There comes a day when shitty little clubs and small acoustic shows get a little redundant for music fans — no matter how great the bands are. Sure, there’s great intensity in a good local rock show, and probably at least a handful of captivating tunes. But given the choice, a performance by U2 or Springsteen is probably going to trump whatever indie band is hitting the circuit that week.
Mute Math aspire to be one of those huge bands, despite their relatively short six years. When they stepped onto House of Blues' stage shortly after 9 Saturday night, the audience's yelps and whoops signaled that this was going to be a show to remember.
They kicked off with "The Nerve,” from the new Armistice album. Strobe lights pulsed with each drum hit as singer Paul Meany bounced around the stage, repeatedly crooning, “set it on fire,” keytar in tow. The simple-but-catchy guitar riff on “Backfire” rushed into a squealing solo, only to return to the same catchy-as-hell rip.
But the show really got underway when drummer Darren King put himself in the limelight. Halfway through the set, he set up a cluster of four light-censored drum pads. With each lightening-fast move, King illuminated a piece of its upside-down U-shape.
Surprisingly, not everything was as fully planned out. On songs like “Burden,” the band broke down and stretched out for some serious jams, integrating jazz, prog, a cappella and even metal. The New Orleans-based group then went straight from this instrumental mayhem into “Typical,” a souring U2-like anthem and fan favorite.
During the encore, King had fans hold up his bass drum so he could stand on top of the crowd on “Reset,” an experimental juggernaut where Meany did handstands on the keyboard. King ended up ripping the top of one of his drums to shreds, only to feed it to a lucky fan before trotting offstage.
It was a great ending to a show where Mute Math played every song like it was their last. Give this band a million-dollar tour budget and a recording session with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, and they might just hit the jackpot. —Danielle Sills