MUTEMATH – January 31st – The Gothic Theatre

Photo by Colin Gray

The Scene: I had never heard of MUTEMATH until a few weeks ago, and the sold-out sign hanging on The Gothic’s box office window was a great introduction. I walked into the venue just as MUTEMATH were starting their set, and even though the show was sold-out, I was able to find a decent spot. The band’s alt-rock sound has been featured on blockbuster movie soundtracks, in commercials, and on various major network late night talk shows.  As result, they draw people of all ages and types to their shows. The stage was packed with instruments, sampler pads, and other tools of experimentation, and the audience was filled with excitement. The whole night was almost overwhelming as they tore through 26 songs, and put on quite a spectacle doing it. When I saw the drummer had duct taped his isolation headphones to his head, I knew things were going to crazy!

MUTEMATH: When MUTEMATH took to the stage, the crowd and the speakers erupted. A massive screen behind the stage anchored the intense light show that accompanied the band, and the bass matched the ferociousness of the visual display. MUTEMATH are musical architects who build their songs to dizzying emotional heights.

MUTEMATH started the night off with the title track of their 2011 release Odd Soul, and I was captivated from the start as the guys poured a staggering amount of energy into the performance. Frontman Paul Meany bounced between two different keyboards and an organ as the band ran through songs spanning their 8 year catalogue. Hard bass and Hip-Hop beats meshed with pop vocals and the explosive drumming of Darren King who looked like Animal from the Muppets behind the kit!

Sending the place into a frenzy with “Sun Ray,” “Allies,” and “Clipping,” the dreamlike vocals and keys were grounded in the reality of rock. Throwing in a heavy dose of electronic sounds via laptops and sampler pads, the band took their alt-rock sound to a whole other level. If you combined STS9, Coldplay, Radiohead, and The Black Keys, and then threw in some pop and soul, you would come up with something akin to MUTEMATH.

All the musicians jumped from instrument to instrument, pushed buttons, and tweaked knobs in order to create the desired effect. I saw bass player Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas use a Violin bow on an Acoustic Guitar, guitarist Todd Gummerman play the Organ, and Meany even strapped a Keytar on for “Plan B.” The crowd enthusiastically sang along to “Noticed” and the bands relentless energy was equaled by the shows massive production values. Confetti was blasted through cannons and rained down on the entire venue as Meany came out into the crowd on a wheeled and elevated platform. As he was transported to the center of the crowd, he seemed to levitate above everyone’s heads.

“Chaos” ensued, and the whole crowd lost “Control” when Meany surfed the crowd atop of what looked like a large inflatable mattress as the audience belted out the chorus along with him. The band left the stage briefly before coming out for an encore of “Reset” and Typical.” More confetti rained down as MUTEMATH wrapped up their two hour set with a strong finish.

MUTEMATH put on a concert that was also a spectacle. The crowd was into every second of the show and the band worked hard to keep it that way. I am usually not one for a lot of hoopla as it can often times be over the top or be used to hide sub-par musicianship, but not in this case. MUTEMATH is a great example of what it means to fully entertain an audience.

Energy: A+
Sound: A
Musicianship: A
Stage Presence: A+
Set/Light Show: A

Overall: A

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Who Is Brian Turk

Brian Turk grew up in the shadow of the Catskill Mountains, near Woodstock, NY. He comes from a family of music lovers, audiopliles, Dead Heads and avid concert goers.The musical magic that can only be created in the Catsklills, both past and present, is what Brian cosiders the epicenter of his music addiction. The music of The Band, and most recently The Levon Helm Band, is the soundtrack of home for him. Brian's mother took him to his first concert at 5years old...it was Johnny Cash and Roseanne Cash at Jones Beach Amphitheatre. For Brian, music is a family affair. He feels the same way about live music...we all convene to celebrate together. Brian's writing life started when he wrote his favorite author, southern fiction writer Clyde Edgerton, a fan letter at age 13. When most kids were idolizing baseball players and television, he was worshipping writers and musicians. The two became friends and Clyde shared his craft with Brian. The next year Brian attended Duke University's Young Writers Camp. This is the extent, of what Brian considers, his “formal” training in writing. From then on his goal was to capture snapshots of life through words. Brian has been involved with live music in various facets over the years, and combined with his enthusiasm and love for Denver's music scene, he creates a vivid description of what he sees and hears. If you see him out at a show, dancing with a notebook in hand, say hello.