The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Mucca Pazza: deranged carnival men?

There’s a picture of me from the last time Mucca Pazza clanged through Gardner in 2009. I’m wearing what might be the biggest and goofiest of all possible grins, eyes wide, staring into the end of a trombone a hand’s breadth from my face. Suffice it to say: if you go to Mucca Pazza ready to dance, laugh, and rub shoulders with the equally engaged MANY members of the band, you can’t have a bad time.

One of the many members of Mucca Pazza, a self-described 'circus punk marching band' interacts with the audience during their show in Gardner Lounge in January 2009. Photograph taken by Lawrence Sumulong.

The four Freaks—on violin, mandolin, accordion, and guitar—four Saxophonists, four Trumpeters, four Bones, singular Sousaphonist, eight Percussionists and five Cheerleaders which comprise Mucca Pazza self identify as a “Punk Circus Marching Band.” Bringing what is as much a theatrical performance as a concert, Mucca Pazza intermingles with the audience and the cheerleaders especially are prone to demanding participation.

Behind the spectacle, Mucca Pazza’s sound is a probably best described as Beirut on a bad trip. If they weren’t so excited to play and so fun to play with, they’d be downright creepy—the hype-men for a deranged carnival. It’s even worth admitting that aside from certain outdoor spring festivities, Mucca Pazza’s music is good listening mostly in the context of their elaborate and hilariously fun performance. And after a spring spent touring the rust belt and on their third visit to Grinnell since 2006, the band knows Grinnellians can dance and will settle for nothing less than our sweatiest, silliest selves.

Mucca Pazza will play Saturday at 9 p.m. in Gardner lounge.

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