Zaska at Sin È – Review
Funk maestro Max Zaska has taken his somewhat new band of Dublin’s finest musicians to the intimate venue of Sin È. Having been trained in jazz performance in Newpark Music Centre, Zaska has been acclaimed for his unique blend of blues, funk and soul, all tied up with a ribbon of jazz. Having downsized from an eight piece featuring a horn section, tonight’s lineup was always going to deliver a more raw, guitar driven sound.
Starting the set with some tasty instrumental riffing, the mood is set early by the extraordinary musicians before us. Catchy hooks and offbeat rhythms are delivered in almost confusingly perfect sync, much to the crowd’s delight. After a few minutes of more funky goodness and charming crowd interaction, Nichola Hegarty and Keith Fennell are brought on stage to start the set proper.
Starting with ‘Doing It’, the energy levels go nowhere but up. Cote Calmet’s drumming is more than solid, and proves to be the engine for this tune as well as the rest of the set. Max Zaska’s guitar lines are disgustingly filthy and transcendently beautiful at the same time, and the overall feel of the band is just unbelievable.
As the set progresses, the tone is taken down a few notches for a few new tunes, and a remarkably good performance of ‘The Tower’ featuring just guitar and both vocalists. Again, the chemistry and sync the three musicians have here is purely astounding and genuinely unique. The chilled out vibes during this part of the set are appreciated to no end, but the noise from the rest of the venue does make it harder to enjoy unfortunately, and somewhat takes away from the pleasant quiet fade outs to the majority of the tunes.
The set picks up again with brilliant band performances of new song ‘Swan’ and the penultimate track of the night, ‘In Your Own Sweet Time’. The latter is the title track from the 2014 powerhouse of a debut album that caught everyones attention. Seats are emptied for this set highlight, which proves to be a masterclass in how to write a banging soul tune.
As the set draws to a close, one can’t help but miss a few familiar tunes we didn’t get to hear, no doubt due to the lack of the horn section. Tunes like ‘She Gunk Gunk Dunk a Funk’ and ‘Different Light’ are huge sounding, and undoubtedly party starting anthems, but credit is due to the man for putting on a great show without what’s normally an intrinsic part of the band. The vibes were perfect for a more stripped back performance, and that’s exactly what we got.
Check out Zaska’s tunes on Breakingtunes.