Review: The Zombies and Josh Flowers & The Wild at the Brudenell Social Club

By December 29, 2015

Music. Leeds.

[Photos courtesy of Dave Lichterman]

[Photos courtesy of Dave Lichterman]

The Zombies are one of those bands that, if you’re under the age of 45, occupy a muddled space between timelessness and being ‘another one of those sixties bands’. We all know they were, and probably are, very good at what they do, but in all honesty we’re just not quite sure what they represent. To be frank, though, after seeing these smooth septuagenarians, it’s easy to understand why they still pull the crowds.

Supporting The Zombies at Leeds’ premier venue, the Brudenell, was Josh Flowers and The Wild – a lively bunch of up-and-comers whose raucous, pounding blues were a perfect appetiser. Flowers hit the stage with that sort of thigh-thumping energy that you can’t help cracking a smile at, while the supporting Wild were equally bawdy, giving the blues – and cello, for that matter – a swinging flavour of heavy rock that I hadn’t heard, and am unlikely to hear, for a rather long while. I couldn’t fault the playing, but there was a sense that the overall sound was all a little too clean and squeaky by the time the band said their goodbyes.

Zombies, though. Wow.

Storming on stage to a immaculate performance of “I Love You” – a stellar B-side that you’ve definitely heard and tapped along to at some point in your life – lead singer Colin Bluntstone’s voice conveyed just as much slickness and impish zeal as it ever did. From ages 17 to 70 (with the majority of the audience occupying the further reaches of that continuum), the entire audience were beaming, enjoying the products of a fantastic 50-year union that doesn’t show any signs of faltering.

For many, the highlights of the night were the many tunes that featured on the band’s seminal album, Odessey And Oracle. “I Want You Back Again” had energy, jazziness, and was ridiculously on-point, with keyboardist Rod Argent’s playing adding a particular flight to the eminent grooves. So too excellent was “Time of the Season”, a song that was simply brilliant to see in the flesh.

The band are currently promoting their new album, Still Got That Hunger, and as such treated the audience to a number of sparkly new tunes, all of which were recorded completely live on a four track machine – refreshing, to say the least. Back to basics – with touches of Argent (the band) and all of that seventies bliss that’s sadly so faded from our modern musical sensibilities –, the tunes were spot on. What’s more, during the downtime, Bluntstone and Argent set about weaving a supremely interesting yarn for the hooked audience that focused not just on their glittering past but on their newly vigorous present. Overall, it’s safe to say these lads are definitely not stuck in the past, and should hopefully be a firm festival fixture come 2016.