Animal Liberation Orchestra's Zach Gill goes it alone during the fun-filled CD release party for his solo album, Stuff, last Sunday.
Paul Wellman

There seemed to be almost a transcendence of time and space at SOhO on Sunday night. Typically a difficult night to sell, often a challenging venue to fill, and despite the December chill and uncertainty of economic recession, Zach Gill and his guest players packed SOhO from wall to wall with bustling good vibes and an almost unreasonably cheery aura. Donning a fur hunting hat, Gill first took the stage solo for a short set before taking a slight break, encouraging concertgoers to go get a drink, and eventually returned with six additional friends who made up his band for the remainder of the evening.

Zach Gill (far right) and friends.
Paul Wellman

Outside, there were girls with hula hoops twirling in time to Gill’s bongo-led rhythm section, couples kissing, and, in certain areas, that old friendly concert “aroma” floating overhead. Meanwhile, everyone inside seemed to gravitate toward the stage in a giant swaying mass. This fluid style of movement easily could have been the theme of the evening; as Gill’s voice floated over the crowd, their reciprocated appreciation seemed to vibe right back.

Gill and his band played some music, too. Folks were kept dancing until well past midnight as he performed either by himself, or with anywhere between one and seven co-performers. At almost every point, the humor of his show (take, for example, Gill’s “Don’t Touch My Stuff”) seemed almost like a mash-up of Ween’s lyrics and Randy Newman’s piano parts. It was a complicated feat to pull off, but with smiles galore, it’s without question Gill did it and did it stunningly.

Zach Gill
Paul Wellman

The instrumentation on Sunday included the aforementioned bongo drums, backup singers, saxophones, ukuleles, guitars, a keyboard, and so much more, with Gill himself switching positions to play all these, as well as a fiddle. A brief encore was staged toward the end of the act, giving the band just long enough to gulp some water before returning to the stage. And, once there, a synthesized beat transformed itself into the delightfully hilarious “Legend of the Narwhal”-a perfect summation of Gill’s quirky style.


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