Published Mar 27, 2020Good goddamn, this is one of the best live bands going.
In recent years, restless, resolute and prolific rocker Daniel Romano has assembled quite an Outfit: David Nardi, Roddy Rosetti, Ian Romano, Juliana Riolino and Tony "The Pope" Cicero make up this remarkable unit. What he and this ensemble do is take all of his recorded output from recent years and blast through it to give these songs new meanings and new lives.
There was a show the Outfit played at Lee's Palace in Toronto, opening for the Sadies, in 2019. The crowd, there for the headliners, put out a unified feeling after Romano declared his spectacle done: Seriously, what the fuck was that?
As evident here, at a live show from around the same era but expertly and heftily recorded by Kenneth Roy Meehan during a Scandinavian tour, the Outfit are on their own shit. It's a bit like Dylan and the Band on tour in 1966, or the Ramones getting together about a decade later: using something established and older, and fucking it all up to create something that's entirely, uniquely new. The Outfit, live, channel some wholly unheard rock sound, with Romano up front, wailing away in a voice that's a tuneful, snarling roar.
Hear him relish taking his own "Time Forgot (To Change My Heart)," which he once rendered in the style of George Jones, and make it sound like the most desperate-for-food-and-shelter punk rock. "The Long Mirror of Time" has its own kind of rolling thunder, while almost every instant of "Sucking the Old World Dry" sounds like a dire threat from a gang with nothing to lose — just try 'em.
Because he so often records his albums completely on his own, playing every instrument (both as himself and as Ancient Shapes), Romano's songs feel like a marvel for their craft, which is very much an individual achievement. He's obviously had great bands before too (like Attack in Black) but it's been a while since we've heard the chemical reaction that we hear on "OKAY WOW," which is the product of a family band who are so hot, it almost hurts. (You've Changed)