Zeus @ Electric Owl -- 09/13/14

The very first time I saw Toronto's Zeus, they were opening for Jason Collett (as well as acting as his backing band) at Richard's on Richards, and played to about 10 people. It was an early show that no one knew was early, so they got shafted. Luckily I've seen them more than a couple times in the six years, and three albums later, they are playing to packed venues like the Electric Owl.

Toronto's The Elwins opened up the show, with their upbeat and bouncy indie-pop songs. The sound wasn't great for them at the beginning of the set, which I think really hurt -- their precision pop and harmonized vocals lose a lot with poor sound quality -- but it evened out a little as the set went on, and the crowd slowly migrated towards the stage, pulled in by the band's exuberance.

They teased the crowd with some new songs, as well as songs off And I Thank You, highlights including the ridiculous catchy "Stuck In The Middle" and a cover of Beyonce's "Countdown", which they put their own spin on and had the crowd counting down along with them. The wasn't the last crowd participation, though, as for "Forgetful Assistance" the mustachioed guitar/keyboardist Feurd Moore conducted the crowd to clap along, and even hopped off the stage among the people at the front, hugging a few, and handing off the tambourine before taking place.

It was a really fun set, and hopefully next time they're back, the sound will be better.

And then, making their return to their Canadian home soil, after a few days in the USA (or "ew-sa", as they said) was the mighty Zeus. With Rob Drake on drums, Carlin Nicholson, Mike O'Brien, and Neil Quin all cycled through guitars and bass and keys, taking lead vocals for different songs, as well as providing perfect harmonies. They were also joined by the newest member of Zeus, Jason Haberman (not Collett as some places have been reporting, and they were quick to point out) previously of Yukon Blonde, on various instruments.

Right away they launched into "Bonnieview" from the new album Classic Zeus, and as soon as they started, their talents burst through. Each member is an amazing musicians with a great presence, and they were blown away by the crowd's reaction to them, which just fuelled their passion even more.

From the hip shaking groove of "Love/Pain", to the explosive rocking and beautiful harmonies of "The Renegade", to the softer and heartbreaking "One Line Written In" and everything in between, the hour-plus set ran through all three of their albums pretty equally. The energetic crowd also joining in, clapping along and singing the ooo-aah-ooo's of  "Strong Mind" before the band brought the set to an end with "27 is the New 17", Rob Drake coming out from behind the drums for the first time and picking up a guitar, for Carlin to take his place, before chants of "ZEUS! ZEUS!" brought them back out for a couple more.

Any remaining faces left unmelted were taken care of with an absolutely incendiary and rocking "You Gotta Teller" -- definitely the best song of the set -- before the capped off the night with and a bit of a rarity, the title track to the Hot Under The Collar 7".

It's always amazing watching them play. Each member has the songwriting and musical chops -- as well as on-stage presence -- to be a fantastic frontman of their own band, and with their powers combined, they are a band unparalleled.

Bonnieview, Heavy On Me, I Know, Love/Pain, The Renegade, Anything You Want Dear, You Could Have A Lover, Are You Gonna Waste My Time?, First One In, One Line Written In, I Miss My Friends, Strong Mind, 27 Is The New 17.
(encore) You Gotta Teller, Hot Under the Collar.