Mucca Pazza at Downtown Sound | Live review
Finding my usual spot at Millennium Park Monday for Downtown Sound, I was enjoying the gorgeous weather while noshing on cheese and crackers until a thunderous snare drum startled the crowd. Slowly, cheerleaders in lime-green marching-band attire began to appear from behind trees with shredded yield strips as pleated skirts. Then came the freaks, weaving through the crowd, stopping to greet children and patrons alike. Some audience members were amused, others frightened, yet most were wide-eyed with wonder. The trombones and trumpets followed in procession. Blips and screeches from the various instruments began to build and blend into a melody as the 30 members of this "circus punk marching band" gathered on stage. Cheerleaders raised their pom-poms. "Give me an F, a L and a Y!" they screamed as they twirled on stage.
At first the crowd seemed skeptical. I was a bit, too. I was expecting a disjointed and frantic performance but was proven wrong. Mucca Pazza kept its act tight, to near perfection. Mucca Pazza orchestration includes accordion, violin, mandolin, electric guitar, clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, bari sax, trumpets/mellophone, trombones, sousaphone, marching snare drums, bass drum, concert tom, crash cymbals, glockenspiel and other various percussive instruments. As trumpets, horns and bells undulated through the pavilion, the performers rose and fell like tidal waves into a tapestry of orchestral sound. If you were to sit in the far back stretch of grass, allowing only your ears to guide you through, you might think you were walking through a circus in a delusional state. Although if you were daring enough to approach the stage, you would find yourself captivated. Even if you are the hipster who stands arms crossed tightly with a smug and suspicious expression, your stoicism will break down and you'd end up cheering along, uninhibited. Catch Mucca Pazza on August 16 at Lincoln Hall with headliner Daniel Knox.