It’s not too often that a band can outdo itself before it even takes the stage, but that is exactly what Mutemath did last Friday night at 4th and B.
After a six-song opening set by Nashville folktronica band Canon Blue, the crowd anxiously awaited the arrival of Mutemath. With everyone’s eyes transfixed by the colorful backdrop behind the stage, a drum cadence could be heard looming from the back of the venue. Soon, the audience’s eyes turned to see Mutemath processing through the crowd, parting them like the Red Sea. The military-like cadence of cymbals, a bass drum, and a snare was just the first sign of how unpredictable this live performance would be.
The band members each took the stage and went to their instruments. As a sign of things to come, drummer Darren King put on his trademark headphones, violently duct-taping them to his head. Given how much frenetic energy he played with, it is no wonder that he needed to strap himself in.
Mutemath launched right into “Odd Soul,” the title track from its 2011 album. The funky, bluesy, and gritty sounds of the song, very reminiscent of The Black Keys, brought the crowd roaring to life. “I’m an odd soul, ahh yes, an odd soul,” sang Paul Meany as Roy Mitchell-Cardenas (looking like he could grace the cover of a 70’s classic rock album) laid down rich and heavy bass lines. Drummer Darren King played like Animal from Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, employing a raw intensity similar to Jon Theodore (formerly of The Mars Volta).
The majority of the set was culled from Odd Soul. The band members seemed to take great pleasure in playing those new songs, showcasing their musicianship on tracks like “Allies,” “Walking Paranoia,” psychedelic jam sessions on “Cavalries” and “Quarantine,” “All or Nothing,” which echoed of Radiohead, and “Equals,” with its subtle but prevalent electronic influence. During “Control,” an inflatable mattress was thrown into the crowd, prompting Paul Meany to leap from the top of the keyboard onto the mattress. Even when he fell off into the crowd and surfed back to the stage, he never missed a single beat. The band played for nearly two and a half hours, and the crowd was moving the entire time.
Concluding the night with “Typical,” their most well known song, Mutemath belted out the recognizable chorus as confetti filled the venue. It was a boisterous and mischievous affair indeed, and a night that really showcased how incredibly talented this band is.
Photos – Mutemath and Canon Blue at 4th & B – February 3, 2012