[15 December 2009]
Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker, better known as the acid jazz downtempo sensation Zero 7, performed to a near capacity crowd at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre not quite two weeks ago. The duo, based out of London England and supported by vocalists Eska Mtungwazi and Martha Tilston, was in town for the first time in three years to promote their new album Yeah Ghost. The contributing artists accompanied Binns and Hardaker’s signature synth-driven melodies with a plethora of traditional and unique instruments, often giving the impression that you were listening to totally different bands from one song to the next. The songs constantly transitioned from jazzy numbers, like “Pop Art Blue” with its soulful lyrics, to bass heavy instrumentals, such as “Seeing Things,” that were reminiscent of early “808 State” songs and had the crowd dancing around with reckless abandon. This variety of tempo and style kept the performance unpredictable and very entertaining to watch. A lively three-song encore that included “In The Waiting Line,” “The Pageant Of The Bizarre,” and “All Of Us” concluded an already strong performance and left fans shouting “Zero 7 rules” and clapping long after the band left the stage.