Zoo Station: The Ultimate U2 Experience - Performing The Joshua Tree in its Entirety and Other Classics

Zoo Station: The Complete U2 Experience

The lights go down, it's dark and the soaring sound of a rock band bound for greatness collides with the low ceiling of a small club. It's like 1978 all over again, when U2 first stormed the pubs of Dublin, Ireland.

But this is the 21st Century in San Francisco, and the band is Zoo Station, a quartet that bills itself "The Complete U2 Experience." Since 2001, this talented force has delivered the visual, musical and spiritual thrill of a U2 concert to bars, clubs, outdoor festivals, private parties and corporate events along the West Coast of North America. Singer Bonalmost leads the show, flying high with the vocal strength and confidence of Bono's The Joshua Tree days. The Sledge showers thick layers of effectual guitar work over crowd as Adamesque on bass and Barely Larry on the drums deliver the pounding heartbeat of some of modern rock's most memorable songs.

The band's primary job is replication, but periodically Zoo Station innovates as much as it imitates. During their trademark full-album spotlight sets in which the band plays an entire U2 album from start to finish Zoo Station encounters such obscurities as "Elvis Presley and America," "Promenade," "Red Hill Mining Town" and "Acrobat," songs rarely or never performed live by U2.

"Songs like these are exciting," says Bonalmost. "All we can really do is ask ourselves, 'What would U2 have done onstage?'"
More familiar are melodies like "Pride (In The Name of Love)," "With or Without You," "Beautiful Day," and "Vertigo." Behind the band, a multi-media visual projection system elevates Zoo Station's performances to the highest level of virtual authenticity. Swirling abstract imagery appears behind the stage, interspersed with rapid-fire "U2-phemisms" and in-synch flashing light choreography. All are recognizable from U2 shows, and these visual effects, centerpieced by Bonalmost's lively theatrics, reflect Zoo Station's deep-set love of U2′s music and their commitment to fully recreating the dense emotional impact of a U2 concert.

Since day-one, when an earnest Craigslist posting sparked the band, Zoo Station has played over 450 shows and now flourishes a repertoire of more than 150 U2 songs. The sing-along radio hits appease casual listeners, while the most loyal U2 fans are wowed by the surprising depth and variety of the set list. Such thrilling rock and roll was made for vast arenas, one-acre stages and sky-high screens, and though U2 quit the bar scene in 1980, Zoo Station thrives there, doing what U2 no longer can: setting the smallest neighborhood pubs burning to life with a sound that has drowned out the world.

On any given Saturday night, this town has a bunch of indie discos playing Britpop, The Smiths, 90s Alternative, 80s Indie, etc. etc... The best of these clubs are amazing fun but the DJs are getting all the glory! Why don't any bands cover that sh*t live, and do the songs justice?!?

This essential question (which arose from several bar stool conversations) was the genesis of Bang On, the San Francisco Bay Area's Britpop, Indie and Classics tribute band.

We all had previous experience in bands and projects: writing songs, developing skills, playing endless weeknights and all the rest that goes along with being a musician trying to "make it". Wouldn't it be a blast to just play the cream of everyone's favorites from the Britpop era of the 90s, the mass of music that influenced that special time, and maybe some of the newer stuff that came out of it?

With these questions in mind, we built a set list of all amazing songs that you don't typically hear from a cover band on a Saturday night. There are plenty of radio hits in there, and also some songs that are familiar, but that you haven't heard in a while. Ultimately, they're all great songs from great artists, and we combine our years of musical experience into making them jump and pop live.

There are plenty of bands covering the 80s and 90s, cheesy and otherwise. In Bang On, we bring something different to the table. We are a tribute band, but we don't pay tribute to any single artist or group. We pay tribute to an era -- or maybe it's an idea -- where melody and attitude come together, and we do it like nobody else.

$15 adv / $20 door

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