It’s been a horrendous year for live music gigs, let alone starting a new band and getting all your performances cancelled before you’ve even started. Covid-19 meant that Muzz (supergroup featuring Paul Banks of Interpol, Josh Kaufman of Bonny Light Horseman and Matt Barrick of The Walkmen) were left releasing their debut album, but being unable to fulfil any touring commitments. However, not wanting to be defeated by the cursed year that is/was 2020, Muzz recorded their debut live performance at Reade’s Old Kingston Theatre in New York and showcased it in full on 4th December.
Over 200 people were already waiting for the livestream 20 minutes before it started. From the comments in the live chat, there were people watching from all corners of the Earth; Colombia, Paris, Barcelona, Slovenia, Helsinki and beyond. Like myself, this gig seemed to be others first, ticketed livestream.
There’s an odd sense of anticipation for the gig despite it being a prerecorded stream… It’s unique anyway, one person stated “This may be the only gig my cat attends, any other pets around?” and some people took it to another level of semi-seriousness, with comments such as “Did you try to steal the setlist?” and “I love that I FINALLY made it to the FRONT ROW!”.
Pre-gig Muzz did a 15 minute question and answer session with the crowd in the comment section, but it moved so fast I’m surprised they kept up with it! The gig started around 21:15 GMT with 634 people tuning in by that point. Muzz kicked off their set with ‘Evergreen‘ a humble intro that set the mood for their set. The warm colour scheme and haziness setting the performance was set in certainly fits the vibe of the tracks, melancholy with some colour.
“Welcome to Muzz for the computer…” exclaims Kaufman before the band kick into ‘Red Western Sky‘, a firm favourite from the record. The sublime saxophone parts (played by Stuart Bogie) add something special to the track, bringing it fully to life. Annie Nero’s harmonies also compliment the track perfectly (I’ve since discovered her album ‘Hysterical Fiction‘ and I highly recommend it if you like Muzz).
The band play a good chunk of their debut album and it really came to life in a live setting. Some of the tracks, especially ‘Everything Like It Used To Be‘ and ‘Summer Love‘ became even more magical as well. ‘Everything Like It Used To Be‘ also sees Paul on acoustic guitar, possibly for the first time in a live setting? Their set is closed by ‘All Is Dead to Me‘ and ends everything off with its epic outro. The intricacies across Muzz’s music really stand out in the live settings and the more haunting as well as heartfelt parts of the track become more prominent. This performance only solidifies the fact that Muzz’s debut album is packed full of exquisite slow-burners and tracks that get better with every listen. There isn’t a bad track played on the evening.
Some of the “crowd” seemed disappointed that the gig was only shown in 480p, but this didn’t bother me much. My only quibble regarding the actual recording is that it was quite choppy between tracks, with seconds of blank screen in places and it wasn’t exactly fluid. This aside, it was such a good gig/set of recordings that it’s a shame that it won’t be available longer than the 48 hour window for ticket holders. I’d definitely watch this again in the future if I could.
For a first live outing, this was a pretty impressive performance and it’s safe to say I’ll be seeing Muzz live if/when it’s possible and I suggest everyone else checks them out too. This live performance brings Muzz debut album to life, there’s so much depth to them and all the intricacies just pop live.
If you enjoyed Muzz’s debut album, they’ve released a covers EP today and it can be found here.
Keep up to date with Muzz on social media via the following links: