Mike Watt & the Missingmen at the Larimer Lounge, with Il Cattivo and Lion Sized, 4/22/11
Tom Murphy Mike Watt & Missingmen
With Il Cattivo and Lion Sized
04.22.11 | Larimer Lounge
There are a small handful of bands that would have been great openers for a show like this, and Il Cattivo and Lion Sized are two of them. The former started off the show with a crashing squall that formed into raging slabs of sound punctuated by frontman Brian Hagman's signature caterwaul. Conveying a sense of harrowing desperation with his voice is something at which Hagman excels.
Tom Murphy Il Cattivo
Il Cattivo doesn't skimp on the energy, but it also doesn't feel the need to overdo things. Everyone in the band is a veteran of a wide range of musical flavors, and so Il Cattivo is able to write songs with fluid dynamics from loud to quiet, without just turning on the crushing heaviness and then off, as would be the case with a less experienced band. The group ended with a song that allowed Holland Rock-Garden to display a knack for dreamy expansiveness contrasted with Matt Bellinger's prowess with providing tension, texture and drive on guitar. Adept at outrage, introspection and the transmogrification of psychic anguish, Il Cattivo played a set that was ever captivating.
Tom Murphy Lion Sized
Lion Sized doesn't play a lot of shows these days, so it's easy to miss those that happen. Early in its existence, Lion Sized seemed to be driven by a nervy energy. But at this point, it was interesting to see how that energy has been channeled into an intentional but never stiff, angular melodicism that has opened up the songwriting a bit more in terms of the group's dynamic range.
Instead of all instruments seeming to compete with one another, this band has clearly mastered the art of working together toward the same purpose in a conscious way. If anything, the material that could be found on the group's latest EP was reminiscent of Devo, if those guys had played a lot faster and tried to be more of a rock band than whatever it is that you'd call what Devo does, exactly. Perhaps a fusion of Devo's rhythmic creativity and Drive Like Jehu's overt aggression. Lion Sized has always been a good band, but this show revealed an expertly nuanced side of its sound.