The auditorium in the modern art wing of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts was the perfect setting for the progressive, experimental music of Zammuto. The opening act, David Tanklefsky, was incredibly happy to be playing there with them. It was his birthday and he was asked by the band to play a mere hour and a half before the show started. Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to Tanklefsky before he started his set, which helped to set a light, friendly mood. Some of his songs recalled Fleetwood Mac, especially “Ice Cream Cone”, the guitar parts of which sounded similar to “Landslide”. His folkish music was sweet and enjoyable. He was a great guitarist, which was most evident on his instrumental song, “A Dog is Not a Human Being.”
Before Zammuto came on, they projected a timer onto a screen, counting down from two minutes. The entire crowd joined in the countdown once the clock hit ten seconds and then an explosion of drums and funky bass and guitar came in, the opening of “Groan Man Don’t Cry.” The video projector showed scenes of nature and open highway, as seen from the inside of a car. Many of the songs featured bizarre videos that worked very well in collaboration with the music. “Zebra Butt” had a video of different angles of a zebra’s body with special attention payed to the butt. “YAY”, a song about chronic back pain, showed clips of people with their hands on their lower backs, hunched over, faces screaming in silent agony and annoyance.
The music itself was very instrumental and synth-y. “Idiom Wind” was beautiful and had a building crescendo of string instruments towards the end. It was interspersed with clever lyrics like, “an educated man doing everything he can, which isn’t much because his education isn’t worth a damn.” “Shape of Things to Come” was filled with the sound of drums, chimes, keyboard and Zammuto’s distorted Autotune voice. All of the band members looked right at home on stage, almost as if they were playing for a group of friends. They even made a couple of mistakes during the set, and were very open and honest about it. For example, the video for “F U C-3P0” projected before the band was ready to start the song and it showed a Christmas tree burning down inside a house. Once the video was restarted, Zammuto joked, “Don’t forget to water your Christmas trees.”
The set ended with “The Classy Penguin” an old song of The Books, Zammuto’s former band, and “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. “The Classy Penguin” featured home videos of Zammuto and his brother, Mikey, when they were kids, which made for a nice homage to his family. “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was a perfect way to end the night. The band played the song along with a distorted, purposefully glitchy video of an old man playing “Battle Hymn” on the auto harp. In a way, the whole show was distorted and glitchy, owing to the experimental style of the music, but the distortion and oddness was what made it all so wonderful.