Zombi played Middle East Upstairs – 4/9

Prog-electronic duo Zombi brought their spooky synth vibes to Cambridge with support from Overcalc.

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For a horror buff, the particular spelling of the word “zombie” omitting an “e” instantly conjures up visions of Romero, Frizzi and Fulci – which is precisely the headspace that the duo of Steve Moore and Anthony Paterra would like to orient you in. The pair’s style, conjured primarily from drums, bass and a tower of synths – draws inspiration from a heyday of classic horror, sci-fi and action scores. Genre greats like Goblin and John Carpenter are reference points, but Zombi put their own stamp on things via driving prog-rock rhythms, sax flourishes and other unexpected twists. The results are unsurprisingly filmic: suspense scores, chase music or title themes for the heretofore unproduced movies in our own heads.

It’s a niche, for sure, but one that I often enjoy inhabiting. Regardless of the eyebrow raises it might generate from those around me, I will rock Carpenter’s Season of the Witch soundtrack as a year-round listen. And judging by an enthusiastic crowd at the Middle East last week, it’s one that connects with plenty of other folks too. Moore and Paterra treated the crowd to an immersive trip through their own cinematic archives, from this year’s Relapse Records release Direct Inject way back to 2006’s Surface to Air, in stylish fashion. Moreover, the breadth of their sound often belied the fact that it was just the two of them up there. It was my first time catching Zombi, but I’d come back for the sequel.

Opener Overcalc set the tone for the night with a set that fused skronky electric guitar workouts with electronic soundscapes, and you can scroll below to check out photos from both sets.