The British Invasion band The Zombies “brought it” to their second night gig at the Troubadour which brought to mind a Zombie Apocalypse of a musical kind. Kind of an Apocalypto if you will with an experimental nature that resonated with the sold-out crowd. The band was animated, chatty and performance driven as they totally rocked up the club.
The Zombies were formed in St. Alban’s in 1961 and by 1964 had a hit titled “She’s Not There” followed up with “Tell Her No.” I first discovered them in a film titled “Bunny Lake Is Missing” in which they had three songs including my favorite “Just Out Of Reach” in 1965. The song is featured in television scene in the film. The Zombies had me at “Just Out Of Reach” and it was the beginning of a great fandom for me. I even own a copy of the film. The Zombies performed all of these gems at their Troubadour show. Real toe tappers for this former Go Go Dancer.
Around six months ago there was a very conceptual milk commercial that aired on television that featured a song that got me thinking how do I know this song? I grabbed my cell phone and hit the SHAZAM app and voila there it was “The Zombies/I Love You.” I have Zombie songs in my iPod queue, but not “I Love You” and I quickly added it. It was truly a blessing to me that the band played that tune at the show and did so in such a way that I could not stand still. I was dancing all around the aisle in a 2 -foot space. I happily kicked up my heels and offered up my apologies for elbowing my neighbors and stepping on more than a few toes with my boot heels.
Perhaps one of the best known songs associated with The Zombies is “Time Of The Season” which is from their 1968 album “Odyssey and Oracle” and is in itself quite an enigma as it originally did not garner much attention, but developed a “cult” like following during the fifty plus years they have been The Zombies. It still ranks at #100 on RollingStone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. 9 of the 12 songs on the psych-pop ear candy were recorded at the infamous Abby Studios and they used the “Studer 4 Track Machine” that The Beatles used to record their “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” It came in at 113 which was just under the U.S. Hot 100 list. This song sounded amazing live and is the first time I have ever heard it performed. Colin Blunstone’s voice is still full-bodied with a range of a much younger vocalist. The vibrato is strong and constant and not weak and wavering as some singers newest work seems to be. This song is truly a treasure to hear.
Argent writes most of The Zombies’ material, but the stand out song of the night was “Hold Your Head Up” which Blunstone told his adoring fans was actually penned by former member Chris White and performed originally by Argent’s band “Argent.” This song provided quite a “jam” and included a potpourri of rifts from many other tunes. “Hold Your Head Up” came off slick, polished and oozing with Argent’s adept musicianship upon his organ.
When I was a Go Go Dancer at The Teen Fair’s at The Palladium in Hollywood there were many bands that performed covers of The Zombies’ hits and I did get to experience the thrill of dancing to their tunes, but this is the first time that I’ve ever been lucky enough to dance to them live. The last time I was at The Troubadour I had told staff person Mike that when I returned it would be without the cane I was hobbling around with due to a fall down a flight of stairs at a Ringo Starr concert. His answer was “And I’ll bet you were dancing in the aisle…right?” Wink, wink.
The Zombies are professionally trained musicians that have an experimental bent woven into the tapestry that is their body of work. It is beyond this music lover how they could be eligible for The Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame since 1989, be nominated in 2014, 2017 and 2018 and not selected. I voted for them every time as did the legion that comprise their faithful “Zombie Cultist” force. Not exactly an Army, but definitely a perpetually moving train heading your way and telling you to get on board.
Many thanks to Facebook gal pal Michele Coombe, Siren Artist Management, for making this night possible as we celebrated her 39th birthday…wink, wink.
It was nice to catch up with The Zombies’ road manager, Chris Tuthill, and hearing that The Zombies are on their third consecutive tour. Tuthill also added that touring with Uriah Heep seemed logical.
The Zombies are slated to join British Rockers Uriah Heep on October 27th for a European tour. Uriah Heep have 25 studio albums, 13 live albums, 16 compilation albums, 27 UK singles and 17 videos under their respective belts and feature heavy organ orchestration in their body of work. Tunes that one might recognize them by are “Wizard,” “July Morning” and “Stealin.”
Uriah Heep are touring in support of their current release “Living The Dream” which is set to drop on September 14, 2018.