A couple of weeks ago I listened to Zammuto’s new album Anchor and gave it a generally favorable review. Okay, I’m lying. It’s an overwhelmingly positive review. Imagine following a promising band for a while and then finding that they’ve gotten everything right on their latest turn — it’s such a dramatically satisfying experience that you pretty much have to tell everyone about it.

Sticking on that thought of following a group for a while, I first saw Zammuto live a couple of years back when they were supporting their debut LP, and I had a chance to interview Nick, the leader of the pack. The group put on a great little set opening for Explosions In The Sky, but with the release of their sophomore album and subsequently growing audience, Zammuto arrived back in Los Angeles as headliners of a longer set at Silver Lake’s The Satellite. Like the wonderfully satisfying output of Zammuto’s second studio album, my second time seeing the group live delivered equal returns.

Zammuto Satellite 1
Photo by David Fisch

As was the case last time around, Zammuto had an interesting live setup at The Satellite, with two bandmates spread to each side of the stage (Nick and guitarist Nicholas Oddy on one, and Nick’s brother Mikey Zammuto and drummer Sean Dixon on the other). A projector sat in the middle, projecting imagery and video clips that would sync up with or accompany each performed song.

The visuals on screen were typically amusing rare finds that are owed to Nick’s penchant for thrift-store digging, such as VHS-quality infomercials for items simply called “The Stick” or stock images of people with chronic back pain. These played well with the more experimental tracks from Zammuto’s debut album, such as “YAY” or “F U C3PO,” where the eccentricities of both the audio and visual mediums met at the middle for a grin-inducing experience.

That isn’t to say the tracks from the more-subdued Anchor didn’t produce the same result. The slow-burner “Sinker” was met with stoic imagery of the snowy scenery of the recording studio shack that graces the album cover and sits outside Nick’s house in Vermont, and “IO,” with its Devo-esque synth-pop construction, married splendidly with video of a freshly-built catapult being used to hurl whatever needed to be metaphorically or physically released from this Earth.

Experiencing Zammuto’s new material live was as impressive as listening to it through headphones, particularly the more instrumentally-challenging tracks, including “Hegemony,” where Sean Dixon was put to the jazz-fusion test with switching time signatures and tempo changes, or the album’s digital bonus track, “Code Breaker,” with its intricate guitar noodling and groove-heavy bass.

On that note, every one of Zammuto’s members played with a grand virtuosity and musicianship that was easy to admire. Oddy owned every one of his guitar parts to the point of almost showing off, particularly during “Tokyo,” an original track by Nick’s previous band The Books, which proved the man is some kind of guitar wunderkind. “Zebra Butt” and the aforementioned “F U C3PO” highlighted Mikey’s control over catchy and wild basslines, and, of course, Nick’s antics behind the mic, keyboard, and additional instruments strung the entire thing together for a captivating hour of music.

The set once again ended with “The Greatest Autoharp Solo Of All Time,” which introduced the audience to a chopped-up Bryan Bowers video that allowed the band to perform a hefty cover of “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic.” It ended the show appropriately, capping off a showcase of fun, inspired musicianship and a “Goose-nado” (you’ll just have to attend one of their shows to find out what that is).

Zammuto is forging a name for themselves with their experimental tendencies, and their current productions are whole and realized, backed by incredible live performances. Their headlining show at The Satellite was well-deserved.

For more info:

Zammuto’s Official Website