Jeff Moody

Pezzettino @ Verge

By - Jun 8th, 2010 10:20 pm
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Images by Jeff Moody

Let’s begin at the end. Margaret Stutt, aka Pezzettino suddenly, surprisingly SMASHES her accordion following her forty-five minute set on a very wet Saturday at Verge Fest, and I am suddenly, surprisingly surprised at my reaction. The lovely black and white expanding and contracting contraption, her tool of trade, had been reduced in an instant to random broken parts scattered across the Edge Stage. As fans snatched up whatever instant mementos they could, I thought about Bert Gasch. I met Bert up at last year’s La Crosse Oktoberfest over several pitchers of beer. Bert is an immigrant who moved from Hanover, Germany to La Crosse back in the mid-sixties. He calls the accordion a buttonbox. Bert plays for fun but by trade, he’s an engineer; he understands how machines work and what it takes to build a good one. I wondered what he would have thought about this, the wanton destruction of a perfectly well engineered musical machine.


Image by Jeff Moody

I was sad for a second. The accordion is so much a part of Pezzettino’s persona, and watching her play it is quite a marvelous experience. She’s a physical player, and the instrument becomes both an extra appendage and a dancing partner in her hands. She stomps her right sneaker down hard and opens the bellows slowly. In the wet atmosphere, when she drags out a low register with the fishy smell of nearby Lake Michigan’s churning waters hanging damp in the air, Pezzettino seems to be from another time, like some sailor’s wife getting by entertaining post-dinnertime patrons at a seaside dive. Her face contorts when she sings hard and closes the bellows back up. She swings her body around and the accordion with it, opening it up again. And this is what she does over and over again; this is how Pezzettino transfixes an audience. About halfway through her performance, I managed for a second to pull my attention away from her long enough to notice her band, a bass and two-drummer set up, all of whom, just like the audience, have their eyes on her.


So when Pezzettino concluded her new song “Free Fall” with the violent murder of her instrument, she pretty much guaranteed there would be no encore. I wondered if it meant anything. In my own imagination (which tends to run wild) it was as if I’d just witnessed Pezzettino kill off a part of her self. I’d just watched her move as one with that thing for nearly an hour. How could she seem so in love with it and them turn around and smash it like that? Is she quitting the accordion forever in favor of the, uh… saxophone or something? What WAS that?











Just then my friend Kelly walked up and said “Oh my God, that was crazy! We’re you able to get a shot of that…?”


Then I remembered. It’s only rock and roll.




0 thoughts on “Reviewed: Pezzettino @ Verge”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This isn’t really a review of the performance so much as a lament for a broken squeezebox.
    Let me help you out with the review part.
    Pezzetino was not very good and is actually in the business of attention, not the business of making music.
    As it turns out the sound of a breaking accordion is not too dissimilar from the sound one makes when left intact and finger banged by a musician more worried about “all eyes on her” than all ears.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’d try to make, in a nice flowery way, the point that you simply did not hear what I heard that night, but something about yer name tells me I’d be wasting my time.

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