I am not entirely sure why, but out of all the venues I have seen The Zolas in, it feel the most "at home" when they play The Imperial. I have only seen them there once before, but for whatever reason, it just seems like the perfect fit.
Anyway, the Vancouver band returned home for a sold out show at the Imperial Thursday, with a pretty stacked lineup.
Unfortunately, I missed nearly all of Fine Times, the first band of the night, arriving just in time for the last song of the set, their catchy single, "Hey Judas".
Next up was Hannah Epperson, which also felt strangely fitting, since the first few times I saw her perform it was opening for The Zolas. Hannah and her violin & looping pedal were joined by Daniel Ruiz on drums, and started the set off with the gorgeous "Cat's Cradle", her soft voice floating over the swirling violin.
Between songs she was charmingly awkward as she made some jokes before introducing a "depressing medley", the beautifully haunting "Brother" seguing perfectly into "We Will Host A Party". She also debuted some new songs, introducing a microkorg to the mix, which gave her a little troubles in the first song, before ending her set off with another new one about how "hashtags suck". (She explained it was a little more complex than that, but that was the gist of it)
I was also impressed by the drumming of Ruiz. I've seen live loopers play with drummers before, and they always seemed to be trying to catch up to the looper, but that was definitely not the case here. Ruiz was more than keeping up, and if the stolen glances and grins back and forth were any indication, they were playing off each other perfectly.
They featured their new EP Wino Oracle with some songs, including their aptly titled love letter to new York, "Fell in Love With New York" and the anthemic "Molotov Girls", as well as teased some new songs. Two of my favourite songs of the set were actually new tunes that came back-to-back part way through.
After about an hour, and another big songalong to "You're Too Cool" -- the crowd impressively hitting the falsetto -- Zach went into the crowd for the big finale, "Escape Artist", surrounded by fans. BUT, of course, they wouldn't leave it off their as they were back for a couple more; "Male Gaze" from the new EP, and another favourite of mine, "Strange Girl" with the crowd flawlessly clapping along to it's unusual beat.
As always, The Zolas put on a high energy and just flat out fun show, the passion of the crowd reflected in the band. And while I will fully admit, I wasn't the biggest fan of "Molotov Girls" when I first heard it (though it has since grown on me, especially after giving the lyrics a good listen) , the other new songs had me very eager to hear what The Zolas have up their collective sleeves. Hopefully it won't be too long before we get to hear more.
setlist (amended thanks to "Lazos" commenting below)
Invisible, Get Dark, Ancient Mars, Fell in Love with New York, Knot In My Heart, CV Dazzle, Swooner, You're Too Cool, Molotov Girls, Escape Artist.
(encore) Male Gaze, Strange Girl.