Maserati brought their Giorgio Moroder/Jan Hammer influenced brand of hard rock to Kung Fu Necktie with like minded souls Steve Moore, and Psychic Paramount, also on the bill. But this line-up of three instrumental “rock” acts was a true study in contrasts despite the complete absence of vocal mics all evening (Well, almost complete - does that Talk Box count?).
New York’s Psychic Paramount shares a classic guitar/bass/drums line-up with Maserati (as well as a love for looped keyboards) but their sound is decidedly more noisy and aggressive. Bassist Ben Armstrong seemed to be wrestling with his instrument at times, and I swear, in the end, the bass won. Guitarist Drew St. Ivany stuck to high frequencies, spraying out an array of squeals and scratches in order to be heard over the bottom-end din. And just when I thought neither band, nor audience, could withstand the sonic onslaught much longer, it was over.
Maserati, however, were never in danger of overheating. Their sound is carefully controlled and measured. Often described as evocative of a late night drive on an empty highway, it is easy to succumb to its hypnotic power when in the right frame of mind. This was just the second show of their tour in support of their new album, Pyramid of the Sun, and their first shows with new drummer A.E. Paterra (one half of Pittsburgh-based duo Zombi). Paterra was front and center on stage, and in the soundscape. He was spot on all night, even if he occasionally had that ‘new guy’, deer-in-the-headlights look on his face. Guitarists Matt Cherry and Coley Dennis rely on their delay boxes like metal bands rely on their distortion pedals; they are an integral part of the Maserati sound. Between Paterra’s powerful attack, the incessant interlocking guitar lines, and bassist Chris McNeal's propulsive riffs, this was rock n’ roll with considerable booty-shaking appeal. It’s a shame so few attendees at Kung Fu felt the urge to dance to the grooves being laid down.
Steve Moore, the other half of Zombi, started the evening with 30 minutes of pulsing mood music played on vintage wood-paneled synths. Sounding like nothing less than the soundtrack to a long lost Dario Argento film, it was equal parts pretty and haunting, but not something you really need to experience live to enjoy to the fullest.