"Wow!" is the word that surfaces when reflecting on the spectacle witnessed at the Opera House. But mere words will not capture the live extravaganza that is Mute Math.
The Reason, a five piece hailing from Hamilton, got things hopping early. Their blend of high energy punk pop rock had the pit, filled mostly with boys, wildly slamming around. Offering up tunes from their latest Things Couldn't Be Better, the band's sound was tight with melodic vocals and catchy guitar hooks. Lead singer and keyboardist, Adam White prepared us for what was to come, "consider yourselves lucky to see what you're about to see. This song goes out to Mute Math, 'You Excite Me'. "
Next up, a little lesser known quartet from Scotland called Cinematic. They had the look of a typical UK group; four really skinny boys dressed in the latest skinny jeans and fitted tees. Their sound perfectly matched their look, ultra cool and crisp with nice guitar riffs. .
As busy stagehands readied the platform for the headliners, I counted no less than 7 crew members busily positioning gear. Being a newbie to a Mute Math concert, my curiosity built as I saw a drum kit loaded stage left, two sets of keys, synths, a piano, a keytar, and even a cello or maybe it was a big upright bass. And is that fluorescent tubing encircling the back of the stage? Crowd anticipation grew as the whole stage was pretty much ripped apart and rebuild, which took longer than we're used to.
Our patience was rewarded as Mute Math blasted onto the stage with their frenetic hit "Chaos". I love it when a band starts with a tune that everyone is sure to know, it shows they have a lot more to offer and don't have to save it for a predictable encore. And there was nothing predictable about this gig. Playing pretty much everything off of their self-titled album and a few off the EP these New Orleans' boys served up their alternative meets new wave reverberation with confidence and flare.
Tracks like "Stare at the Sun" and "Obsolete" offered up a garage grunge sound but still maintained the band's brand of jazzy undertones. "Control" may lack in lyrical content but the singable chorus had everyone singing along as charismatic frontman, Paul Meany requested "more voices please". Meany's Sting-like smooth vocals showcased in the slower "You Are Mine"; the inclusion of a cello solo front stage was beautifully done by bassist Roy Mitchell-Cardenas. Throughout the performance, those fluorescent lights that surrounded the band flashed psychedelic hues of yellow, green and blue, perfectly complimenting the incredible energy of the set.
Meany's passion had him all over the stage, diving, flying and flipping out on his piano; it's no wonder he has to have a set of keys (the keytar) around his neck. He pulled out everything from tambourines to bar stools and even a homemade looking instrument (which I later found out was The Atari). Every band member at some point had a pair of drum sticks or a mallet in hand; pounding out a beat on whatever was closest to them. But nothing can compare to the sheer intensity of percussionist, Darren King. The guy has his headphones duct tape to his head and his drum kit often became mobile as he ripped it up on top of the piano.
The exceptional instrumental encore sums up the night; a truly alluring progressive experience. Wow!
Fore more information please visit www.mutemath.com.
Writer: Lisa Kerr