Live Review: Maserati, November 5, 2012 at Kung Fu Necktie (Philadelphia)

Stream: Maserati – “Earth Like”

Imagine yourself as a space pilot, having escaped from your robotic overlord jailers after being imprisoned for thought crimes. Commandeering a jet-powered motorcycle, you speed towards either certain freedom or certain death, dodging through the streets of a city seemingly made entirely of neon, as a sleek silver police copter hovers in pursuit. Jamming the throttle to full speed, you fly off of a dock, suspended for a moment in mid-air over a bay of crystalline liquid – turning for one well-placed shot from your pulse gun at your robot nemeses. As the helicopter crashes into a hovering fuel tanker, exploding in an incredible ball of orange flame, you land your cycle safely on a moving speedboat.

If such images were ever put on film, there could be no better soundtrack than the music of Maserati. The intense, pulsating beauty of their instrumental songs overtook and transformed a lazy Monday night at Philadelphia’s Kungfu Necktie into a dynamic experience. Having been a fan of Maserati since first seeing them open for The Appleseed Cast in 2003, I have been consistently blown away by every one of their records. The experience of seeing Maserati again nearly 10 years later, pounding through tracks from their incredible new record, Maserati VII, was like seeing a completely different band compared the more subdued performance I recalled.

Drummer Mike Albanese was front and center on stage, flanked by guitarists Coley Dennis and Tristan Wraight, and bassist Chris McNeal. The drumming of Albanese (who filled the vacant drum slot left by the late, great Jerry Fuchs) was likewise upfront, driving the beautiful cacophony of Maserati through peaks and valleys of sound with furious precision. The rhythmic stomp of McNeal’s pumping bass lines are simply impossible not to move to, dominating tracks like “We’ve Got The System To Fight The System” and the band’s new single, “Earth-Like.” The delay-soaked guitar work of Dennis and Wraight adds layers upon layers of depth to band’s sonic palette.

Maserati turns the typical rock n’ roll approach on its head: the bass and drum assault essentially taking a lead role, with the guitars at times shimmering beneath, only to soar overhead at devastating crescendos. If you’ve never experienced Maserati, I strongly encourage you to pick up their new record. Then see them live. It’s every bit as fun, destructive, intense, and gorgeous as any robot police chase you can imagine.

Maserati on tour
11/09/2012 – Columbus, OH – Tree Bar
11/10/2012 – Cincinnati, OH – Motr Bar
11/11/2012 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
11/12/2012 – Milwaukee, WI – Stone Fly Brewery
11/13/2012 – Champaign, IL – Cowboy Monkey
11/15/2012 – St. Louis, MO – Firebird

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