Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Zuzu Reveals Doomstar!

I had never been to Zuzu, which rests between The Middle East upstair and downstairs, but I was anxious to check it out. It was an unusual space for a performance by energetic rock bands but worked out pleasantly. It was small and had no stage so the performances were quite intimate. The left wall was lined with mirrors which made for interesting effect and there was a bar located on the right. There was not much else to speak of in the small venue. It seemed more fit for DJs and dance nights which I was told is exactly the primary function of Zuzu.

Colleen Green played first and could best be described as analogous to Best Coast. The performance simply consisted of her on guitars and vocals with a man playing a drum machine next to her. Her reverb laden vocals fell perfectly on top of the two chord progressions. It was a simple no frills arrangement but worked well for the genre. The songs were fairly catchy and kept a warm summer vibe. It made sense when I found out she was based out of Oakland since her style seemed to be plucked right from the west coast lo-fi scene.

I was really surprised by Hands and Knees. They rocked out much more than I was expecting and presented themselves as quite a talented bunch. The drummer especially caught my eye and he was going off in all directions and drove a lot of the songs with forceful precision. The guitars had excellent twang to them and played off one another quite well. They utilized both male and female vocals and the songs each had their own distinctive sound. I can’t speak to individual songs since I was unfamiliar with their catalog, but there were definitely some that I was hoping to revisit.

Doomstar! proved that their last performance was no fluke. They wasted no time getting into their noisy garage rock. They have a great sound, as I mentioned in my last write-up, and strike an excellent balance between noisy, distorted rock and reverb drenched pop structures. They even add dashes of surf rock in songs like “Alone”. One of the things I like most about the group is their ability to get people grooving. When you think of people dancing at shows, you wouldn’t necessarily think of this style and their appearance seems more of that of a metal band; however, both times I saw them people reacted with heavy dancing. This is best exemplified with their song “Lily Face” which is almost impossible to stand still during.

The group played a decent sized set despite getting off to a late start. They ended in ideal fashion with a great trio of songs. They first played an amazing cover of Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You in the End” which resonated with a pulsing bassline before erupting in the finale. It was a fitting tribute to the timeless tune. They transitioned into an original which upped the ante and announced that it would be their last song. Just when the audience thought they were done, the band said they would play one more but they apologized ahead of time if it sounded terrible because they never played it before. They then launched into a rousing cover of Nirvana’s “Drain You” and there was certainly no need for apologies. Below is a great video of them performing "Be Correct" as well as players for all their music.

Doomstar! "Be Correct" - live at Starlab from Extraneous Noise on Vimeo.

<a href="">End of the World by DOOMSTAR!</a>

<a href="">Handsome Man by DOOMSTAR!</a>

<a href="">introduction by DOOMSTAR!</a>


  1. cool review! fun show! however, I must let you know that there was NO MAN playing a drum machine next to me. There may have been a man or two sitting or standing near me but that's cuz Zuzu is pretty small.

    I play the drum machine. I run the show. I do it all myself.

  2. Oops. I guess a bunch of people standing around the drum machine in such a small space let me to the conclusion that one of them were operating it.

    That's cool that you do it all yourself. Props on the chill tunes.