Concert Review // ZZ Ward @ The Opera House

ZZ WardOn Saturday, October 5, ZZ Ward brought her American bluesy country rock to Toronto’s Queen Street East, and despite the congestion from Nuit Blanche, she drew in a remarkably large crowd.

On the annual night of art (and beer, and drugs), the downtown core was a mangled mass of people, cars, and public transportation. It was almost impossible to travel between Bathurst and Bay, and if you insisted on trying, you had to be prepared to sit in the streetcar for 45 minutes more than you anticipated, or be prepared to pay tooth and nail for a cab ride that circumnavigated the entire city in order to get you where you needed to go.

Regardless, the Opera House was popping, so to speak.

First off, ZZ Ward knew how to work her crowd, catering to her demographic flawlessly. She appeared Amy Winehouse-esque, with the same bluesy attitude and jazzy ensemble band, and onstage she was clearly in her element, enjoying herself immensely.

Halfway through her set, after continuous communication with her audience, she mentioned “being bad is so much fun sometimes,” but it was obvious that regardless of her bad girl rep, no matter how incredibly tough of a person she is, she displayed herself to her audience in such an open an honest way, using the crowd as therapy.

I can definitely see how the band appeals to a demographic of brokenhearted people, with an Etta James inspired song on acoustic guitar permeating the room with sexy tension.

There was even some Nelly Furtado in her inflections and vocal range. With such successful and powerful women behind her sound, it seems there’s only a matter of time before a ZZ Ward concert draws more attention than Nuit Blanche. Of course, that time is variable. It’s up to chance or timing or luck for this band to reach critical acclaim. For Nelly Furtado, that meant “going pop” and collaborating with Timbaland. For Winehouse this meant drug addiction. ZZ Ward could undoubtedly go another route and achieve success, and I’m positive she can, but only with time. It will be exciting to see where ZZ Ward ends up.

Emily Fox | @foxyfoxe

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