In Tono-Bungay’s music amateurism meets virtuosity and textural exploration meets lockstep rhythms. The NYC-based trio stands apart from other genre-splicing experimentalists who inhabit its hometown: On record the band eschews the split-second slice-and-dice dynamics of John Zorn or Christian Marclay and the throbbing punk-funk underpinning of Carbon or Material in favor of a hazy sprawl more reminiscent of 60s-informed psychedelic rockers like Magic Hour (whose Twisted Village label released Tono-Bungay’s debut long player Rough Music). Tono-Bungay’s recordings are completely improvised, but the group’s best music still occurs live, where they play with a panicky aggression absent from their records. Tony Cenicola pummels his drums ferociously, providing guitarist Bob Bannister with a launching pad from which to spiral through his convoluted excursions. Robert Dennis is the wild card, disrupting his band mates’ patterns with a turntable and a stack of battered guitars. Tono-Bungay’s May performance at the Empty Bottle (opening for Bardo Pond) was one of the best shows I saw last spring; this return engagement should not be missed. Rome and the Spiny Anteaters will also perform. Friday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Tony Cenicola.