There are few places in Las Vegas I’d rather be than a Mad Caps show. On a stage, frontman Ted Rader is musical passion personified, shaking his hips, swinging his guitar and shouting through his megaphone while beat-pounding drummer Jon Realmuto propels all that energy in one direction—forward.
- The Mad Caps
- The Mad Caps
Listening to the pair’s self-titled first album in my car, in my living room and at my work station, I can’t shake the feeling that the party is just out of reach. The nine songs (10 technically, counting the jam tucked onto the end of the final track) are all solidly built. Hell, some—the heavy-breathing “Rosie and the Wolfman,” for example—are spin-again satisfying. Yet The Mad Caps’ 37 minutes keep receding into my background, a sensation I’ve never once experienced during a Mad Caps performance.
Part of it stems from a sonic sameness; whether the tunes are delivered accelerator-fast (“Wild Wild Love”) or much more deliberately (“Goin’ Down”), they’re all, at root, bluesy rockabilly numbers made for sweaty VFW Halls, not iPod earbuds. The one song that busts out a bit? “Tube Top,” which opens sounding a touch too similar to The Dandy Warhols’ “Bohemian Like You.”
If you’re looking for a way to drop $5, you could do a whole lot worse than dialing up themadcaps.bandcamp.com and grabbing a copy. Or you could stash that fiver in a safe place, for the next time Rader and Realmuto breathe magic into the same songs, live.