It’s tricky doing a live show when you’re a new band. It’s also tricky if you’re an electronic, largely vocal-less outfit, like Nick Zammuto’s new group, Zammuto. Then add in being the first opener at an outdoor space, playing while it’s still light out? It’s a recipe for unimpressive. Yet at Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Park (QRO venue review) on Thursday, September 27th, Zammuto easily won the crowd’s favor by putting it all up on screen.
Now, while Zammuto only has one album under their belt, this year’s self-titled release, Nick Zammuto was previously one-half of The Books, who put out four records in the prior decade that we never named, but after 2010’s The Way Out he jumped to the back of the alphabetical line as Zammuto. Touring as opener to another solo act/band, the blew-up Gotye (QRO live review with Zammuto), Zammuto was relegated to playing while it was still light out thanks to insertion of Givers (QRO photos from the show) in between.
But thankfully it wasn’t so bright out as to obscure the projection screen. Gotye has been touring with one (QRO photos from this show), but it was Zammuto who took full advantage of it. For the second song of his only eight-song set, "Too Late To Topologize", Nick introduced it by saying that it was, "A song about finger skateboarding" – and before you could ask, "What is ‘finger skateboarding’?", tape of it was played behind the band as they played. But that was just intro for the excellent medley of words & zebra butts on screen for the following "Zebra Butt", "A song about zebra butts…" – as in, "You’re at the back of the line / Like a zebra butt". Zammuto also had their excellent commercial break song – "We’re a young band, an we can’t just make money selling CDs, so we have to take commercial sponsorships like energy drinks and massage aids like this, The Stick…" There was also a song about chronic back pain, "Yay", and they closed with "The Greatest Autoharp Solo of All Time, a.k.a. The Battle Hymn of the Republic".
Zammuto’s electronic sound had a decidedly funky edge live, and the lack of pretentiousness all around worked very well. It can be hard for a young band to make an impression live, especially an electronic one outdoors, opening up while it’s still light out, but Zammuto put it all on stage & on screen.