For those who like elaborate cluster-rock ensembles, the newly-formed Transatlantic Zodiac Ensemble is a welcome addition to the east coast live music circuit.
The Antigonish-born band formed last summer when Michael Dalton, Donald MacLennan, and Graham Scott came together in an impromptu appearance at a local bar. After a winter of working on their sound and recruiting other musicians, they’ve been up and running ever since. The group is fronted by Dalton’s guitar and vocals, MacLennan on violin and mandolin, Scott on Accordion, Martin Davidson adding saxophone, Ron Hynes on Bass and Steven Wilton on drums and percussion.
True to the “Transatlantic” theme, TZE’s sound is a delightful enmeshing of Yiddish klezmer, afro-beat, a smattering of whatever other folk sounds struck their fancy, all strung along on a contemporary indie sensibility for something that’s reminiscent of a mellower Gogol Bordello. That comparison ends though, with the vocals in the opening of Port Mouton Bay, where Dalton’s voice evokes some unexpected nostalgia for late ’90s Dispatch. Altogether, it’s a combo that promises high energy live shows.
The approaching end of the summer hasn’t slowed the band down at all, with a steady succession of maritime appearances that will keep them busy until September. TZE will be making stops on both the east and west coasts of Cape Breton, first at the Inverness Centre for the Arts on August 26, for a 9:00pm show, no age restriction. The next evening, TZE will make a stop at Governor’s pub in Sydney for a 10:00pm show for the 19+ crowd.