On Sunday night (1/19), Zwan played the first gig of a weeklong homestand at Chicago's Metro. To warm up for the their forthcoming overseas tour, Zwan is treating their extremely loyal hometown fans to five shows in seven nights at the legendary Windy City venue. I wasn't sure what to expect from the supergroup, as I had not seen the band before, nor been lucky enough to get an advance copy of their debut, Mary Star Of The Sea, but those minor details mattered not. I am now an official fan of Zwan. The nearly-two-hour-long set kicked my ass with its non-stop three-guitar attack and left me chanting "ZWAN, ZWAN, ZWAN" with the rest of the rock nerds by the end of the night.
Matt Sweeney, David Pajo, and Billy Corgan simply put, killed it. Their guitars interacted perfectly with one another, providing not only some of the sickest rock guitar solos I've had the pleasure of witnessing, but also a rich, layered wall of sound that covered the crowd like a warm, cozy blanket of aural ecstasy. The rhythm section rounded out the low end and kept the wielding axe-men on time and in sync. Bassist Paz, in addition to being drop-dead gorgeous, is the perfect vocal compliment to Corgan's signature voice, though the entire band helped out with backing vocals at some point or another throughout the night.
The majority of the set list was culled from the band's forthcoming debut album, Mary Star Of The Sea, which is due out January 28 from Reprise. "Lyric," "Settle Down," "Endless Summer," and "Come With Me" were all unleashed upon the adoring crowd, who hooted, hollered, head bobbed, and rock fisted their way through each song. A personal favorite was Zwan's cover of Alice Cooper's 1971 rock anthem "I'm Eighteen," which the band played as part of their second encore.
Billy Corgan appeared to be happier than ever, and performed most of the evening with a big, childlike smile on his face. I can see why. These guys are the real thing. They've got the songs, the image, the talent, and the hype. (And look Billy, I didn't even mention the Pumpkins onceÖ oops).