Zaska At The Sugar Club – Review

Down With Jazz

Zaska Sugar Club Review

Funk/hip hop/soul collective Zaska are back making waves again with their new single, ‘Got To Go’, featuring the classic eight piece vibes that we fell in love with back in 2012. The ever changing group is led by ever charismatic frontman, Max Zaska. Now launching their current single, the group take over The Sugar Club for what we hope will be a funky night.

The group start off without singers, and delve right into ‘Ma Gaudd’, featuring refrains from Teresa Mannion’s infamous ‘Dangerous Roads’ spiel. The seats begin to empty, and before long, the crowd are right up the front, grooving along to what is mostly a new setlist. Formidable Dublin singers Keith Fennel and Jess Kav are tonight’s chanteurs, and they make it very evident from the get go that they mean business.

What’s remarkable with Zaska is that every time they play a show, the setlist is always so different, yet the crowd react as if they know the tunes inside out. It’s a credit to the astounding stage presence and approach of the band. Their charming mid song interludes, effortless stops and starts, and even humorous approach in performing is contagious. Before every tune, the opening of ‘Got To Go’ is teased, before flying effortlessly into a new tune. The craftsmanship behind the setlist is almost an art in itself.

The set gets even tastier with tunes like ‘Swan’ featuring notably exceptional solo work from the axe-man, and gorgeous harmonies from our two singers. The Horn section also offer an extra colour to the band, especially with ‘Got To Go’ the reason we’re all here. A very fitting cover of Prince classic ‘Kiss’ is lapped up by all, and seems to signal the finale of the show. With everyone hyper charged with energy from tonight’s performance, what else could make this better?

See also: Hozier’s first video interview

Reunion. That is a word we have heard and seen a lot of these days, but this one quite possibly takes the cake. Old bandmates Karen Cowley and Andrew Hozier Byrne left the band some time ago to pursue their own projects, but tonight, they are both in attendance and more than happy to join the rest of the band onstage. The crowd hardly believe their eyes, this is possibly the finest lineup of musicians on one stage anywhere in the world right now. A frankly jaw-dropping rendition of Lauren Hill’s ‘Doo Wop’ closes the night, with the ten impeccable talents onstage having a blast whilst blowing everyone’s minds. After quite possibly the finest encore anyone has seen, the crowd disperse and are left thinking about what they have just witnessed.

It’s rather difficult to properly examine what we had just seen, other than saying it was the funkiest, most professional and ultimately, the funnest gig of the past year. Max Zaska should be a very proud man right about now. When Hozier joins you to be ONE of your backing singers, you should take a bow.


Finn O’Reilly

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