with Il Cattivo
12.31.10 | Gothic Theater
Around 9 p.m., the safety videos started up and it looked and sounded like something straight out of Wonder Showzen. Puppets and people in a gorilla and a robot costume interacted as they would on a warped, faux kids' show: surrealistic, vaguely or completely disturbing, and yet funny if you're in the right frame of mind. Perfect to break the ice, as it were, for this show.
Il Cattivo came on stage to the strains of the theme music from A Clockwork Orange -- fitting, given the group of miscreants who make up this group. Fronted by Brian Hagman, the five-piece also features guitarists Holland Rock-Garden and Matt Bellinger, Matty Clark on bass and Jed Kopp on drums.
Musically, it was as if a metal band decided to stop boring us to death and rock with much more freedom and dynamism. Same sounds we're used to, just used much more creatively and with guys in the band who play their instruments as though they're not fully in control. That and a gifted frontman who is never at a loss for compelling and creative body language, and who also seemingly sings and howls at the same time.
The dynamics were tight and tense as Clark and Kopp locked in together with a focused intensity, while Rock-Garden and Bellinger played off each other with speed, precision and raw energy. "Fresh" and "Weary Bones" were high points in the set, following one another at the end.