Zammuto @ Schubas on 10/09/2012
Brothers Jared and Michael Bell performed as Lymbyc Systym at Schubas last Tuesday (10/9), opening for Zammuto. The duo's synth-driven instrumental music had an energy level and mood that fell somewhere between The Album Leaf and the night's headliners. Their lifelong experience has made them an extremely tight band, with the drums controlling dynamics while responding to the synthesizer melodies.
Zammuto guitarist Gene Back started "Groan Man, Don't Cry" with a hint of nervousness, but the song fell together as the rest of the band joined in. The band's projector screen seemed much grander on the Schubas stage than at The Chicago Theatre, making the car window videos for "Groan Man" more of a first person experience. They displayed how loose their rhythms can become despite the density of their music on "Shape of Things to Come." The projector came back on to show appropriate footage for the finger-skateboarding anthem "Too Late to Topologize." The bouncing synth line locked into the minimal drums as Nick Zammuto's voice was gratuitously auto-tuned.
Next, Nick made the most important announcement of the night - "This song is called 'Zebra Butt' and it's about zebra butts." Black and white striped horse asses flashed across the screen in between the lyrics of a programmed female rapper as the band jammed out and reveled in the song's weirdness. In our interview, he pointed out how "each [zebra butt] is like a fingerprint or a snowflake," and suggested that everyone Google Image Search the song title. I'll second that. You might even find Axl Rose, if you're lucky.
Drummer Sean Dixon displayed his impressive technical skills on a tasteful drum solo prior to a well-adapted cover of Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." They later covered Neil Young's "Don't Let It Bring You Down," which helped wrap up the show on an intimate note. The Books covers of the night included "Classy Penguin" and "Smells Like Content."
After "Yay," which Nick said was about "chronic back pain," though the matching video hints that it's about more than that (CoughTheBooksCough), he discussed how as a young band seeking financial stability they were reaching out for sponsorships. Given their lyrics and style, they felt health-related companies would work - you know, like Red Bull, Gatorade, and P90x. While none of those have panned out, he did share an "unofficial sponsorship" - The Stick, a semi-flexible rod that can be used for massaging yourself. They played a song which hilariously sampled the commercial's audio and video. They later played their version of "Battle Hymn of the Republic", which was much more agreeable than the first time I heard it. Not that they originally did a terrible job; it just doesn't quite fit in with the rest of their songs. From what I can tell, I'm mostly just conditioned to it now, especially since I understand Zammuto's silliness.
More pictures from the (10/9) Schubas show continue below...