Friday, September 25, 2009

Live Music Paradise

I love music. I could create a whole blog to write nothing but album reviews, but I understand that music like all art is a highly subjective subject matter. Despite this, I believe that there are objective truths in art that we can all agree upon. For example, I will be the first to admit that I am not a Dave Matthews fan. However, I can also admit that their drummer, Carter Beauford, is easily the greatest drummer of modern rock, if not ever. Along these same lines I would like to share my experience from last night in a small rock club in Baltimore. I've had the privilege to see a lot of live acts from small indie-rock performances in hole-in-the-wall bars to massive rock stadium tours. However, there is one live band that stands out from all the rest. I'm not going to say they are the best musicians I've seen, the best song writers, the best light show, or the band with the best beards (Dave Grohl, you can rock a beard like no other!). At the same time, it's very fair to say they are good musicians and good song writers, and incredibly creative. When you add this to the fact that they put 1000% into their live show you can't help but walk away in absolute awe.

What then is my musically objective point? New Orleans-based electronica alt-rock band, Mute Math, is one of the most entertaining live bands that you could ever hope to see in your life. I'm going to stray from objectivity for just a second because forget what I just said... Mute Math is THE most entertaining live band you could ever hope to see in your life. It's getting common for bands to have lots of ambient background sounds going on to compliment the typical rock sound of guitars, piano, bass, and drums. A lot of bands are relying more heavily on pre-recorded tracks of keys and guitars to fill out their live sound and make it sound closer to a studio album. Mute Math has a sound that thrives off of lots of accent sounds with a full entourage of keys, synths, upright bass, percussion, home-made instruments, and background vocal effects. What makes this 4 piece band different is they fill their entire stage with all of these things and play most everything live themselves.
It's entertaining when you see a group of musicians that are so versatile and can do so many things at once. It's TRULY entertaining when those same musicians are doing this while running around a small stage like maniacs, and still sounding phenomenal. When you go to see Mute Math live you can expect to see percussion jam sessions that may start with the drum set but end with them using chairs and any other object they can find to create rhythmic sound. The stage is usually cluttered which means it's going to make a lot more sense for them to do handstands and flips over keyboards and amps rather than walking around them. A synth guitar will more than likely stage dive to crowd surf so that everyone else can have their shot at contributing to the noise. The drummer might just decide to use his base drum as a surf board and take it for a ride over the crowd. And above all, you can sure as heck expect that the Keytar is going to come back in style like it's 1987.

If you get a chance this Fall to go see the Mute Math: Armistice Tour, I highly recommend it. If you need convincing, their music videos should do the job: - Typical - and yes they learned how to play their whole song backwards. - Spotlight - and yes they learned how to play their whole song in slow motion while being thrown around in a van.

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