If the name Mute Math sounds kind of familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve seen their one take-backwards filmed video for “Typical”, which became a viral hit and gave the band moderate success back in ’07, even landing them multiple performances on Jimmy Kimmel’s show. My own personal relationship with Mute Math started about 6 years ago, shortly before that. I randomly came across the song “Control” off of their self-titled debut album, and was immediately hooked. After obsessively listening to it probably 4 or 5 times in a row, I hopped in my car and drove to the nearest Best Buy to pick the album up. Since then, I’ve seen the band 6 times, even going so far as Chicago to see them play for an hour at Lollapalooza (and yes, I saw some other really good bands, too). But tonight’s nearly sold out show at The Beaumont Club felt different. It was like Mute Math on steroids.
Touring for their brand new album, Odd Soul, the band has crafted their biggest, longest, and most elaborate stage show yet. This thing is a freaking spectacle. A whopping 27 songs were played, including every track off of Odd Soul. The album is a pretty big departure for the band, as they lost original guitarist Greg Hill shortly before writing began, obviously losing a key sound. Bassist Roy Mitchell-Cardenas stepped up to plate, and took over guitar duties. Mute Math proceeded to go from writing modern, yet vintage, sounding electro jams, to writing a gritty, bluesy, soul filled album that sounds like their own version of The Blues Brothers. During the meet and greet with the band that I attended after the show, I overheard drummer Darren King tell a fan that when they approached writing songs for Odd Soul they focused on how to make these songs the best they can possibly be in a live setting. It worked, dudes! Every song from the album sounded stellar live. There were so many times when they would just lock into a groove and let it ride for a bit before explode into pure soulful chaos. Most notably, during the instrumental track Sun Ray. Roy performed what was probably the best bass performance I’ve not only seen out of him, but out of any live show I’ve seen from anyone. The dude’s fingers were practically floating up and down the neck of his fretless bass. It was so awesome.
You know what else was awesome? The stage show. Mute Math are known for having one of the best live shows around. Ask any Mute Math fan and they’ll all tell you “Dude, the drummer is insane!”, and it’s true. You can’t take your eyes off of him. The dude literally drums with his entire body. It’s fascinating. But, that’s slightly off topic. The stage show for the Odd Soul Tour is, like I mentioned earlier, their most elaborate yet. They’ve got a giant accordion style backdrop that utilizes 3D projection technology. They’ve got a giant air mattress that singer Paul Meany crowd surfed on, while actually performing. They’ve also got a little mini B-Stage that rolled all the way out into the middle of the Beaumont crowd that was utilized at various points of the show by Paul, as well as being used for a Drum Solo by Darren. Every time I’ve seen Mute Math, they’ve come up with newer ways to stay connected with their audience, but I think these actually took the cake, by far.
Another thing that I want to mention is how awesome the new guitarist Todd Gummerman is. He brings a new live dynamic that previous guitarist Greg Hill didn’t exactly have. He seems to not only improve upon the previous guitar sounds, but brings a new energy to them as well. Todd might be new but by the way he’s performing, and playing off of everyone in the band, you couldn’t tell. Everyone in the band plays off of each other so well on stage, though. It’s not just Todd. The best moments came during any of the numerous drum solos performed where Paul, Roy, and Darren all three consecutively played Darren’s kit. You can’t force something that cool. It’s just so inspiring to be able to watch such talent right in front of you.
My only complaint about the show was that the stage show was clearly meant for bigger theaters, but was crammed into our tiny little Beaumont Club, where the ceiling is so low, that at all times, the lighting fixture could be seen casting a shadow on the band’s 3D screen. But I mean, on the bright side, it made the show far more intimate than I assume the other shows have been, and with a band like Mute Math, the more intimate, the better.
Canon Blue opened the show, playing a handful of songs from their latest album Rumspringa (gotta say it with a British Accent). I liked them well enough. There were songs that I liked more-so than others, but they were enjoyable enough to not end up being one of those openers that you just can’t wait to finish. Random fact, one of the band members looked like Jason Sudeikis. So that was fun.
But yeah, I cannot recommend Mute Math enough. You have GOT to see them live. Next time they come, don’t even think about it. Just go. Then thank me later.
Tell Your Heart Heads Up
In No Time
Armistice Outro Jam
All Or Nothing
Break The Same
By Richard Pepper
Photos by: Matt Cook