Venue: Arlene’s Grocery (New York, NY)
Opener: Me Talk Pretty
Label: Independent Artist
When I take into account the amount of shows we are required to bring you here on PiercingMetal.com, I find myself sometimes being a little unfair to some of the fine independent artists that we come into contact with. Every once in awhile, we will aim to sate the hunger in our readers for the groups that are particularly impressive as a whole and who also bring the musical goods to the table.
One such band is ZO2, a group I have known for a couple of years based on attending KISS conventions and through their other bands. The group is merely three guys, two of them Brothers who handle the guitars and vocals along with their drummer who also sings. The frequently perform at a comfortable little club in Downtown Manhattan called Arlene’s Grocery. On a good night you can fit a little over a hundred screaming fans in front of the stage and based on the growing popularity of these guys that is seldom a problem. This is great to see happen for an independent group and on a Monday night no less. I have seen some of the signed groups having issues on weird nights of the week at certain outlets. I instantly liked the feel of Arlene’s and arrived in time to see the opening band Me Talk Pretty. They play an interesting blend of contemporary Rock with some influences that are clearly the result of their guitarist Leon Lyazidi (born in Spain) and the lovely Julia Preotu (the bands Romanian import) who sings. I am sure good things will be waiting for them going forward.
As I mentioned I knew of the ZO2 guys for awhile, as singer Paulie Z. and drummer Joey Cassata both were part of the KISS tribute band KISSNATION for some years. Dave Z. on the other hand is part of a little group called The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, so as you can expect these guys come with some solid musical background. The music of ZO2 is for anyone who enjoys quality Melodic Rock and Roll. There are KISS-like moments and at times I detected just a taste of Aerosmith – this is all good stuff and not a band thing at all. Their set was a hefty one and featured most of the material from their debut independent release “Tuesdays & Thursdays”. It’s an album that does right by the Rock & Roll with a heaping batch of melody and hooks all tied together with three part harmony vocals. Paulie can really belt out the high and powerful notes and I expect this was helped by his impersonating the legendary KISS member Paul Stanley. He also has a soulful and soft manner to his vocals and he uses the varied styles across all his material. Bass wise Dave Z. is a killer player while on drums Cassata does far more than hold the beat down. He doesn’t get too technical here and instead chooses to keep himself in check and allowing the groove to build to crescendos. Since he also sings this is a good idea and he also has a great voice. You don’t find a lot of drummers singing these days and its nice to see that from time to time. Their audience is largely female and perhaps this is one of the reasons the guys cant seem to stop smiling on stage but it also could be because they know that they love what they do and the people that they do it for. Songs that stand out for me especially from the bands set are “Taking Me Down” and “Dirty Water”, while the new song to me “If You See Kay” seems destined for the next recording they do sometime in the near future. The crowd for the group on this chilly Monday night would be very appreciative and supportive of the guys and as I glanced around the room it seemed like many of them knew the words to the songs. The material is not simple by any stretch but it is very catchy and easy to find yourself humming along to it.
I think if you plan on hitting a ZO2 show expecting to Rock and have a good time that you will not be disappointed at all. The guys while not signed to a major label seem to have found a very supportive niche and after the shows can be found walking around the venue relaxing and watching the other bands while also stopping to talk to their friends and fans. I wish them all the best for success in the Rock and Roll Industry. Check them out when you can its fun and a good time.