This 2-DVD offering highlights guitar god, David Fiuczynski (The Fuse) and his energetic, "Screaming Headless Torsos," unit performing live in New York (disc one) and Paris (disc two). The New York City gig is culled from a 1996 show at "The Knitting Factory," featuring the band’s high-octane blend of jazz-rock and funk, awash with quirky time changes and abrupt shifts in tempo. Moreover, vocalist Dean Bowman’s soul/blues/jazz vocals and ad lib type vocalese provides a strong anchor for the musicians’ super-tight grooves.
Fiuczynski is a sight to behold! He often strums and picks in concurrence with the use of his whammy bar amid blistering single note runs and off-kilter phrasings. On some pieces the guitarist and Bowman engage in bop-style unison choruses, whereas percussionist Daniel Sadownick and drummer Gene Lake provide the necessary zip and punch.
The camera crew maintains a sense of motion, by judiciously toggling between the band members. However, on the New York City set, bassist Fima Ephron stands in the rear area of the stage, and isn’t caught on film a whole lot. But the camera crew does capture the band’s charisma and zeal rather effectively. And of course, the ensemble excels as a live act, partly due to Bowman’s flair for the dramatic and strong stage presence. Meanwhile, Fiuczynski is obviously enjoying himself on stage, yet proceeds in a workmanlike manner amid a few grimaces and facial expressions to complement his uncanny phrasings and shadings.
The Paris show was filmed and recorded in 2004 at a venue known as "New Morning." Here, Fiuczynski sports a double-neck electric guitar and uses his effects pedals, including some slick oriental type sounds, much to the audience’s delight. In some respects, he might reign as the craftiest hard-edged electric guitarist since Jimi left this planet. And Daniel Sadownick takes a solo spot on his congas, demonstrating amazing speed and control. Nonetheless, this DVD package should be deemed essential for advocates of this super-tight and strikingly original quintet. (Zealously recommended.... )