Music » Livewire

The Flying Luttenbachers

Tuesday, December 4, at Speak in Tongues.


Few bands have inspired so many hyphenated-word descriptions. "Punk-jazz." "No-wave." "Ear-bleeding." "High-concept." "Free-death." (!)

Many folks will stick with "a-tonal." The Luttenbachers hover where free-form death metal and free-form avant-jazz (again with the hyphens) collide, as if the band's onstage, playing for exactly one person, who keeps transmogrifying from a jazzbo to a stoner to an indie rocker to a mullethead to Captain Beefheart to Dick Dale to Animal (drummer, icon, Muppet). The music shapeshifts accordingly, posing a dire threat to your eardrums, your sanity, your peace of mind, your lunch.

Drummer/composer Weasel Walter and his ever-revolving pie rack of cohorts have logged a lot of practice at this -- 10 years, actually, in the thriving multi-hyphen Chicago jazz scene. Big shots like Ken Vandermark have floated in and out, but mostly the Luttenbachers are young, hungry unknowns credited with playing instruments like "earth bass" and "air bass." (Sadly, there is no "water bass.") Brainiac jazz factors into it, sure, but with menacing bass/guitar distortion, Walter's maniacal pounding, and song titles seemingly lifted wholesale from Slayer albums ("Infektion," "Demonic Velocities," "Storm of Shit," "The Critic Stomp"), an open-minded Cannibal Corpse fan could get down to this just fine.

Verdict: This here's flamethrowing instrumental jazz-metal hoo-hah, a band of Yoko Onos infused with testosterone who don't sing. The Luttenbachers didn't break up the Beatles, but they could've broken the Beatles into little hyphenated pieces.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.