Last year, German bluesrockers Zodiac released their third full album Sonic Child. Having absolutely loved the record, I was pretty stoked when I heard a live album was on the way. And frankly, it has turned out to be a solid introduction for people who haven’t heard of Nick Van Delft and his fellow musicians.
Taking a quick look at the tracklist, it sure seems like most of the essential Zodiac tracks from the first three albums are present. With a simple “Guten Tag” before starting opener ‘Swinging On The Run’, singer/guitarist Nick Van Delft comes greeting. Even though you already know, it’s still quite the shock the guys are actually German. His warm, emotional yet totally accentfree voice is just a big part of Zodiac’s strength.
Heavy, uptempo songs such as ‘Free’ or ‘Holding On’ are alternated with slower ones like the spine-chilling ‘Rock Bottom Blues’. In between there’s the intense trip that is Neil Young’s ‘Cortez The Killer’. Not unlike Ol’ Neil, Van Delft seems to possess the gift of touching his audience without overdoing the guitar tricks. There’s some room for improvisation, but listening to the record, it’s pretty hard to imagine the frontman losing himself in Van halen-style acrobatics.
Some of their very best work has yet to come though. The Led Zeppelinesque ‘Penny And A Dead Horse’ was chosen to be the first single off Sonic Child and so it couldn’t be skipped. Honestly, it would have been a shame if it were. Last of the ten songs is an extended version of ‘Coming Home’, the song that can be found closing their 2012 debut A Bit Of Devil. With their first live effort, Zodiac definitely prove to be worthy of a place among their generation’s great blues rockers such as Bonamassa or Rival Sons.