Old Zula’s last night, with Fox Comet & Captain Stu

Saturday 25 June 2011

In all its 5/6 years of existence, I’d never been to Zula Bar; now that it’s relocating (a few doors down in Long Street), the closing night party last week was my last chance to check out the ‘old’ Zula – plus, I’d never watched either of the bands so having 3 new experiences at once seemed like a great idea.

Fox Comet Captain Stu

Fox Comet were actually the main reason I was there – their drummer, Kyle Gray, had asked me to check them out and because he seemed like a nice guy and we have some mutual friends, I was really hoping they’d be good to save me from any potential awkwardness. As they started appearing on the stage, I tried very hard to ignore the fact that the tracks of theirs I’d heard online hadn’t really won me over, but even so, my expectations were pretty low…

Nicola, Dani & JessLuckily I’m not lying through gritted teeth when I say I enjoyed them because I honestly did – they really came alive on stage and even the tracks I didn’t like so much the first time round sounded pretty great.

I imagine there’s always a bit of pressure on vocalists when they’re not hiding behind an instrument – they’re not as restricted as their bandmates and so probably feel obligated to dance and move around a bit. The results can range from being  uncomfortable and a little awkward to unforced and entertaining; Fox Comet’s vocalist/saxophonist Rob Coutts falls into the latter group and demands to be watched as he bounces and dances across the stage, plus he gets bonus points for having stripey rainbow socks.

One of the best things for me about live music is the energy – something which Fox Comet have in bucketloads. A really cool band, I’ll definitely be checking them out again.

After a brief speech from dreadlocked Zula owners Vusa and Zoe, Captain Stu took off their shoes (and later some of their clothes) and took to the stage. I remember first hearing about them some years ago when they were ‘Captain Stu & the llamas’, and downloaded their Free Music EP but had never seen them play before…this is partly because I’m not mad about ska and know bassist Ryan McArthur from work, so (a bit like my fears about Fox Comet) I wanted to avoid potential awkwardness if I thought they were awful…

Truthfully, I knew they couldn’t be awful – they’re too eastablished for that – but I still felt a little out of place watching them, surrounded by some pretty diehard fans (including one nutter girl who actually had ‘captain stu’ tattooed onto the back of her neck) who sang along to all the songs.

The band were better than I thought they’d be and are definitely good at what they do, but it’s not really my thing and I lost steam after a while…they were very amusing though and had some of the best banter between them that I’ve seen in a long time.

All in all it was a really awesome night and I think it’s safe to say a great time was had by all, so much so in fact, that the ongoing attempts to break the floorboards were finally successful (or so I heard, I left before it got to that…)

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Zula‘s grand re-opening boasts an impressive 2-day line-up, check it out here.

Captain Stu’s website & Facebook page

Fox Comet’s website & Facebook page

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