Zolita performed the first show of her first ever headlining tour at Songbyrd Music House on February 18th. It was eminently clear that she already possessed the confidence and stage presence of an artist that has been doing this forever. Songbyrd was sold out, and had been almost as soon as the tickets went on sale.
The tour started shortly after the release of her newest alternative pop EP, Falling Out / Falling In (via AWAL) released on February 10th. On stage, she was accompanied by a drummer and a guitarist, both wearing matching white suits. A strange symbol adorned the wall behind the stage, in fact it was a symbol that Zolita has tattooed on her wrist, and represents ‘sisterhood and divine female energy’, in the form of four female signs surrounding two crescent moons.
Zolita set off on her 15-song journey with the song “I Fucking Love You”, about the trepidation and joys of committing to someone.
Later she played three songs that she labeled as ‘My Ex Series’, starting with “Crazy Ex” and “Drunk With Your Exes”, both from Falling Out / Falling In. In the end, she performed all six songs from the new EP.
Most of her songs are about the end of relationships, some of them toxic. In these tales of love, loss and dealing with ex-girlfriends, she is so gregarious onstage that you are in her corner immediately. You can hear the pain or the joy in each silvery note of her lyrics.
Zolita (Zoë Montana Hoetzel), born in NYC and raised in California, self-released her first EP in 2015 (Immaculate Conception), and reached viral success on TikTok with the music video for “Explosion”, a song she didn’t perform at Songbyrd. The only track she performed from Immaculate Conception, “Holy”, came midway through the set. A slower song about, surprise!, elevating love to the level of holiness.
After “Holy”, Zolita exited the stage for a costume change, giving the guitarist a chance to shred a superb solo, much to the delight and encouragement of the crowd. Zolita returned, having traded her glittery body suit (also having previously shed her full length black leather jacket), for what may have been a school uniform (see photo) with a black jacket. This ensemble more closely matched her band mates.
In the second song after returning, Zolita called up someone in the crowd named Ashley, and they both sat in chairs as Zolita performed “Ashley”, an earnest plea for a love we all deserve, written for her childhood girlfriend. She spoke a bit, I didn’t quite catch the full explanation of this tableau, but she confided that ‘she would have benefited from a song like this growing up’, and the gist was a contest winner got to be serenaded by Zolita on stage. We will call that a win.
Zolita also created a trilogy of viral music videos (which she referred to as ‘The Trilogy’ during the show).”Somebody I Fucked Once”, “Single In September”, and “I Fucking Love You”, all follow the story of a high school cheerleader falling for an outsider named Gia before prom, where they meet again five years in the future. “Single In September” is the second song in The Trilogy, and its chorus is a shout to the rafters, goosebumps generating banger, leaving the more energetic in the crowd breathless from dancing. These younger Zolita aficionados were having a blast the whole time – they’ll need to work on their cardio for the next Zolita concert.
She ended the main set with “20 Questions”, another dance worthy song that was met with rowdy cheers, about grilling an Ex about their new lover, obviously.
The encore was “Somebody I Fucked Once”, the opening gambit of The Trilogy, and still no one was ready for the show to end. But we all had one last dance in us and Zolita radiated one last round of dynamism for the chorus, ‘Probably shouldn’t tell you this, but fuck it, here’s my confession, I’m kinda hooked on you.’ And the feeling from the crowd was mutual.
If you haven’t listened to Zolita yet, do yourself a favor and give Falling Out / Falling In a listen immediately. Aside from being a great concert, musically and visually, this show will be hard to dislodge from my top concerts list in 2023’s concert roundup (whenever I write it), even though we still have over 10 months left. Lastly, I do love the brashness of including the word ‘Fuck’ in song titles, and fuck Spotify for using an asterisk in ‘F*ck’.
- I Fucking Love You
- Shut Up and Cry
- Crazy Ex
- Drunk With Your Exes
- Evil Angel
- Come Home With Me
- Ruin My Life
- Orchard St.
- For the Both of Us
- Single In September
- Before He Cheats (Carrie Underwood cover)
- 20 Questions
- Somebody I Fucked Once
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