Home / Music / Concert Reviews / Mucca Pazza w/ John the Savage @ Stonefly Brewery

Mucca Pazza w/ John the Savage @ Stonefly Brewery

May 21, 2010

May. 24, 2010
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The Chicago-based brigade Mucca Pazza spread out through the Stonefly Brewery Friday night, dancing and playing their instruments, some wearing helmets with megaphones attached to the top to amplify the racket.  They wore mismatching high school band uniforms, many with giant fuzzy hats. Two cheerleaders jumped and shook pom poms. The band members then circled wagons in front of the stage, blasting their self-described “circus punk marching band” sound 360 degrees.

More musicians than seemed possible squeezed onto Stonefly’s stage, while the remaining members stood on the floor in front of it, keeping the enthusiastic crowd a trombone slide’s length away. Throughout the show, the band moved frequently. Sometimes the horn section would move to the back of the bar or make their way through the sweaty crowd. A cheerleader even found a temporary stage on the bar itself. For these festive numbers, the audience experienced a live version of “surround sound.”

All this motion and occasional instrument switching made it difficult to estimate how many people were in the group, but there were at least 20 percussion, trumpet, trombone, saxophone and guitar players, as well as an accordion, violin and tuba player. They played original material, with carnival and Arabian flavor. They also did covers, such as a piece by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich.

In a fun moment of crowd participation, one of the band members stood onstage and conducted the audience, making them crescendo and crash using hand gestures and facial expressions. The packed bar shouted “Mucca! Pazza!” until they got an encore. The first number was a pleasant waltz, to which the crowd swayed and waltzed along, and the second was the ’60s French pop hit "Laisse Tomber Les Filles" which translates as “Leave the Girls Alone,” also recorded under the title “Chick Habit.”

Locals John the Savage, a five-piece band with stand-up bass, accordion and a variety of percussion, opened with their punk sailor reels, at times similar in sound to Tom Waits.


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