When I got to the Palladium Ballroom, the opening band, As Tall As Lions, was already on stage and totally jamming out. Only later did I find out there was no singing because the lead vocalist Dan Nigro was sick. So there they were on stage, not saying a word, but keeping the audience engaged with their funky jazz sound. I overheard someone put it very well as saying they were a MuteMath and Miles Davis mash-up. They played til 8:45, and MuteMath took the stage at 9:20 by simply walking on and starting the show.
The first thing to happen, as any MuteMath follower will know, is Darren the drummer stands in the front of the stage and enthusiastically ducktapes his headphones to his head. Why? Because he just plays THAT hard.
They kicked off the night with "The Nerve", one of the songs off their latest album Armistice. And if you've seen the album cover, then you can picture the set piece they had at the back of the stage that resembles half of a Stargate. *A great picture and another concert review can be found at Shady Little Road's website run by our very own Bianca ad Donielle.* The half moon video screen had flashing, color-changing lights, and during each song you would see things projected on the screen such as old movie clips during "You Are Mine", bubbles and blurry street lights ("Clipping"), and overhead video feeds of the drums, keys, and xylophone ("Goodbye"). Not as impressive as the multiple screens which were closer behind them when they played at House of Blues last year, but still a cool added effect that didn't take away from what was going on with the guys on stage. Well, how could it with how utterly fascinating these guys are to watch?
The coolest stunt pulled that night involved Darren drumming on video screen circles held by stagehands. While he hit the screens with his drumsticks, a prerecorded drum track played, and each hit was accompanied by a light flashing on the circle and the flying off screen. Sort of guitar hero-ish. And absolutely mesmerizing.
Other amazing things done by Darren: Singing into a megaphone, hitting the symbol so hard it flies off (twice), pouring a bottle water all over himself and his drum set, standing on his drums, turning the keyboard into a drum set, and best of all, climbing on a piece of his drum set held up by the audience and falling backwards into the crowd letting them crowd surf him back to the stage. This guy leaves you breathless the whole show and most people can't even take their eyes off of him.
But it's not just the drummer that's all over the stage. The bassist frequently switches from electric bass to upright to handheld keyboard, the guitarist goes from electric guitar to effects board (played as an instrument!) to xylophone on a whim, and lead singer Paul Meany plays two keyboards (three if you count the KEYTAR!!) and his other-wordly theremin which he lets the audience play during the encore performance of "Reset".
Meany was humble the entire night, not saying anything more than "thank you" a few times and introducing the band members mid-show minus himself. He also turned the mic to the audience for "Spotlight" and bowed to us during the lyrics "now you're one of us/oh the spotlight is on".
The band is incredible live and I suggest you check out their Myspace pics to see all this stuff I'm not doing justice by trying to put into words.
Any show where at the end the lead singer does hand stands on the keyboards, accidentally flips all the way over and gives the audience an I-meant-to-do-that smile, and the drums are in a wet, broken heap, I believe a good time was had by all. :)
Stare at the Sun
Your Are Mine
Break The Same