Monster Zero Orchestra with the Method and Result
Thursday, April 7
I will always remember April 7 as a sad day for the Indy music scene, as that was the date of possibly the last ever Indianapolis performance of the Monster Zero Orchestra.
Bandleader and writer/arranger Koven Smith is moving to New York, and while he plans on setting up a new MZO out east, the logistics of touring with a band whose membership has ranged from nine to 18 members are going to make going on the road difficult.
Spiritually, the Monster Zero Orchestra is related to Don Ellis and mid-’70s Frank Zappa for the way they bridge the gap between experimental rock and jazz. It is hard to think of too many other bands that could have opened for Fugazi and played the jazz clubs with the same ease as the MZO. Musically, the band always kept things concise enough for the rock crowd and complex enough for the jazzers.
If a band has to play a farewell performance, they could not have asked for one better than the one the MZO delivered at the Melody Inn. Having seen the band several times over the years, I have to say this final version of the group was possibly the best incarnation yet. The players navigated the arrangements flawlessly, played some blistering solos and, in short, tore the roof off. Even those of us who knew what to expect were a little stunned with how on top of their game the MZO sounded.
Opener the Method and Result came from Philadelphia and, despite some technical difficulties, played a spirited set of indie-tronica. The band’s style is an interesting combination of electronics, rock guitar and upright bass wrapped around some solid songwriting. While the muddy sound caused some of their elements to get lost in the mix, the Method and Result provided a nice contrast to the Monster Zero Orchestra and contributed positively to what was a fantastic evening of music.