Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Zombies, Market Harborough

We discover popular music backwards as well as forwards. I loved Argent's Hold Your Head Up when I was 12 and Colin Blunstone's early solo work reminds me of listening to Radio Luxembourg under the covers at the same age. But I doubt that I had then heard of the Zombies - I can remember my surprise at learning that Carlos Santana was not the writer of She's Not There. (I don't feel so bad after hearing Rod Argent telling the younger members of tonight's audience that his band recorded the original version of God Gave Rock and Roll to You.)

I have completed my education since then, of course, and joined the throng who think Odessey and Oracle may be the greatest album of the sixties. And I have just bought their new CD Breathe Out, Breathe In, which finds them sounding rather like Steely Dan - no bad thing for grown up rockers.

And all these stages were represented in this evenings concert at the Harborough Leisure Centre. There were half a dozen songs each from Odessey and Oracle and the new CD (wisely slipped in early, though they sounded good), songs from Blunstone's solo career, the classic Zombies singles and two Argent anthems.

The dynamic of the band is still the same as it was in their 1960s appearances: Blunstone looking sweet and taking it all rather seriously; Argent mugging to the audience and wearing his virtuosity lightly. These days the band is completed by Jim Rodford on bass (he was present when the Zombies were formed in 1961, declined to join but was later a founder member of Argent), his son Steve on drums and recent recruit Tom Toomey on guitars.

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, but how could you not like it when one of your favourite bands plays around the corner from where you live? In particular, Colin Blunstone's voice is still in marvellous condition - powerful and piercing - even if you did not always get that unique breathy tone.

A word too for the local support act Jacksboro Highway. In the space of five songs they managed to play both Dimples and Can't Find My Way Home. They are clearly a band for the Market Harborough based Steve Winwood enthusiast to investigate more closely.

I shall choose one of the Zombies' new songs for tomorrow's music video, but you can also enjoy songs that have previously featured on this blog and were all played at tonight's concert:


Anonymous said...

Agree absolutely, brilliant night out, and being right at the front it was just like the old days before the coming of crash barriers and security goons to even the quietest of gigs in tiny venues.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the mention - we really enjoyed the night - thought Zombies were excellent - they, apparently, liked us and it looks like we got another support gig for them in December at Worcester.
Also, thanks for the website link.
Steve Smith - Jacksboro Highway