A (mock) Review of Zonkaraz at Indian Ranch

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Zonkaraz – a mock review

Warning!!! The following review is NOT to be taken seriously. It is a tribute to all those who love Zonkaraz because the band followed their own muse – not the “common knowledge” of the music business. It was inspired while waiting for tickets to be printed prior to the Indian Ranch show when all the same questions and mispronunciations I heard 30 years ago were repeated by passersby. As to the actual show – It was as good as the band got 30 years ago, with the added power of the knowledge this would be the last time anyone would hear this music that had no pretense beyond its sincerity and honesty live.

June 22, 2013 (WEBSTER) –  Today this reviewer witnessed a group of lads and a petite young lady who go by the unusual moniker of Zonkaraz grace the stage at Indian Ranch for one show with their own mixed brand of music. This reviewer does not know what to make of the performance he attended.

The opening act, Maritime Pilot, was clear with their musical intent, instrumental rock designed to engage the listener in a wide range of orchestral moods delivered by talented musicians on guitars, bass and drums.

This was followed by the folk duo of Chuck and Mud backed up by the Hole Dam Band. This combination easily dispatched toe-tapping tunes with delightful vocals from the husband and wife team.

The final act was the aforementioned Zonkaraz. Before discussing their performance let’s talk that all-important first impression – the name. Zonkaraz – Just how do you to pronounce it? What’s it mean? In speaking with the band’s two founders; Paul, who plays piano and Ric, who plays guitar, this reviewer learned that it is a combination of the names of their pet dogs. Really? This reviewer loves dogs as much as any of God’s creatures, but naming your band after them is clearly a poor choice, and will become a hindrance for their future in the music business if they choose to continue on.

So much for the name; how about that first glimpse? There is one thing everyone in the music business knows that to be successful you need to pick a style and convey it. This group has not learned that lesson. There is no coherent look on stage and nothing to set them apart from their audience – anything from Hawaiian shirts to Duck Dynasty wear. This reviewer offers this observation: It was a very sunny day and many of the band mates kept their sunglasses on. This reviewer suggests they all adopt that look and wear shades on stage – that would be a start – and maybe an inspiration for a new name.

Let’s get to what should really concern an audience and this reviewer – the music. Whereas the other groups had a clear style, this group couldn’t decide if it was country rock, blues, a lounge act, Latin pop or a jam band with an odd mix of band originals, a blues cover and a show tune – maybe a little of everything for everyone? This is a big band, on stage were as many as four guitarists, two drummers along with a percussionist, a bass player and a piano player all displaying excellent musical skills. Joining them was vocalist Jo List, a young lady with a powerful, expressive voice. This reviewer did find himself tapping his toes at many points as this is a group of very capable musicians, but just as the groove was found it disappeared with a tempo change. It was a tribute their many fans that they were able to keep up when caught on the dance floor.

And the fans were also as mixed up as the band – young and old, hippie and hipster. This fan base could surely be expanded if the band displayed a more consistent style, and a like minded audience, appreciative of that style, is certainly more inclined to give the positive word of mouth every up and coming act needs. This reviewer was told this was their last show and that makes sense. After all, what audience wants to see a group that looks like themselves, plays a mishmash of music that appeals to no particular group and with a name you can’t pronounce?   Farewell, Zonkeraz.

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2 Responses to “A (mock) Review of Zonkaraz at Indian Ranch”

  1. Robert Boberg Says:

    No name here- C’mon Crockett- That was a wild guess– I am an English teacher . Well written I would say– Also,
    it was a magical, mystical, musical happening- Once in a lifetime–Damn!

  2. m2smith Says:

    Just to be clear – this is meant as a tongue in cheek review. All the “advice” mentioned was offered at some time or another – mostly by nay-saying club owners who didn’t get the band.

    Actual review: the BEST afternoon of music I have ever witnessed…
    Really.

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