MUTEMATH – Live at Atlantic Station

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This was my first concert for a band that my son introduced to me.  Before, it’s always been the other way around.  This, of course, did not reverse the cash flow either.  So, I bought his ticket. And a friend of his, too.  What’s the price of a Saturday night out for a father/son memory, right?00610

Well this truly was a night out.  The venue was Atlantic Station at Central Park.  You’re thinking NYC, an amazing green space in the city.  It’s just like that, except reduce it to a large paved courtyard surrounded by retail buildings, dressed in holiday style.  Now add a tall lighted Christmas tree, a fenced in area around that tree further reducing the available area (particularly in front of the band) and there you go.  Central Park, Atlanta style.  Not that I’m complaining.  At $10 each, just about any concert is a bargain.

This was the fourth and final concert for Atlantic Station’s Winter Wonder Jam Series, each held on a Saturday evening, shows starting at 6:30.  Really, thinking about it, that makes perfect since.  Weather forecasts are unknown, s start early and wrap up early... it could be cold outside or worse. 

But wait! There’s more!  As an unadvertised bonus, there were two opening acts.  Not one.  Two.  And cool temperatures are cooling further.  As one nearby couple commented, “We should have eaten before we came.  Do you think we can leave and come back?”  Yes, and they did.  So much for inspired scheduling.

The words of cynic-musician James McMurtry come to mind.  “I thought I was an artist.  Come to find out I’m a beer salesman.”  Thus, the longer show is required.  Actually, beer was not much in evidence, likely due to co-sponsor Finlandia Vodka.  They got some business, but there was a steady stream of people returning with hot chocolate.  I was too cheap to go figure out where and suffered for it.

First up, Tesla Rosa, from Nashville.  Kind of a cool name, actually.  Featured were a Kurt Cobain wannabe, a Slash wannabe, and a bassist and drummer who knew how to play but without showmanship.  That was the suitable summation from my son.  They played for a full, miserable hour.  I recognized what I was hearing right off, though, and gave up my close to the stage standing position for a ledge to sit on towards the back.  Winning.

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Next was The Features.  Again from Nashville, this band played a mix of Indie adventurousness with, at times, some straightforward musical hooks.  Pretty good, but at the conclusion, it was officially cold.

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And so, when Mutemath took the stage, it was already later than when I figured we would be done.  The band entered with an “of the people” walk through the crowd to get to the stage, always a cool thing.  And it’s immediately apparent why this is the headlining act.

Star power. 

Vocalist Paul Meany elevated the evening both in terms of of vocal ability and audience connection, and the placement of Darren King (drums) at stage right added significantly to the energy level.

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Nominally a Christian band, their lyrics are fairly obtuse and occasionally name-drop “God” or “Jesus.” It’s more accurate to say that the band doesn’t posture around pessimism, hurt and anger.

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Meany, an ironic name given his positivity, for all intensive purposes, is the show.  He walks through the crowd repeatedly, crowd surfs, slaps hands, does airborne leg splits, plays keyboards with his feet...  He’s sort of a mix of Bono, Freddie Mercury, and Wayne Coyne.  In short, he sings and engages theatrically.

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I forgot to mention air-mattress surfing...

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The band played “tight” as such things are regarded.  The set list had a great flow to it in pacing and variety.  My only disappointment was that guitarist Todd Gummerman was generally hidden in shadows and was de-emphasized in the musical selections.  C’mon, let him play.

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The band played a generous 19 song set that resulted in the plug literally being pulled at 11:00, but the crowd didn’t mind as they finished up their final song without amplification.

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At which point, I was freezing.  My son and his friend, however, had remained close to the stage, and the combination of surrounding body heat and jumping up and down had warded away temperature complaints.  Complaints of sore feet due to standing on concrete for five and half hours... not my problem.

It was a great show, and I’d return to the venue on warmer nights. Or go find the hot chocolate.

4 of 5 STARS

 

 

Set List, I think:

Odd Soul
Pyrtania
Blood Pressure
Spotlight
Tell Your Heart Heads Up
Sun Ray
Backfire
One More
You Are Mine
Noticed
Control
Chaos
Armistice Outro
Equals
Break the Same
Quarantine
Reset
Collapse
Typical

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