Tokyo’s Zoobombs played their final show last night at the Silver Dollar after playing five shows in Toronto in the last week. Organized by the infamous Dan Burke, the shows were an effort to attract industry interest in the Japanese band without any help from the industry at all. In a direct offensive against last week’s CMW festival, Burke’s aim seemed to be to have a successful slew of shows with the same band “without any label-financing or government-funding.”
It remains to be seen how much valuable interest was generated through the shows, but the lesson learned here is that with enough hype, you can get anyone excited about anything. The Zoobombs have amazing stage presence and are a high-energy psych-garage rock band, but they lack substance and memorability. They aren’t terrible, but it seemed the audience’s over-the-top response last night was fueled more by hype than great songs.
If anything, the greatest thing about the shows is that they forced people to see deserving local acts that supported the headliners. The I Spies, The Surplus Sons and The Mark Inside all played solid rock sets to an eager and receptive audience that otherwise wouldn’t have attended.
The Zoobombs started strong, and everyone was captivated before a note was played. It seemed a lot of people had already seen the band last weekend and come back for more. But it became apparent that the band had been built up more than they deserved, and the show descended into a pitiful spiral of ridiculousness and self-indulgence about five songs in. Long, wandering, poorly-executed bouts of psychedelic guitar solos were accompanied by meaningless lyrics and silly cock-rock guitar tricks.
Again, the audience went wild, a mosh pit erupted at the foot of the stage, and long-haired dudes in leather jackets held their beers high in the air. Everyone was convinced they were witnessing something important.
Maybe they were, but when the band was joined on stage by a wild-eyed Dan Burke who proclaimed he was “the best dancer in Toronto,” and demanded that the supporting band-members grab maracas and join in on a clumsy cover of “Sympathy for the Devil,” it was clear that something was amiss. This was a fun karaoke/dance party, not history in the making. The Zoobombs are skilled performers with great showmanship, but remain unremarkable songwriters.
Not convinced? Catch Zoobombs tonight at The Ford Plant in Brantford, or leave a disagreeable comment below.
Photo by Spengu from Flickr.