Who is ZOX? I was wondering the same
thing until they came to perform at RIT.
An indie band that is signed on to Side One
Dummy Records, ZOX has traveled all over the
world and has had over ten songs featured on
MTV’s Real World, Road Rules, and Maui Fever.
Featuring Eli Miller on vocals and guitar,
Dan Edinberg on bass, Spencer Swain on violin,
and John Zox (no prizes for guessing from where
they got their band name) on drums, ZOX got
together in 2002 while they were students at
Brown University in Rhode Island. What makes
ZOX so unique (apart from the lyrics) is its violin
player, who rocks out not only as hard, but harder
than anyone else. A few tours and three CDs
later, the band has managed to attract a decent
following online and around the world.
The Rhode Island natives came to the RITz on
March 21st as part of CAB’s Friday Night at the
RITz event series. ZOX opened with an upbeat
song to get the audience moving, and kept up
the momentum throughout the entire show.
Crowd participation jumped to a whole different
level from making the audience clap,
sing along, or dance, to even serving the band
members drinks. When Miller asked the crowd
to get the band beers, a few loyal audience
members actually fulfilled Miller’s request,
passing the beers to the front and leaving
some on the side of the stage. In all honesty,
I thought it was weirdly cool yet slightly conceited
when ZOX paused their set for a quick
second while they quenched their thirst for alcoholic
For one night, the RITz gave the vibe of a small,
stinky bar that 16-year-olds sneak in to see their
favorite band (of course, without the 16-year-olds).
There was no surprise that there were
a few mosh pits, body surfers, and groupies.
The only problem was that it was in the RITz,
full of B.O. and the fear of being sucked into the
widening mosh pits, but even that could not
ruin my impression of the band.
One thing that stood out about ZOX was their
lyrics. In one song called “Caroline,” Miller sings,
“Sometimes love can be so / sometimes love can be
so lonely / sometimes love can be so / sometimes
love leaves you alone.” The songs have layers and
layers of meaning complemented by sounds,
pitches, and melodies from the band.
What I liked about ZOX was their devotion and
connection to their fans. ZOX knows that they
aren’t anything without their fans, and makes
sure to please their audience the best way
they possibly can. “All I could see was the first
row, but it was enough for me,” said Edinburg,
referring to the crowd. After numerous requests
from the crowd and screams for an encore,
ZOX performed “Eventually,” a crowd favorite,
with dim lighting and acoustic sounds,
creating an intimate atmosphere. It was far
easier for the band to connect to their audience.
The Rhode Island natives stepped on crates
so that the people in the back could see them
rock out, and made themselves available to
fans after the show for autographs, pictures,
and small conversation. Their devotion to their
fans is clearly one reason they have such a large
If you would like to know more about ZOX or listen
to their music, you can check out their website at