Music

Music Review

Guerilla Toss returns to Cambridge, chaos intact

Guerilla Toss returned to its Boston-area roots Monday, performing at Club Bohemia in Cambridge.
Guerilla Toss
Guerilla Toss returned to its Boston-area roots Monday, performing at Club Bohemia in Cambridge.

CAMBRIDGE — On Monday night, Guerilla Toss returned to the basement. The five-piece was, not too long ago, one of the premier live acts in the Boston area with its all-in approach to making noise — slashing guitars and ambulance-siren synths, metronomic drumming and loose-limbed bass lines — and the tense, constantly in motion presence of lead singer Kassie Carlson wowing audiences at house shows and clubs. The band put out records on the Western Massachusetts weirdo imprint Feeding Tube and the avant label Tzadik, and was nominated for Punk Artist of the Year at last year’s Boston Music Awards, which seems like an odd fit if you forget that one idea of “punk” involves re-creating tired old idioms into ways that speak not just to the present, but to the future.

This summer, Guerilla Toss relocated to New York, and last month announced its signing to DFA, the New York-based label that’s also home to the similarly kitchen-sink-minded Black Dice. Monday’s show at Club Bohemia came not only on the heels of that signing, but on the release of “Flood Dosed,” a three-song EP that shows off the band’s magnetic, loopy appeal.

Drummer and cofounder Peter Negroponte serves as backbone, able to conjure up arena-rock bombast as easily as he dips into pockets; guitarist Arian Shaifee can shred as well as he can groove. Electronics master Sam Lisabeth helped the chaos warp into the future with his mélange of synths, and bassist Phillip Racz’s pinging solos had a funk-punk appeal. Carlson’s vocal approach on tracks like the bouncing “Ritual in Light” added a percussive element, her barking of single syllables providing a focal point for the audience that was actually within the audience — she danced tensely amid those scattered near the stage.

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At 12:25 a.m., someone threw on a light and announced that Club Bohemia’s manager had called closing time. After Racz laid down an almost apologetic bass line, the crowd dispersed — an abrupt, but perhaps appropriate, end to a show that built its thrilling tension on chaos and uncertainty.

Music Review

Guerilla Toss

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With Buck Gooter, Phemales, URSULA. At Club Bohemia, Cambridge, Monday

Maura Johnston can be reached at maura@maura.com.