(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Zammuto, the nom de bande of the art-rock genius Nick Zammuto, performs in the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA on Saturday, March 21, 2015, at 8pm, joined by special guest Gotye, the Belgian-Australian international music sensation who already has three Grammy Awards to his credit, including Record of the Year for the 2013 hit, “Somebody That I Used to Know.”
From his days as a founding member of luminary art rockers the Books to his equally arresting and madcap work as a solo artist, the imagination of Nick Zammuto is boundless. The Books disbanded in 2012, but fortunately for critics and fans far and wide, that wasn’t the last we heard of intellectual eccentric and local favorite Nick Zammuto.
Distraught Books fans craving a cerebral, zany musical fix found solace in Zammuto’s thoughtfully-formed four-piece eponymous band, whose distinctive sound fully retains the madcap, spirited, and homespun vibes that earned the Books a devoted following. A structural departure from the conceptual, expertly-assembled mishmash of audio and visual samples that defined the Books, Zammuto’s sound favors a far more cohesive and conventional style, bolstered by impeccable musicianship that incorporates keyboard, vocals, and strings – still accompanied by self-styled auteur video shows.
As a group, Zammuto continues to evolve, throwing curveballs at their audience with each new release, and earning diverse comparisons from critics, which span from the Postal Service to Phoenix to Dirty Projectors to Andrew Bird. In concert, captivated crowds move to the band’s energetic sets of experimental, electronic rock played against projected backgrounds of charmingly wacky video footage, a Books-era practice that lives on in Zammuto. Often more instrumental than vocal, Zammuto’s inventive lyrics explore universal concerns spanning from family and happiness to the stress of chronic back pain. During performances, the group often takes a break from performing their own music to treat audiences to facetious musical skits, covers from the likes of Paul Simon, and more.
Nick Zammuto’s journey as a professional musician began in New York City in 1999 when he and cellist Paul de Jong formed the Books. The Books released four critically acclaimed studio albums before disbanding. Nick Zammuto has released two solo albums, 2000’s “Willscher” and “Solutiore of Stareau” in 2001.
In 2012, he released his first album with his four-piece group, titled “Zammuto.” The group followed up in 2014 with “Anchor.” The band currently consists of Nick Zammuto on guitar, vocals and keyboard; his brother Mikey Zammuto on bass; Sean Dixon on drums; and Nick Oddy on electric guitar and bass.
A Massachusetts native and graduate of Williams College, Nick Zammuto lives in rural Vermont with his wife and three young children. When the band isn’t on tour, he records in a converted tractor garage.
Wouter Andre “Wally” De Backer, better known by his stage name, Gotye (a pronunciation respelling of “Gauthier,” the French cognate of Gotye’s given Dutch name “Wouter”), has been riding high since the release of his international hit, “Somebody That I Used to Know.” He’s won three Grammy Awards, is the first Australian to reach #1 on the U.S. Billboard charts since 2000, and has been continuing to make music and tour worldwide.
While on tour in the U.S. in 2012, De Backer’s bandmate, Tim Shiels, took him to a Zammuto show. De Backer – who is aptly often compared to Peter Gabriel — was taken with the band, and a bond formed between the hometown indie-pop experimentalist and the rising Aussie star. They now tour together and support each other’s acts routinely. Zammuto’s latest album, “Anchor,” was the first release of De Backer and Shiels’s freshly founded record label, Spirit Level.
Zammuto and Gotye perform in the Hunter Center on Saturday, March 21, at 8pm. Dinner and snacks are available from Lickety Split before and during the show. A full bar serves Berkshire Brewing Company beers and Berkshire Mountain Distillery spirits. Tickets are $8 for students, $18 in advance, and $24 day of. Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 11am – 5pm Wednesdays through Mondays; closed Tuesdays through spring 2015. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during box office hours or purchased online at MASS MoCA. All events are held rain or shine.