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To be completely honest, I wasn't originally sold on MuteMath's newest album Odd Soul. As a fan from way back, my love stemmed from the "early" sound and the new record deviated from [that sound]. That was of course, until I witnessed a stop on the Odd Soul Tour. Now, I am completely and utterly MuteMath obsessed.

To get the crowd going, the band started amidst them. With drums in hand, Paul, Darren, Todd, and Roy marched through the middle of a few hundred people, kicking up a great high school drum line beat along the way. Eventually, they climbed up on stage and within moments were the blues strums and mellow notes of the opening sequence to "Odd Soul". Mixed between the paused rhythms are cleverly hidden synths and guitar progressions of a rock nature. You wouldn't expect this song to come off very well on a live stage, but it was an excellent way to start off the night. As promised by Paul, the band went through every song off the new album. This included their second single, "Blood Pressure", which was a huge crowd pleaser. The dynamics on this song were awesome. The warm strums of the bass kept a smooth groove going until the guitar weened out its ear-piercing notes. This was a song that demonstrated what MuteMath does best - help you dance your face off. The rock-thrashing choruses were perfectly matched to the slow R&B moves that held the song together.

A non-Odd Soul selection that came as a pleasant surprise was "Backfire". While it wasn't one of the main players from the band's previous album Armistice, it was one of my favs. And with its chaotic jazz rhythms and strong bass presence, it became clear why they slotted it on this setlist. The sexist part of the song was in the beginning, when Paul went to his other keyboard and placed in a few synth beats; beats that when mixed with the plucks that Todd rattled out, came off as a sultry dance break for the evening. Rolling back to a newer selection, they broke out "Equals". With its huge anthemic entrance, you'd swear we were all about to hear a heart-breaking ballad, sure to draw a tear, but what really came out was an 80's classic rock chord progression and percussion that, while light and airy, provided a great energy boost. Sure the chorus did come off with Paul belting out very emotional and arms wide open, but the song as a whole had the audience doing a gentle rock sway.

Normally I don't really acknowledge an encore, as generally the main set ends with a pretty little bow tied around it and I don't want to ruin the feeling. But this encore was reserved for those long-time fans in the audience and was quite epic. You can tell if a crowd has seen MuteMath before when they start to chant "Reset" before the encore. This crowd was no exception and of course the band obliged. "Reset" is such a defining number for the band that one can't help but get lost in all of its wonder. Now throughout the night there was a backdrop on stage and with lights projecting from the back of the audience, various digital elements added to the performance. But it wasn't until "Reset" that this extra piece to the stage presence seemed to really play its part. Without vocals, the digital animations worked side-by-side with the numerous electronic elements, guitar loops, synth beats and heavy cymbal rattles to create a multi-sensory experience. It was magical. Now if you're going to name one song that everyone knows and goes completely fanatical for its "Typical". Those opening notes are easily some of the most recognized in the industry. To top it off, the pure elation each member of that audience got from singing the extremely emotional and uplifting lyrics was unmatched.

That pretty little bow I referenced before, well for this night and this setlist, it was a gigantic, flashy, multi-colored piece of fabric.

-Rachel Fredrickson

MuteMath
February 16, 2012
Beaumont Club, Kansas City, MO

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