Day one of the festivities at the Levi's/FADER Trading Post ended with a mind-blowing performance from The Zutons. I had only witnessed the greatness of this UK "zombie soul" group once before, during their first NYC show at the Mercury Lounge. While they were quite good, the band is an entirely new rock & roll machine now.
Their set included material from their debut album Who Killed The Zutons? as well as from their forthcoming sophomore release Tired Of Hangin' Around. While the band's sound is what I expected, they have allowed their sound to expand on stage much larger than I have heard from them before. Their melodies have maintained their infectiousness, but the talent of the musicianship has finally exploded, giving saxophonist Abi Harding more time in the spotlight. With several songs showcasing duets between Harding's sax and guitarist Boyan Chowdhury, their tunes are now as exciting as they are musically interesting.
The balance of old vs. new tunes was right on, including their hits "Pressure Point" and "You Will You Won't" along with their hit in the making "Why Won't You Give Me Your Love?". They had everything you want to see in a great live band, such as fantastic tunes, snazzy threads and a hot sax player. I mean c'mon, what else do you really need?
What I really enjoy about this band is that they really get a crowd moving. It is impossible to resist their boundless energy and musical intensity, with Harding dancing like mad while McCabe sings his heart out. Their swampy rhythms, meaty riffs and catchy as hell melodies make this band once again a group to keep an eye on. For those of you down here in Austin, make a point to catch one of their remaining shows while you can, such as tonight at the Austin Music Hall.