Zebra December 28, 2019 @ The Rail Club Live in Fort Worth, Texas

Longevity and a consistent lineup. Those are two factors for a respectable career in the music industry. One such exemplar would be Zebra, the highly respected North American trio originating in Louisiana but eventually relocated to New York.

The members, Randy Jackson, Felix Hanemann and Guy Gelso have been creating music since 1975, a rarity in today’s music industry. Currently though, Gelso resides in Louisiana with Jackson and Hanemann taking residency in New York.

When asked if the distance between the trio has anything to do with the band member consistency, Jackson responded with a laugh, We’re all Democrats.”

Randy Jackson of Zebra during the band’s recent performance at the Rail Club Live in Fort Worth.
Photo by: Brian McLean

As Zebra enters 2020, the demand for the band remains high even though there’s not a label in the picture. The band already has a steady stream of dates booked for January and February with more to come.

On a recent weekend visit to Texas, the band a setup shop for a Friday night show in Houston. The following night, Zebra took to the roomy and well-lit stage at the Rail Club Live in Fort Worth where they closed out their run of December shows.

For their show at the recently revived and significantly upgraded Rail Club Live, the band delivered a lengthy set that pleased the Zebra faithful. The band utilized material from their self – titled debut, 3.V and IV releases to do so.

Fans heard debut classics such as “Tell Me What You Want,” “Who’ Behind the Door” as well as “Time,” “Better Not Call” and “About To Make The Time” from 3.V but there was much more.

The Rail Club audience sporting vintage concert and DFW radio station shirts and denim vests adorned with heavy metal patches from the day were treated to the favorites. They heard “Take Your Fingers From My Hair,” “The La La Song,” “Arabian Knights” and many crowd pleasers during the night.

To the surprise of the audience, Zebra launched into and delivered ripping version of Montrose’s “Rock Candy” that featured Hanemann on lead vocals. The cover revved the swaying and rocking audience as the night was closing out. Even patrons in the barricaded VIP section in front of the stage were soaking up every heavy thumping and pounding note of the 1973 Montrose classic.

Felix Hanemann of Zebra during the band’s recent performance at the Rail Club Live in Fort Worth.
Photo by: Brian McLean

As for the version of “Rock Candy”, Hanemann said the song’s been in the set for a long time.

The only downside for the night, material from their sophomore effort No Tellin’ Lies was absent, specifically “Bears” and “Lullaby”. For that, Jackson was apologetic for being under the weather. He simply stated after the show, “I am sick.”

The true veteran that he is, Jackson delivered and gave 100 % plus effort. For the illness that was creeping on the vocalist / guitarist, he won the battle and the crowd reactions through the night was evidence. There was not a disappointment in sight.

There’s more though to each member of Zebra talent wise. Jackson shows plenty of love not only to his guitar but his 12-string guitar which he utilized throughout the night. Hanemann delivers not only on his bass and vocals but on keyboards as well. It adds another dimension to a Zebra show. Just mix in Gelso’s healthy and hard drum solo midway through the set as demonstrated during “The La La Song”

He’s just a beast.

Guy Gelso of Zebra during the band’s recent performance at the Rail Club Live in Fort Worth.
Photo by: Brian McLean

Even though the band’s latest full-length studio effort Zebra IV was released 2003 through Mayhem Records, the band’s discography in varying formats can be located in the wild. Whether vinyl, cassette or CD, studio of live release, it’s worthwhile to break open the wallet thus adding Zebra to the music collection or just upgrading current formats.

Zebra and their set at The Rail Club illustrated just how timeless their music has become. Zebra live is not a night of nostalgia but a testament to their talent and magic. Each classic note and riff has been well earned. It’s a reason why their music and live reputation has stood the test of time.

Randy Jackson of Zebra playing the 12 string guitar during Who’s Behind the Door.
Photo by: Brian McLean