When: Sat., May 14, 8 p.m. 2016
Mephiskapheles is an NYC-based septet with a fiendish fervor for walking bass lines and upbeat rhythms. The band’s moniker itself represents a playfully twisted concoction of ska and Mephistopheles, a demonic stock character with a proclivity for fucking over wayward mortals in Germanic folklore. As its infernal namesake suggests, Mephiskapheles lures listeners down a devilish descent into cacophonous unpredictability. Typified by the ensemble’s 1994 debut album God Bless Satan — an Afro-Caribbean trip featuring tracks like “Satan on the Beach” and “Demon Weed” — the group’s sinister synthesis of buoyant beats and devious lyricism has reaped a small cult following since its short-lived stint on MTV and subsequent tour with iconic British punk outfit the Buzzcocks in 1997. Unerring from its Satanic ska-core shtick almost two decades later, Mephiskapheles stays true to its spooky jazz lounge aesthetic with the 2015 release of its self-titled EP, a 20-minute riot showcasing hellhound highlights such as “Satan Stole My Weed” and “Hell On Earth.” Indeed, spattered with shout-along choruses, funky guitar chops and a dash of the macabre, Mephiskapheles today remains as sly and shrewd as Beelzebub himself.