Show Review: The Zolas, Will Currie & the Country French and Bend Sinister

Three bands. Three solid examples of vocal-and-keyboard driven alt-rock. As last week's show at Windsor's Phog Lounge proved, the formula works, over and over, because talent and the infinite variations of human creativity keep it from being too formulaic.
     In the case of Vancouver-
based the Zolas, it was Zachary Gray's earnest and agile delivery of  accessible lyrics, accompanied by Tom Dobrzanski's  I've-got-your-back robust piano and supporting vocals that won our admiration-- and money from our budget for their latest CD, Tic Toc Tic.

They might not take kindly to strangers in Ontario, but we sure took kindly to Will Currie and his band, the Country French. Currie comes off as somewhat shy on stage, which makes you feel privileged that he's sharing his inner life through his songs. His vocals are just as earnest as Gray's but earthier, his keyboard playing focused and energetic. We knew Will from his guest host stints on Radio 3 and were glad to get better acquainted with his music and newest release, Awake! You Sleepers.

Country French guitarist Dan Beacock (left) and bassist Daniel MacPherson.

Last, but certainly not least: Bend Sinister. We watched lead singer Dan Moxon as he waited through the opening acts, quiet, unassuming, helping the other bands with their sound. We were so amazed when Moxon took the stage we made up a new word: flummoxoned.

Bend Sinister nails the power-pop-rock anthem perfectly and it's great to be along for the ride with Moxon's incredible rollercoaster of a voice and superb keyboard work. Although it's our review policy to not compare bands/artists to other bands, it's hard where Bend Sinister is concerned. Is it cheating to note that one of their encores was Supertramp's "Logical Song" and it's a natural? If you haven't seen or heard them before, check out the video below. Their latest release is Spring Romance.

Photos: Russ Gordon