Music » Critics' Picks

Mucca Pazza

9 p.m. Saturday, May 22. The Firebird, 2706 Olive Street.

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For all you band geeks with sour memories of scratchy uniforms, rigid lock-step formations and endless renditions of "Stars & Stripes Forever," Chicago's Mucca Pazza comes to offer redemption. The self-described "circus-punk marching band" recasts high school band class as an exercise in well-orchestrated anarchy, with horns, guitars, accordions, a drum line and honest-to-God cheerleaders joining the fray. Yes, the band performs in marching band outfits (including those inexplicable frilly hats), but Mucca Pazza's sound veers from Balkan folk to surf rock to brass-fueled fight songs. It's not clear how many of the collective's 30 members will make the trek to St. Louis, but here's betting that the Firebird's stage will be awash in emptied spit-valves, splintered drum sticks and enough pep to rally any crowd.

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