I got into the band Zola Jesus because its leader, Nika Roza is in Former Ghosts. My friend Nick and I saw her at the Holocene when she came to town 7-25-10 and I have been dying to mention this amazing concert experience.
I bought the excellent new Zola Jesus Stridulum EP some weeks before the show and so felt fairly prepared.
Zola Jesus makes beautiful, dark, gothy, synth pop. According to her various internet bios, Nika studied opera as a teen, and I think it really shows. I've seen numerous great singers but seldom have had the chance to see someone just belt it on stage.
Luckily, they played all six of the songs I new, plus three amazing others. The band consisted of just Nika and her bandmate, who manned the programming and keyboards. Despite the skeleton crew, Nika had such great stage presence she filled the room, despite her tiny stature.
The concert was very short but Nick and I had no regrets. The music and performance was so emotional we still felt moved afterwards. (***SPOILER ALERT***) She closed her set with the last song on Stridulum "Manifest Destiny." All evening it seemed like Nika had some pent up energy she was dying to release. During this last track she stomped around stage. She kicked a chair over. She grabbed a beer bottle and climbed down into the audience, pushing them away with her body. Finally on the last note of the song she slammed the bottle down on the stage, shattering it to a "million" pieces. In a sense it was a basic sort of stunt, but in the context of the night it felt like an awesome emotional release.
For some reason I was compelled to draw this cartoon after the show:
Anyhow, I was thrilled to learn that Zola Jesus are coming back to town. They'll be playing the Holocene again on September 24th and this time they're bringing a full band. I can't wait to see the show!
Incidentally, I have since bought the 2009 Zola Jesus LP The Spoils and it's also quite good. It's a lot less accessible than their recent material however, making it sometimes better and sometimes worse. They have a new EP coming out October 12:
Here's a video.