After a very lively and insightful late evening interview with Zero (in the Hard Rock Cafe parking lot, nothing less), I waited eagerly for the start of the gig. I’d somehow always missed Zero’s concerts whenever they’d played in the city, so I was considerably curious and excited to know how they sounded live, having only their album recordings (which i’d listened to a gazillion times) and some YouTube videos as reference.
By the time the band went up on stage, the place was packed. The larger of the two stages was in use, and a steam machine that had been going off every few minutes until then seemed to be increasing the anticipation levels in the crowd. Sidd Coutto finally took his place behind the cymbals, while Warren Mendonsa and Bobby Talwar took their places on either side of vocalist Rajeev Talwar, sporting a somewhat Brandon Flowers (of The Killers fame) look.
The set list took off with the band playing the entire Hook EP in sequence, which nobody seemed to realize until ‘Christmas in July‘, probably due to the conspicuous absence of ‘PSP 12‘. Although getting somewhat out of shape on ‘Lost‘ (which they were performing for the first time ever on stage), ‘Not My Kind Of Girl‘ and ‘Spitleaf‘ were extremely well received.
The high point of the gig though, seemed to arrive way too soon. Sitarist Ravi Chary joined the band to play ‘Christmas in July‘, and in those ten minutes, completely owned the place. With a captivated audience cheering him on, he stood at the front of the stage, instrument resting on one knee, and shredded his way to glory. A fabulous rendition of one of my favorite tracks, and I certainly hope that Zero includes this on the live album that they’ve hinted at. I somehow felt like the band may have missed a trick here by playing out all the songs on Hook so early, since the audience seemed to relate to and know that list better than Procrastination.
The reprise of ‘Not My Kind Of Girl‘ was finely sung by Sidd Coutto, as he did on the album, and even included the reversed track crying bit! Rajeev Talwar took up guitaring duties for a few songs as well, and the set list continued with tracks from the Procrastination album, including ‘Mariachi‘, ‘Hate in E Minor‘, and ‘Lullabye‘. The gig finished at almost exactly the two hour mark, concluding with ‘PSP 12‘, known to many as the ‘Teri Maa‘ song.
All in all, Zero churned out one hell of a party. Rajeev’s energetic stage presence and vocals, complimented by Warren’s sublime riffs, and some powerful bass lines by Bobby backed up by Sidd Coutto’s frenetic drumming showed us clearly why Zero still is one of India’s finest and most successful bands.