Gig review: Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane, State Theatre, 16/1/12

An evening of 60s Italian pop songs transformed into big band tunes with Patton’s trademark screeching embellishments, few could have witnessed anything like Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane before.
Backed by 12 strings, three singers, ten or so percussionists and multi-instrumentalists, along with a conductor, Patton flitted between crooner and screamer, whilst his band looked mildly bemused by his actions. It’s not often one sees an act in the State Theatre who kicks off a song by firing a starter pistol into the air. There were plenty of other tricks up Patton’s sleeve, including him prowling the stage whilst bleating through the megaphone and his eyes widening with childish glee as he wound up an old-fashioned siren alarm. The musicianship was flawless, the band in total unison and astonishing in their range.
The overall ambience was that of admiration; the audience towards Patton, then he in turn in regards to his band. There were so many elements of this show that could’ve gone awry, after all, the songs are almost entirely sung in a foreign language, and there’s a host of musicians trying to keep perfect time. As they powered through songs like Deep Deep Down, Che Notte and Pinne, Fucile ed Occhiali, we were repeatedly taken aback by the stunning musicality and the triumphant largess of it all.
Towards the end of the show people began dancing down the aisles, racing to the front, and soon enough the entire stalls were standing. A fittingly joyous end to a sonically overwhelming show.
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