When: Thu., July 12, 12 p.m. 2012
On its recent third album, Safety Fifth (Electric Cowbell), Mark Messing's schizophrenic marching band does its best job yet capturing the manic energy and aesthetic sprawl of its live show. The album consists entirely of original material by Mucca Pazza personnel, and these folks love Raymond Scott-style jump cuts: many of the songs leap from tango to funk to Balkan brass to imaginary cop-show themes, with a million other stops in between. Electric guitarist Jeff Thomas—one of four "freaks," as the group calls members who don't play horns or percussion—slashes through the driving brass arrangements with twangy, sinister licks that recall Dick Dale, the spaghetti-western scores of Ennio Morricone, and 60s punk. Safety Fifth is a hoot, but it still pales next to the spectacle that is Mucca Pazza in the flesh. —Peter Margasak This set is part of Taste of Chicago; today's music starts at noon. 6:40 PM, Bud Light Stage, Grant Park.