Mute Math | 10.08.06

Mixing approximately 92 percent of known musical styles (rock, jazz, reggae, electronica, alternative, new wave, ambient, indie, experimental…take your pick) into one uncannily cohesive sound, Mute Math's live show is truly worth the hype.

 

w/Shiny Toy Guys & Jonezetta
Creepy Crawl, St. Louis

Mute Math is probably the best thing going in music right now. It's a bold declaration, but reasonable for a band that took a seven-song EP and full advantage of the MySpace phenomenon to create a buzz big enough to move 10,000 copies of their debut album in the first month of its release…from their Web site alone. A live video of the then-unreleased "Chaos" brought over 90,000 friends to their MySpace site. The St. Louis portion of that crowd was out in full force on this night, most of them wearing girl pants.

The Creepy Crawl is an indie/punk haven for underground bands and too-cool fans. This means that, besides smelling like 8th grade, the place is usually flooded with a combination of eyeliner, minor chords, and insecurity. Supporting act Shiny Toy Guns brought their fair share of each (but mostly eyeliner) and still managed an enjoyable show. Their infectious brand of disco rock brought to mind earlier electronic all-stars New Order. Though their look reeked of the eye-roll-inducing emo style (perhaps the Creepy Crawl should offer a half-price-for-half-sight deal to draw the hair-over-one-eye crowd?), their set had a good portion of the crowd moving. Drummer Mikey Martin's face paint was an obnoxious distraction from his obvious talent, but the back-and-forth vocals of Gregori Chad Petree and Carah Faye Charnow added a pleasing aesthetic. The band closed their set with a fantastic cover of Depeche Mode's "Stripped," which would make the originators proud.

Openers Jonezetta did a fine job prepping the crowd with their trendy dance-rock/emo-pop. As a member of the ever-improving Tooth and Nail roster, the band showed their ability to craft a catchy number with "Get Ready (Hot Machete)" and displayed the energy to rile up the initially stoic crowd. Though the somewhat weak sound lacked the punch of their tour mates-and the band seemed to still be searching for an identity unique enough to keep them around for the long haul-they put on a solid performance that showed potential for growth.

The headliners, however, have a sound and performance that seem fully developed. Mixing approximately 92 percent of known musical styles (rock, jazz, reggae, electronica, alternative, new wave, ambient, indie, experimental…take your pick) into one uncannily cohesive sound, the band's live show is truly worth the hype. With a backdrop featuring vertical fluorescent light tubes that resembled piano keys and a large light bulb hanging from the center like a disco ball, the stage was literally set for some genre-defying action. Not only does leader/mad scientist Paul Meany play both the keyboard and the keytar, but drummer Darren King has a pre-show tradition of taping his headphones around his head with gaffer tape to prevent them from falling off (which they do anyway), and bassist Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas handles both his guitar and a bass drum that stands upright on the stage.

The band started off their set with "Typical" and "Chaos," the energetic opening pair from their self-titled debut. After coercing the crowd into a clap-along frenzy, they slowed the pace with "Stare at the Sun" and a birthday toast to Shiny Toy Gun's Petree, whom King referred to as one of the "children of the night." Next came a borderline divine performance of "Stall Out" before the band launched into fan favorites "Noticed" and "Break the Same," which featured an extended musical outro that saw the band breaking down and rearranging their equipment as King kept beat by playing his drum sticks on any part of the stage within reach (including the amps and ceiling tiles). This was a fitting setup for the closing "Reset," a five-minute instrumental that left the audience smiling, primarily due to Meany's inevitable breaking out and passing around of the "Atari," a homemade instrument prone to making sounds that resemble an alien on a violin.

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