him, as he played a really sweet version of “Escape Artist”. The show ended with the crowd singing the very last chorus with no mics or accompaniment, and to say it was moving, is an understatement.
“We always thought we were a niche band, so to see this many of you here, is really special.”
It’s nice to see a band truly appreciate a crowd, and that is definitely how The Zolas made us feel. Nobody likes to be neglected, whether it be by the acoustics, a stage obstructing your view, or by a band being unappreciative. And luckily, The Zolas, made up for the prior neglect.
Not sure when these guys will be back, but I highly recommend them to any indie music fan. The tickets will be affordable, and for the talent exhibited, it more than pays for the price of admission.