Live: Mute Math/As Tall As Lions

WAREHOUSE LIVE — 10/30/2009: Houston, I underestimate you! Since I usually go to local and lesser-known national bands’ shows, I’ve become used to thinking, “This band is amazing! Where is everyone?” Finally, Houston, you and I share an affinity for a great pop band: Mute Math. (Now, if only you would come around and find out about all of the bands from Houston that are worth your time, but they’re not the focus of this review…)

The evening began with a long security line. I met Adam, my photographer friend who made the most of my photo pass (as evidenced by photos like the ones over there to the right) and caught up on conversation as we waited to get in. Since I had completely underestimated the good taste of this city, there wasn’t a lot of room to move once we entered Warehouse Live. In other words, I should have gotten there much earlier.

I snuck around the side and squeezed my way into a pretty good vantage point for the opener, As Tall as Lions. I saw ATAL at SXSW in March, and in the blur of the 50 bands I saw that week, they were one of the most melodic and memorable. I was excited for ATAL to get some exposure in front of all these Mute Math fans.

They were a good fit for Mute Math, but unfortunately, their singer had recently come down with a case of nodules on his throat. Being a singer for a living myself, that’s a great fear of mine, and I felt a lot of sympathy for them having to play in front of all these people without their main man. They courageously went on, though, as an instrumental five-piece. The performance was very raw and overly dependent on long solos and improvisations (of course), but it was still a good representation of the band. Bassist Juilo Tavarez sang on a couple of songs, which broke up the instrumental jams, and they also played a couple of their proper songs without a singer. Hopefully they’ll return to Houston again soon with a healthy Dan Nigro in tow. In the meantime, I’d highly recommend you pick up their albums You Can’t Take It With You and Into The Flood.

Mute Math is a let’s-get-romantic-and-make-out kind of band. This was my first time seeing them, and I knew it was going to be entertaining the moment the drummer came out on the stage and duct-taped his headphones to his head. From the first banging chords (“The Nerve”) to the final encore (“Break the Same”), these guys entertained the crowd with every song. Of course, they did have their ultra-poppy and sappy moments (and an ever-so-clueless slow-dancing couple with pointy elbows jabbing into me made the most of those), but they had plenty of rockers and jazz-influenced jams, as well. Highlights for me included the songs “Chaos” and “Obsolete,” from their debut album, and “Clipping” and “Burden” from new album Armistice. END

Photos by Adam Gilleland.

Live review by . Live review posted Thursday, November 12th, 2009. Filed under Live Reviews.

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