CONCERT REVIEW: MUTEMATH AT THE GROG SHOP (CLEVELAND)
MUTEMATH rolled into the tiny Grog Shop on the east side of Cleveland, OH on September 25th to melt ears and make fans push their endurance limits all for the sake of good music. The Grog Shop is a tiny venue, with the stage simply being a raised-up area in the corner of the main room. After a 40 minute delay due to sound mix issues, the show got rolling.
The quartet paraded into the room from the back, mingling with the audience while wielding their own percussion instruments, which segued nicely into their opener, the new song “Pyrtania” from their Odd Soul record. The downside of MUTEMATH playing a small venue immediately became apparent, as visibility of the band was poor. I had an especially hard time seeing their beast of a drummer, Darren King. MUTEMATH made the most of surroundings though, and gave the balance of the set their all.
They followed up with their new alternative radio single, “Blood Pressure” which resulted in an enthusiastic response from the fans. Armistice’s “Spotlight” of the Twilight soundtrack followed with plenty of rhythmic clapping and “Aaahs” and “whooaas” from everyone present. Rather than spoil the whole concert with a play by play of every other song I’ll follow here with a summary, as MUTEMATH shows are better the more organic the experience is.
The new tracks definitely reflect what AbsolutePunk founder Jason Tate said in a recent album preview. That is, the new songs carry influences of both The Black Keys and Radiohead (the latter especially in the mellower songs) while still retaining the vibe MUTEMATH fans love. The Radiohead vibe seems to stem from their In Rainbows era, and the Black Keys vibe seems to carry over a bit from their Rubber Factory era. New guitarist Todd Gummerman still seems to be adjusting to being in a band of MUTEMATH’s caliber, but he clearly has the right amount of talent to be there and his stage presence will improve with time. Roy Mitchell-Cardenas’ bass lines carry the band through many of its new songs, and Darren King’s drumming is simply unreal. Instrumental highlights in the set include the reappearance of the Atari synthesizer for “Reset” and a new instrumental outro for the medley of “Break the Same” and “Quarantine.” Vocalist Paul Meany was at his best as a frontman, despite lacking his trademark keytar and not being able to jump around as much in the venue.
I’m looking forward to hearing more of Odd Soul and hopefully catching them on their next tour, which will be more what fans are used to seeing.