Is it Deja Vu?
When Zero Sequence came on at the Esplanade Powerhouse stage last night, I honesty did not know what to expect. What I got was a Deep Purple medley... I tell you I was grinning throughout. Hahahaha. The songs of my teenage years! Man, memories... being the keyboards player in a band which covered mumerous DP songs I observed that the TWO keyboardists that ZS had and must admit they did a competent job with four hands what Jon Lord achieved with only two. Hahaha.
ZS ended its 1st set (didn't hang around for the 2nd) with a Queen medley, which was appreciated loudly by the audience. In between, ZS performed a couple of originals off its upcoming album and to be honest, did not make much impression on me. I was expecting more, as ZS had been billed as a progressive rock band. That said, the band does possess certain melodic chops (and the lead guitarist is really good!) which may put it in good stead when the album is released.
Of course, the reason I was attending this gig was the opening set from B-Quartet, which as usual, was awesome. Augmented for last few gigs as a sextet, the natural manner in which the band goes about combining jazz, prog rock, modern rock, pop and anything else you can pick up is well, hypnotic. Vocalist Bani Haykal is the focal point with his playful stage antics, leading the band through its paces like a gleeful conductor. A sight to behold.
But it's the music that truly mesmerizes as the band will move from piano ballad to headbanging metal to cinematic ambience sometimes in the same song. Shoebox is my absolute favourite!
Funny, but when I was thinking about Zero Sequence, the word "regressive rock" seemed to come to mind and although this sounds a little snobbish, I'll let it ride for now. But when you look at B-Quartet, like Zero Sequence, they owe a huge debt to the seventies. Certainly you will hear elements of the great jazz fusion masters e.g. Miles Davis, Weather Report, Return to Forever and even Steely Dan, except that the influence of the great widescreen rockers like Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev and of course, Jeff Buckley are brought in to produce a dazzling result.
And of course, B-Quartet hope to have an album on the shelves in November. Can't wait...
...there is more...
oh and thanks to Saiful and Armi for the good company.