A QPOP! odyssey
Much like Odysseus’ journey, my journey through the QPOP! Music Festival to find the Toronto-based band, Zeus, was filled with much peril and adventure. Unlike Odysseus’, my journey ended with a night of rock and not mass murder. It began at 9:00pm when I arrived at The Grad Club. In all my excitement to see Zeus, I arrived too early. Like, way too early—no one was there. I sat in the upstairs lounge completely alone; I felt like a guest at someone’s house who had totally forgotten that I was there. Deciding that this was tremendously uncool (and highly depressing), I made my way to one of the other QPOP! venues, the undergrad Mecca: Cogro.
While at Cogro (still alone), I waited for Matthew Barber to start his set. As I stood there, I did what anyone would have done; I played around on my phone to make it look like I had stuff going on, despite being alone. While I was waiting for the set to start, and my friend to join me, I checked out some other acts. I noticed that The Darcys were playing at Alfie’s…err…The Underground, and decided to head over there instead. I felt a bit guilty about leaving my friend high and dry with all of those undergrads, but little did I know he had already fallen prey to the siren song of his couch and was asleep thereupon.
The Darcys were great. The Underground was hot. They were sweating. They were rocking. There were undergrads as far as the eye could see. Much to my surprise, The Underground was actually a deadly rocking venue—there was a sweet light show, the sound was good, and there was a lot of energy. I hung around for a couple of songs and particularly enjoyed a funky little number titled “747S”. With word from my friend Thompson that it was time to head back to The Grad Club, I cut out of The Underground and made my way.
Much to my dismay, I arrived just in time to miss the conversation that Thompson and his friends were having with Zeus. I did, however, pass the lead singer of PS I Love You (who was playing that night at Clark Hall Pub) in the hallway and said “what’s up?” to him, so that was cool. With a great set from a local opening act, Lost Cousins, and a couple more Mill Street Organics, we were all set to rock out to Zeus.
It was just last month that Zeus released their third album, Classic Zeus, a potent collection of punchy 60s- and 70s-inspired tunes that belie the group’s ability to pay homage to the classics without sacrificing identity or originality. The scattered mass of catchy hooks and themes, combined with a constant but not drastic variability, make the album a delight from start to finish. The band played a handful of the album’s gems, including “27 Is the New 17,” “I Miss My Friends,” “Where Is My Love,” and the catchy piano-heavy tune “Bonnieview,” which sounded even saltier on a classic Rhodes electric piano.
Given that they’ve toured with the likes of Jason Collett and Afie Jurvanen of Bahamas fame, it is not surprising that Zeus puts on an amazing live show. Their energy and dynamism is exemplified by their constant swapping of instruments and positions. Four of the band members took a turn at the piano, guitar, and bass, and three of the five members sang.
When Zeus took the stage, everyone was ready to rock, thanks in part to the stellar performance of Lost Cousins and the lubricated state of the audience. Thompson and I stood front and centre for the entire show. They started the night off with the first song from their new album, “Where Is My Love”. The crowd was excited and everyone followed along to the “ooh ooh ooh oohs”. As the night progressed, the band continued to deliver high energy, electric performances of their many great tunes, and everyone went crazy. On more than one occasion a greasy longhaired undergrad passed above me supported by a forest of shaky hands. At the end of their set, and to my utter jealousy, Thompson’s brother high-fived all of the members of the band.
This year’s QPOP! Music Festival boasted a ton of great acts in some of Kingston’s greatest venues. The personal touch of many of these venues provides the opportunity to see great live acts in an intimate and exciting way. When you are three feet away from the lead singer of the band, it allows for a strong connection to be formed not only between you and the band, but also between the band and the community. Keep your eyes peeled for the next time one of your favourite bands is stopping in Kingston, it’s a great town to see a show.
Andy Gibbons (2L) is a Culture Editor for Juris Diction.
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