Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Catch this mad cow!

By Alex Rush

Mucca Pazza suffers from an identity crisis.

The coalition of 30 adult rock musicians act as if they’re still in a high school marching band: they sport letter jackets, shake pom-pons and wield brass instruments to blast out punk-style tunes.

“You won’t know what to expect from our music and shows, ever,” said guitarist and composer Jeff Thomas.

But instead of bringing its novelty act to a borough football field, Mucca Pazza will perform at the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg on Friday night.

So how will the wannabe marching band members utilize a stage, rather than a 100-yard long field? By darting around in random clumps, forgoing any traditional formations. Members even strap speakers to their traditional marching band hats and charge into the crowd in the fashion of an out-of-control parade.

“We go into the crowd to blur the lines between the stage and the audience,” Thomas said. “We like messing with the audience like that.”

The band, whose Italian name translates to “mad cow,” was formed by bandleader and composer Mark Messing in 2004. Originally made up of only brass instruments and drums, Mucca Pazza has since added guitars and other strings into the mix. The band tours nationally and plays dozens of songs that blend rock, punk, reggaeton, metal and yes, a march. In the past four year it’s released an EP — “A Little Marching Band” — and a full-length album — “Plays Well Together.”

Football season may not start until fall, but at least marching bands can rock out year-round.

Mucca Pazza at the Knitting Factory [361 Metropolitan Ave. at Havemayer Street in Williamsburg, (347) 529-6696], August 6, 9 pm. Tickets are $15. For info, visit


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