House of Blues, Orlando, Fl • Nov. 2, 2007
Last year they played two consecutive historic sold-out nights at The Social – one show was so memorable that I still use it as a basis for concert comparison – this year Mute Math have expanded into the much larger House of Blues. The room is bigger, the crowd equally as packed in, and though there is an element of intimacy missing from this corporate-sized show, this little band from New Orleans once again prove that they are one of the top live shows you can ever hope to see!
Further emphasizing just how good our headliners were about to be, opening band Eisley put on a yawn-inducing, brutally long 45-minute set of sweet but tedious pop songs. The band is comprised of four siblings (3 sisters and their brother), and their cousin. The girls take hold of the vocal reins and their voices are angelic though fraught with young whine, like a tighter version of Meg & Dia.
Clearly the audience is enamored with the girls, but I just keep stealing glances at the time. Is 45 minutes of a band who stand cemented in place really necessary? I should be less critical, they’re young. So young in fact that vocalist/guitarist Sherri reveals that she and husband Chad Gilbert (guitarist for New Found Glory) spent their honeymoon at Disney World.
When at last Mute Math arrive, I am desperate for some heart pounding, mind altering rhythms. Immediately after showing themselves onstage, frontman Paul Meany kicks off his first high flying keyboard jump, as drummer Darren King duct tapes his heavy duty headphones onto his head. This precaution is a necessity, for King is an animal on the drums and does not stay seated while playing. In fact, he often ends up atop Meany’s keyboard, or even surfing over the audience’s hands standing on top of his bass drum.
Starting off with a bang, they plow straight away into my two favorite songs off of their 2006 self-titled debut, “Typical” and “Chaos.” Switching from keys, to guitar, to keytar (that’s right – I said keytar!), Meany dances his way all over the stage amidst the magical display of lights, bursts of color, and video that project on the wall behind the band. The video gets eerie during “Stall Out,” depicting footage of a bridge wavering and collapsing during an earthquake. This coupled with the hypnotic mood of the song lulls the crowd into a surreal state of stillness. Stillness that soon explodes as the band dives into another series of high energy bursts, including “Control.”
Mute Math is a bargain band that encompasses the best parts of indie experimentalism, electronica, arena rock, and drum circles. Their music is great, but it’s the presentation of the music that they bring to the stage that really solidifies them as a band set apart…. and it doesn’t hurt that Meany is capable of doing a handstand on his keyboard without missing a note!