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