Before Zolo even took the stage at Tota Lounge for Indie Week, I was impressed with his set, which included a DJ and a live drummer. I absolutely loved his outright attempt at doing something different – and it paid off in spades.
As with any single-person performances, it’s tough to keep the crowd visually entertained, regardless of how musically talented the artist is (and Zolo is plenty musically talented). The beauty of the drummer, though, was that he gave the audience something new to look at, pulling the performance from a mainly auditory one. The drummer was also amazingly talented, and the DJ maintained the perfect balance between hypeman and bona fide member of the group.
Musically, the DJ added a cool electro edge to the music, mixing the dizzy swirl of electronic music with the beat-heavy intensity of hip hop. The beats were also unique in that they sampled lots of popular music as well as some pop culture references, but changed it enough to make it new. The live drums, meanwhile, infused a more human touch – and they were insane: fast and thrilling, but not overpowering.
For Zolo himself, he had a mostly inward start on stage, but quickly broke free from any nerves. Soon enough, he was jumping around on stage, engaging the audience with his infectious passion. He had a wonderful cadence on the mic and was strong but not too aggressive.
The end of Zolo’s set was certainly the most memorable. It involved a foam-headed mascot who worked as a typical hypeman. It gave the audience something to gawk at and certainly engaged the crowd. But, I’m glad to report that it absolutely didn’t take from the music.
For more on Zolo, visit www.worldofzolo.com.