The Zombies The Mod Club, Toronto, ON July 15

The Zombies The Mod Club, Toronto, ON July 15
The best way to describe Colin Blunstone comes courtesy of Dennis Hopper: so fuckin' suave. Sporting only a bit of gut beneath his dark suit, the 64-year-old moves like a man a third of his age and sounds as though he's never smoked a cigarette in his life.

Showcasing the surprising power of Blunstone's decades-old pipes, the Zombies - the reunited '60s psych-pop legends behind such downright classic pieces of work as "Time of the Season," "She's Not There" and Odessey and Oracle - opened their Mod Club show with "I Love You." Chief songwriter Rod Argent, still master of the Hammond, banged out solo after famous solo with the zeal of a kid from St. Albans School and with the skill of a prog-tested professional. Looking like a mix between Nigel Tufnel and Kevin Ayers (this is a good thing), he doubled as charming MC.

The band was eager to please but far from desperate. They breezed through crowd-pleasers, introduced a couple of new tracks with unnecessary apologies and banged out two tunes by Argent (Rod's post-Zombies band) with heart-warming earnestness. Blunstone sang along and disappeared like a good sport when it was Rod's time to shine.

There are only two ways to make it as a reinvigorated rock act of old: forget the past and do your own, elegant thing (think Nick Lowe), or do the same thing very, very well. The Zombies of 2009 - featuring Blunstone, Argent, Jim Rodford (founding Zombie, member of Argent, former Kink and cousin of Rod) on bass, his son Steve on drums and Keith Airey on guitar - have the latter category in spades. The girls are still screaming, and the ever-humble band seems genuinely touched by the reaction they still inspire.