Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Zombies @ The Howard Theatre — 8/9/12 (or “The Zombies, Yes; Apocalypse, No”)

Photo courtesy of Marga M.
Rod Argent
courtesy of Marga M.

When your admirers include Paul Weller, Dave Grohl and The Vaccines, you probably are doing something right.

And so The Zombies unquestionably got something right, capturing lightning in a bottle in their timeless classic “Time of the Season,” off their most famous album, Odessey and Oracle, in 1968 right as they disbanded. The album endured, however, and the band eventually returned to stay with the new century in a lineup that is touring on a new album with a stop at The Howard Theater in DC last Thursday.

The new lineup consists of the core hitmakers Rod Argent on keyboards and Colin Blunstone on lead vocals. The duo were augmented by capable veteran musicians Jim Rodford on bass (well known for his work with The Kinks), his son Steve Rodford on drums, and Tom Toomey on guitar.

In concert, The Zombies of course jammed through a powered up version of their best-known hit “Time of the Season,” which spotlighted Argent’s talent on the keyboards as he took them on a symphonic roller coaster ride in the middle of the song. The band later closed with their other best-known song, “She’s Not There,” a quickly paced rocker’s lament of misplaced love.

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Hot Ticket: The Zombies @ The Howard Theatre, 8/9/12

The Zombies in the 1960s (Photo courtesy The Zombies)

Cruising the radio dial on any road trip or drive around the Beltway is going to yield a classic rock station and inevitably great familiar songs like, “Time of the Season.” You might pause and think, wow, that song always sounds better than I give it credit for. Who’s it by? Oh, yes, The Zombies. They had another big hit didn’t they? “She’s Not There?” Right, right. Good stuff.

Well, The Zombies were big in the 1960s and got together again a few times over the following decades finally to reform in 2004 as an ongoing concern. They put out a new album, Breathe Out, Breathe In, in 2011 and they are touring again now, landing at The Howard Theatre this Thursday. What better time this season to catch up with the UK trendsetters?

The Zombies are best remembered for their collaborations in baroque pop, a subgenre of rock championed by The Beatles. Yesterday’s baroque pop paved the way for today’s chamber pop — consisting of bands that use orchestral instrumentation to produce modern rock songs. Acts ranging from Belle and Sebastian to Florence + The Machine have benefited from the groundwork laid by The Zombies.

Tickets to this all-ages show are available online for $39.50 plus fees or at the door for $45. Newly reformed 60s baroque pop brethren The Left Banke opens. Doors open at 6pm; showtime is 8pm.