Mutemath, a New Orleans-based rock quartet, has been hailed by Alternative Press Magazine as one of the alternative rock bands to see live “before you die” due to the nature of their high- energy performances. I have been to a number of their shows and can attest to this, so I did not hesitate when the opportunity presented itself again last month. My brother and I being longtime fans, we made the trek to the small indie rock venue in downtown Athens.
The supporting lineup for this tour featured Civil Twilight and the Quiet Entertainer. Yes, there was a theme of peace and quiet in the names of all the performing acts, but this was going to be a night of pure, rockin’, pumped-up volume. The 300+ fans in attendance expected no less.
The show got started around 8:40 with a 20-minute set from the Quiet Entertainer. This “Nashvegas” based DJ served up his blend of old school hip-hop remixes and original electronica. It’s a brew he has perfected since his early beginnings spinning at the West End Café Coco, a staple in the local Nashville underground music scene. While DJ performers are not everyone’s cup of tea, his sounds were pleasing enough to most of the audience. A sample of his set list can be heard below.
I was eager to hear what the brothers from Cape Town (Civil Twilight) would treat us to next. My exposure to their music came from the songs I had heard on our Alternative Rock programs. They did not fail to impress, capturing the audience with the wall of swelling sounds on their hits “Letters From the Sky” and the stand-out “Fire Escape.” The bass guitar riffs in the latter reminded me of the rhythms I would hear amongst the Hausa tribesmen in the days of my youth. It left me wondering just how much Zulu these brothers had running in their blood. I ended up buying their latest release, Holy Weather, after they finished their set.
About fifteen minutes later, the anticipation built for the night’s headliner to begin their performance. As the lights dimmed, the expectation of the audience was met with the procession of drums, cymbals and guitars emanating from the rear of the room. The fans eagerly cleared the path as Mutemath slowly made their way to the stage, performing the title track off their latest, Odd Soul. They followed that with the electrifying “Prytania” and continued with more of the rousing, dynamic hits from their repertoire. After we finished rocking and moving our bodies to “Heads Up”, I knew I was in for one of those memorable nights.
From the Twilight soundtrack “Spotlight” (also found on Armistice) to the Police-influenced “Noticed” and “Chaos,” the audience participation did not subside as they happily sang and jumped to each tune covered in confetti. They even helped lead-singer Paul Meany with a little crowd surfing.
The band managed to mix in a few of their other earlier rock ballads, my personal favorites “You Are Mine” and the rarely performed “Progress” from the Reset EP. Their instrumental sessions during “Break the Same” and “Obsolete” briefly shifted the spotlight and allowed band members Roy-Mitchell Cardenas and Darren “the Beast” King to showcase their multi-instrument talent as well. Guitarist Todd Gummerman was surgically ripping out the riffs on each song with great precision.
When they returned for their encore set, Meany informed the fans this would be their last show in the area for a while. They were planning to take some much needed time-off for family and other things, to which the audience did not hesitate to express their friendly discontent. The vocalist was a little taken aback, but ‘not to worry’, he comforted, they would also be working on a new album. I look forward to that. They ended the night with fan favorites “Reset” and “Typical”. We left 40 Watt with our ringing ears still intact. This show would definitely rank in the top three of the times I’d been to see them.
– Submitted by Akrofi Koram, Hardware Specialist