Live Review: Maserati/Beware of Safety

My first exposure to Maserati came when they opened for Mono a few years back. I had no idea who they were or what their deal was, but as soon as they kicked into their post-rock-meets-80s-motorik groove, I was sold. In fact, compared to them, Mono were positively soporific. I’ve made a point to try to catch them whenever they’ve come through since.
Their show on March 5 was the second time I had seen them at the Satellite in Echo Park – well, the first time it was still called Spaceland, but it’s not like anything changed about the venue other than the name. It was still half bar and half venue, not the best ventilated place, but hey, at least there were barstools you could sit on. The crowd was pretty sparse when I rolled in towards the end of Arms of Tripoli’s set, a fact not lost on the mellow post-rockers. They seemed to take the nonexistent crowd reaction with good humor, but that’s about all I remember of their set.

Beware of Safety

The place had filled in some for Beware of Safety (who feature my former roommate, Morgan Hendry, on drums and sampler, although this was my first time seeing them because apparently I’m a dick). This was mustachioed guitarist Steve Molter’s second performance back with the band after suffering a stroke last year, but the rustiness didn’t show at all. They also prefer their rock to be of a post variety, starting off slow and building in classic fashion to a cataclysmic blur by the end. Dudes also had some of the biggest effects boards I’ve ever seen, wires draped all over the floor of the stage like the snakes in the temple from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Maserati 2

No matter how big the boards, though, there was no way that any opening act could live up to Maserati. That band hit the stage running, blasting through an exquisite collection of songs from 2007’s Inventions for the New Season through to last year’s VII. The crowd definitely looked into it – there were even girls dancing! How often do you see that at shows that this magazine covers? The electronic elements that make up such a huge part of their sound were done with backing tracks and samplers, but that didn’t take away from the amazingly energetic performance. After the machines ran through the intros, the four organic band members nailed the rest.

Courtesy of Clint Mayher

New drummer Mike Albanese especially impressed, covering late drummer Jerry Fuchs’ parts and reproducing his work from the new record perfectly. The guy got some of the craziest use out of a four piece drum kit I’ve ever seen; I mean, he sounded like Neil Peart on a setup the dude from Zeke would use. Hunched over the snares the whole time, dripping with sweat, self-flagellating with the drumsticks, keeping a merciless beat – I’m surprised he didn’t pass out after an hour of that.

Maserati 4

It was a groove you could lose yourself in the entire time, getting caught up in the melody and the beat and the sheer energy. Although most of the crowd probably had to work the next morning, if they had as much adrenaline pumping through them as I did, I guarantee it wasn’t easy falling asleep after that.

I couldn’t find any videos from this particular show, but here’s a treat from last year just to give you an idea of their sheer power.