The Zombies

One of the most refreshing gigs this year

The trek (from central London to Dartford) was relatively insignificant considering the utter delight felt experiencing live one of popular music’s most eminent rock groups; The Zombies.

Like seriously… THE ZOMBIES! A band that’s matured (very mildly at that) in appearance, yet as teenage boys, penned the jingles that would storm the minds of America’s adolescents along side Lennon and McCartney. This, a reason in itself, to be crippled in complete awe at the sheer magnitude of even being in the same theatre as Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone. Wow!

The vintage flair of this night of tunes was kicked off by yet another pioneering British band of the 1960’s, The Yardbirds whose line-up seemed comparably diluted, with the only remaining original members being rhythm guitarist Christopher Dreja and drummer Jim McCarty (indeed, these two were, and still are brilliant yet on a line up that in the past boasted Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, it seemed to fall short, just a little anyway). Though no one can help the fact that the brilliant Keith Relf passed sometime ago, the beat-boys had rallied a fine substitute in John Idan, with his psyche-flop of hair and flairs, Idan delivered those familiar melodies with pristine resemblance and clarity, opening with Blow Up, the band mingled though the ages of The Yardbirds, from blues to psychedelia including For Your Love and Heart Full Of Soul. Audience participation was summoned, which prompted a ripened gent two rows from the front to remove his glasses, clean them and placed them firmly back on the bridge of his nose. A moment of bordering senility, it was a stark contrast to the prevailing fierceness of the Yardbirds tune, and so splashed in pink light Idan introduced the “truly excellent” Zombies.

And from the first note, it was well obvious that indeed, The Zombies are just that.

Opening with I Love You Blunstone and Argent stormed the stage along with ex-kinks bassist and equally talented old skool rocker Jim Rodford with unbridled grins. The night fused classic Zombies, solo projects, collaborations and two spanking new unrecorded songs that Blunstone and Argent wrote into one riveting set. What becomes of the broken Hearted? was a highlight, with Argents piano man talent as captivating as his silver feathered rock crop that in it’s authenticity made Noel Fielding look daft. Argent classic Hold Your Head Up, had a few fists in the air, though most sat in quiet appreciation and warming nostalgia.

Playing Rose for Emily and Time of The Season, Argent paid tribute to Odessey and Oracle, describing the masterpiece as the “slowest burning album in rock history”, yet there was nothing slow about The Zombies, whose passion, enjoyment and talent snapped the irons of age and time. Though his strides were notably more deliberated than say 1965, Colin Blunstone’s tremendously sound voice, if possible, echoed sharper than in his babyish days; solid, pitch perfect and spine shatteringly good singing She’s Not There and God Gave Rock’n’roll To You. Indeed, The Zombies catalogue bares that rare ability to kindle youthful gall that glisten the house in the unmistakable cool accompanying humility and settled skill, making their eighty minuets set one of the most refreshing gigs this year. And yet displaying such stunning, pop friendly new material, Argent and Blunstone stood before the standing ovation as an exciting new act, a five star one at that.

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