Zeus Mercury Lounge, Zeus Live, Zeus CMJ
Attending a late night show at the Mercury Lounge is always hit or miss. On the hit side, lots of cool bands, like last night’s Zeus, play late shows, so it’s worth staying awake to see them. On the miss side, by 11:30 at night, a lot of people attending are handily drunk, and bands playing that late rarely start on time. So that being said, at midnight, the moustache-clad, rock-foursome of Zeus finally took the stage to a crowd that was already swaying before the music had even started.
There were technical problems right from the get-go, most obviously the lights, which kept flickering and then going out completely, and mics, which were not picking up the vocals well enough to hear them over the guitar. So, it was hard to see and hard to hear—two very important things needed for a successful rock show. Not a great start, but Zeus persevered.
They opened with a personal favorite,”Kindergarten,” off of their 2010 album Say Us, and continued blasting out tunes from that and their new release Busting Visions, sometimes channeling the swag of old school rock stars of generations past, and sometimes just playing the shit out of their instruments like teenagers in a garage.
One interesting thing about Zeus is that they don’t have a traditional front-man—they split up the lead vocals between three people, and take turns at center stage. On their records, their three-part harmonies make them stand out amongst other rock bands, but live, everything felt a bit off. Chalk it up to the crappy mic situation, but I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed when one of their slower efforts “Greater Times On The Wayside,” a swooning one-minute track on Say Us, fell short on delivering those usually wonderful harmonies.
Zeus had played a show the night prior at the Rock Shop, and made sure to note that they had changed the setlist up, in case there were any “repeat offenders” attending both shows. They obliged a boisterous request from the audience for “Strong Mind,” an oddly-arranged melodic rock track that’s a stand out on their new album, and it brought the house down. Capping off their set was the single from Busting Visions, “Are You Gonna Waste My Time,” which was easily the best of the night—everything started to sound great just in time for the show to be over.