Friday 10th August
229 The Venue, London
Friday nights are for live music – alright?! I slip into jeans and a black t-shirt, pull on my leather jacket and leave the office by a side door with my suit left behind for the weekend. I’m off to check out Zero UK at The Venue 229 in Great Portland Street, hoping for a musical treat. I’m not disappointed, with not one, but five bands to enjoy in the subterranean Venue.
First up is Blooms Taxonomy, a one-man soundscape with laptop, synth, pads and occasional guitar pushing out some laid-back vibes. Then something a bit harder with Behind The Seen, a guitar driven Alternative Rock similar to Husker Du which got certain elements of the crowd spinning around on the dancefloor, crashing into each other!
The third offering was Anthony James, a four piece Indie Rock group who had also brought along their fan club, most of whom were singing along with the band!
Next up was Zero UK, my main reason for coming to the gig. I’d checked them out on YouTube beforehand and had detected hints of Blur, Oasis, even twangs of The Monkeys, albeit with a harder edge. Probably no surprise really as this is the second incarnation of ‘Zero’, who had moved on to other projects then re-formed, having identified a global market and interest in the Britpop sound whilst working in Argentina of all places! They added the ‘UK’ initials to the original band name and went into a studio in Buenos Aires to record their new album ‘Somewhere Between Heaven & Hell’.
Marky, the lead singer and guitarist, acknowledged the influence of bands like the Yardbirds and Faces on the sound of the Zero’s music, similar to the link Oasis have to the Beatles. He also disclosed that when singing in his Sex Pistols tribute band, he is often mistaken for the real Steve Jones. So no surprise then when the Zero’s start playing, their stage presence is as big as their musical sound! Marky is bantering with the crowd and builds up the atmosphere as they smash into their set list.
The song structures are simple, but effective and catchy, easy to swagger along to in that Britpop way. ‘Petrol Fumes’ and ‘What’ve We Done’ are catchy but my favourite was ‘You Fly Too High’ with a solid riff and tight drumming from Rick sat at the back.
Chatting to Darren the bass player in the bar, again I got a sense of the cross-generational nature of their music, we all listened to our parents records – right? Well the younger generation are blowing the dust of their parents Oasis albums and so the future could be bright for another blast of Britpop? Which is summed up by the last track ‘Things You Love’ as well as the free album handed out to those left at the end of the gig. Can’t argue with that!
Zero UK are playing at some Summer festivals and I can easily see myself bopping along in my wellies with a warm pint of beer with them sometime soon, especially if the demand for a new wave of Britpop continues to grow.
The last act of the night was Spring.Fall.See a three piece with so much energy, they were literally bouncing off the stage. Powerful drumming, powerful vocals, but due to earlier delays, the crowd was thinning out to catch the last train home, including yours truly, so sadly did not manage to catch the end of their set, but another one to watch out for.
For me, a great night out, with an eclectic range of music genres and styles, a mini-festival in the heart of London. Keep music live, it can’t be beat!