A couple weeks ago, many Madison music lovers got their first taste of one of the oddest and most enjoyable new bands on the college rock scene right now. Before a packed house at Luther’s Blues, Ludo turned heads, got feet tapping and had complete strangers to their music “humming along” by the end of the night.
Ludo’s sound is something of a representation of the band’s own eclectic mix of personalities, though it flows so naturally that one hardly even notices the anti-naturalness of it.
Andrew Volpe, the band’s lead singer, seems to banter out his lyrics as much as he sings them. Throwing as many sardonic words as possible into every chorus, Volpe’s songwriting and vocal presentation are in a sort of “Rivers Cuomo meets Ben Folds, but with a serious case of Jack Black-esque odd, dark humor” mold. He has excellent stage presence and does a great job of getting audiences into his songs — be them slow love songs like “Sara’s Song,” party-packed epics like “Girls on Trampolines,” ear-pleasers like “Hum Along” or bitter angst-fests like “Good Will Hunting By Myself.”
Tim Ferrell leads the band on guitar, playing powerful riffs to keep up with Volpe’s epic lyrical pieces. The hard-edged sound plays well with Volpe’s on-edge voice — the two complement each other and juxtapose each other in equal portions. Ferrell is undoubtedly talented on the guitar and hits his solos perfectly. But it’s when he’s playing simply, loudly and dominantly along with Volpe’s energetic whimpering that the music really takes off.
Added to the harmonic mix is Tim Convy’s bizarre, energetic presence on the synthesizer. Convy jumps around as much as he plays, and it’s not always clear if his energy or his keys is the more important contribution. When he belts out chords, he certainly brings a nice sound to the songs, and the energy he has on stage is contagious and helps bring even the most bashful of audience members in on the fun.
Keeping the sound from spinning (too far) out of control are Marshall Fanciullo and Matt Palermo, on the bass and drums, respectively. Fanciullo pounds out memorable bass lines that keep feet tapping for days, and Palermo shows rare feeling on the skins, keeping beat to the audience’s head nods (and/or bangs).
Ludo returns to Madison and to Luther’s Blues tonight at 9 p.m. Volpe and company play with The Dog and Everything, Early Means Two and This Is The End. Tickets are $5 at the door. The band’s self-titled debut can be bought on its website, www.ludorock.com.