The infamous Toad’s Place in New Haven has been home to many amazing shows and artists since it started back in the mid-70s. This past Tuesday, February 28th, Turbine and The Zach Deputy Band were in the house. I had never seen either band before. In fact, it was the first for many to see Zach play with a full band. His latest album Another Day was just released and it was his first album that included more than just himself.
When I arrived, the sound was groovy, but I honestly wasn’t sure which band was on stage. I made my way closer and could see Zach front and center, so just assumed I had missed the opening act. It bummed me out that I missed the opener, but on the other hand the Ashley’s Ice Cream I got instead of getting here sooner was well worth it. It wasn’t until the last song was over and the lead vocalist said “Thank you so much for coming out! We are Turbine!” Zach was making a guest appearance during their set. Turbine is a four piece band out of New York and they had done a stellar job of entertaining a Tuesday night crowd. One of their founding members, Ryan Rightmire, was on acoustic guitar and doing something strange with a balloon. I couldn’t tell if he was making music or just being animated. In looking into it after the fact, it appears as though he uses a balloon’s air to make sounds through his harmonica. Could it be?! Genius idea, if you were to ask me!
During the break between acts, “Dub Like an Antelope” was playing; a tribute album covering many of Phish’s hits in reggae form. “Back on the Train,” “Slave to the Traffic Light,” “Makisupa Policeman” and finally “Boogie on Reggae Woman” (the Stevie Wonder hit) before the band took stage.
As I said, I have never seen Zach Deputy, even his solo act. I was chatting with a fellow photographer and music-lover that has seen him in both lights. Here is what he had to say…
“I’ve seen Zach without a band many times. I saw him with a band, The Fatty Acids once. This time with what appears to be, The Zach Deputy Band and it was tight. Zach led with strong control of the timing, which is to be expected considering what is necessary for his solo/loop act. He is the king of loop, funky, smooth transitions, and complex, loaded with groove! His loop act is mostly without percussion although he adds a little beat here and there with a stick and a gas cylinder and also with beat-box. The band had a drummer and a percussionist. With the band besides guitar, Zach played keys, he actually opened the show on a keyboard with voice.” Karl McWherter
Here’s some video footage from the show that Karl attended at the The Blockley in Philadelphia on Sunday February 26th…
For the show I was at, there was percussion, drums, keys, bass and a sax. As Zach started the show on guitar, each artist seemed to ease into the first song one after the other; first keys, then drums, then bass and finally percussion. It started a bit mellower than I had expected. Zach was center stage in his finest track pants and slippers. He loves the two step which (according to Wikipedia) consists of two steps in approximately the same direction onto the same foot, separated by a closing step with the other foot. “Two Steps” is the second song off of his 2008 release, Out of the Water. He referenced the two step about five times throughout the show, that I could recall.
Zach leads the band in moving from reggae to funk to blues to beat-box and back around again. At times, the sound of the band together reminded me a lot of Ryan Montbleau Band. The “hopeless romantic guitarist” in him was apparent in some of his lyrics; “I can call you angel.” Once the keyboardist stepped up with the sax, I was reminded of the late LeRoi Moore of the original Dave Matthews Band. The ZD Band covered Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” which brought the mood back down a bit from all the excitement of the show.
He has a very loyal following and draws a relaxed and calmer scene. I think I would have enjoyed this show much more had it been in an outdoor setting. The fans were heady and hula-hoops were abound. The venue smelled of marijuana and the stage lights were pretty, but nothing remarkable. The idea of fresh air being added into the whole mix would really only add to the positive energy. Overall, the music was on point and with the mix of the band, I can only see Zach moving further into the scene. He was on stage singing “gimme that funk!” so I danced for the rest of the show.
The Zach Deputy Band will be performing around the festival circuit this summer. For more dates on the ongoing tour, check out his Zach Deputy (dot) com.