Wayward Council is a small, rectangular space, with nary a stage or separation between band and audience. To put it in perspective, a track athlete could probably jump from one side to the other in a single bound, and the place would be hard-pressed to fit the length of a bowling lane, going the other way. And the lone bathroom is actually at the back of the room, right behind the drum kit, so ain’t no one going when a band is performing. Although the atmosphere of the show was intimate to the point of Kindergarten story time, the sound of the room didn’t quite suit the beautifully expansive songcraft of Zillionaire. Their music needed room to breathe, like a good red wine.
That structural gripe aside, however, it was a rewarding set to soak up, as the proof of the music was not affected.
First off, the order of songs was excellent. They began with the sighing/slow-tightening tug of war “I Won’t Let You Down (This Time)”, which christens their debut album The Street Lights Have Been Turned Down. Vocalist/rhythm guitarist Heath Dupras, singing in a somewhat emotionally detached voice, ordered someone to “load their shotgun”, and “make sure its loaded, you don’t want to miss this chance”. Then, he capped it off by noting “I won’t miss you, but I’m sure someone will.”
It’s hard not to use Gravenhurst as a reference point here, due to the words and mood of the song. The same for goes for the track “Three Ghosts”, which had the crowd rapt. Both bands have a knack for utilizing macabre lyrics to hurl already overcast accompaniments into pitch black depths. Unlike Gravenhurst, however, Zillionaire songs tend to have cheerier second halves, and sunnier moods in general. As dark as “I Won’t Let You Down (This Time)” and “Three Ghosts” began, the endings proved optimistic.