ZO2 is a hard rocking band that I have enjoyed for a couple of years now. Largely an independent group, the band was throwing a party to celebrate their association with Riker Hill Records. I had been invited based on my earlier support of their music and for also being the writer of a rather positive review for Metal Edge Magazine. The show was a blast and also featured Craving Lucy and should you want to see more just scroll past the logo below. The festivities while documented by me feature the stellar photography of Peter Parrella.
Venue: The Canal Room (New York, NY)
Opener: Craving Lucy
Label: Riker Hill Records
The New York City Rockers Z02 has reason to celebrate and this is primarily due to their association with the newly launched label Riker Hill Records. If you have ever seen ZO2 perform live in the past you know that they take their Rock & Roll seriously, and now under the watchful eyes of Riker Hill the road for possibility seems to be that much more promising. Tonight we would have the honor of attending the label’s launch party that would be held at The Canal Room. It would be our first adventure to this noticeably stylish venue and while I hade heard about Quiet Riot recently performing here we did not get to that one. This chance to not only enjoy some great music but also a new place would turn this into a special treat all around. As a venue it is decently sized and offers a nice floor area for those that want to be up close and personal to the bands; it also has a great amount of tables and seating for those wishing to chill out and rock at the same time. The room this evening would be filled with label representatives and well-wishers, family, friends and several media representatives tossed in for good measure. Here are our thoughts on the night and the bands that performed.
Since this is still a new label the artist roster is only beginning to form but that’s fine as more is sure to come as time marches on. The party tonight would not only be snacks, drinks and shaking hands but also a concert that showcased the musical talents of the two groups that form the labels initial roster. After we heard a few words from the label folks such as Lynn Lendway and Gary Edelman, radio personality and Heavy Metal Honor Guard Eddie Trunk would come onstage to remind us of why we were all here. Moments later the room was introduced to Craving Lucy and it was time for them to get down to business. The Boston, MA natives are really good at dishing out the Rock and if you had to compare them against bands that you were presently following – I would have to say to think of them as a little heavier than Nickelback or Staind, but having a strong enough commercial appeal to generate a mixed genre audience. Lead singer Steve Archambault was very personable onstage and expressed a little worry about being in Yankee territory tonight – his comment which was met with great laughs and smiles from the crowd. All of the guys seemed happy to be present tonight and bringing their music to a crowd that most likely had not heard of them before the doors opened to let us in. I was not able to recall the tracks that they played for us but really can say for sure that it was a good time and I look forward to hearing an album of this stuff. They played about 40 or so minutes and there was not a dull moment to be had during the set. A debut album on Riker Hill Records should be out in the Fall but for the meantime you can always find them on MySpace. I think this will fit right in with what is currently happening in the Rock world. Good luck guys.
ZO2 was up next and of course everyone in the club knew these three guys. The band has been delivering the goods for Hard Rock & Roll for a couple of years now and they were even part of the KISS “Rock The Nation” tour when that steamrolled through town. That’s pretty cool stuff for an independent group to undertake and if you were lucky to be at one of those shows then you already know just how good they are at this stuff. Let’s pause for the newcomers and inform them that ZO2 is a Hard Rocking three-piece group from New York made up of the Brothers Z (Paulie and Dave) and drummer Joey Cassata. Paulie handles the main vocals and guitar while Brother Dave crunches the bass. To add to this the guys have a great level of harmony and Dave and Joe prove to be adept vocalists as well. It gives them an all-around excellent fullness for every tune that they slam out. The guys excel at a brand of Hard Rock that calls on the legends of the Old School and you will hear the influences of KISS, Aerosmith and even a little Led Zeppelin in their riffs as they offer homage to them all with their own catchy originals. This is music that is rooted in the history of the genre but one that also steadily aims to bring it farther into the future. Clearly ZO2 knows that the next big thing is Rock. So here they were and the music was pumping from the second they came on. The high energy set was very well-received by the audience and there were smiles everywhere and people were just rocking. It’s great to be a part of this kind of thing because the overall levels of positive Rock energy was everywhere in the room tonight. As their front man Paulie handles this like a seasoned pro and some of the abilities he showcases definitely had to be learning from his days with a KISS cover band as their Paul Stanley. He keeps the audience interested and hanging on his every word when he speaks. A very pleasant guy who smiles down at you, not because he has to but more because your reactions to the music are making him do so. He also happens to be a really good guitarist.
They would open their set with a track of their independent debut “Tuesdays & Thursdays” and it set the stage for the treats from their newest album “Ain’t It Beautiful”. Four tracks would come from this one but they would manage to fit a cover in there as well with a great rendition of Tom Sawyer by Rush. I admit this one took me by surprise and since there are no keyboards in the group Paulie handles the middle section with the axe. I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that heartthrob for many of the bands female fan base Dave Z. sang that one. Dave is also one who knows how to be the consummate professional onstage for each year he performs with The Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Looking over the guys set as they performed it I think they have a few things going for them outside of the groove in their tunes. “Isolate” would bring them closer to the end of this all too short demonstration and it’s a powerful track but for me the last tune “Fly On Your Wings” remains one of my favorites. Believe me no one wanted to go home after this track was done. As an observer of things music one aspect that that hits me the most is the fact that they love the stage and enjoy themselves at every second. I have seen some bands that look like they can’t wait to get off the thing while ZO2 seems to need to be dragged off kicking and screaming. They are also tighter than some bands who have been doing this for far longer and that’s something that works to their credit in the end. Everyone is rhythmically in synch and drummer Joey keeps it all together without fail. I have predicted big things for the guys and these accolades come from genuine interest and appreciation of how they do it.
Let’s all make some room at the Rock & Roll table for ZO2, Craving Lucy and the team over at Riker Hill Records.
ZO2 Set List:
1. Takin’ Me Down
3. She Believes
4. If You See Kay
5. Tom Sawyer
6. Ain’t It Beautiful
8. Fly On Your Wings