Mutemath w/ Colony House and Romes
Showbox SoDo, Seattle, WA
Losing integral band members just a few weeks before heading out on tour might throw a lesser band for a loop, but not Mutemath. With their “Play Dead Live” tour in support of September’s Play Dead, the band’s fifth studio full-length, the genre-defying New Orleans band showed just how alive they still are.
The night opened with Romes, a ridiculously catchy soul-pop outfit from Toronto. Think cool haircuts, leather jackets, a touch of an irresistible Irish accent. It was hard to ignore the four-piece’s magnetic energy. Heavy alt-rock guitars were balanced by the synthy waves of an 80s boy band. They had the crowd dancing and clapping along with them, vocalist Jacob Alexander working the stage like a pro.
They were followed by indie-rock quartet, Colony House, in support of their sophomore full-length, this year’s Only the Lonely. Named after an apartment building in Tennessee, a giant roadside sign lit the stage with the band’s moniker glowing brightly through heavy smoke machines. While it was unreasonably difficult to actually see the band members, you could certainly hear their twisting psych-rock guitars, Southern twang, and even a little surf-pop fairy dust coming through loud and clear. They rocked out pretty hard but also let lead vocalist/guitarist Caleb Chapman take one solo to slow it down.
Finally time for Mutemath, the crowd had to wait it out for a good 30 minutes as the stage was cleared down to a spare set up of all-white gear. A white-covered piano stood center stage, a mic ready to go, before the room went completely dark and the band rolled right into “War” off their latest album. By the second track, lead Paul Meany was jumping down into the barricade, hugging photographers and the crowd, singing up close and personal, and you could tell this was a passion tour.
Meany has always been a solid frontman, but with the changes in band lineup, it was more evident than ever that this show was taking even more personal artistic turns. Projections and lighting design played into the band’s sonic experiments through a two-hour set that spanned the band’s catalog.
Swapping between instruments like it was nothing, the band members were as fluid as ever, including Meany literally leaping off the piano. Almost every song was danceable, and Meany didn’t ever let the chance escape him, getting the crowd moving right along with him. Tracks off 2015’s Vitals seemed to draw the crowd’s most fervent support, though that could easily be argued. They dedicated “Noticed,” off their 2006 debut to The Crocodile, the Seattle venue they visited on their first tour, inciting plenty of cheers from the local crowd.
While it might still be an impossible task to plug Mutemath into any sort of specific genre, it is just this nature that seems to ingratiate them to their fans. Elements of pop, electronic, rock, and even disco reared their heads throughout the set while a raw, real energy kept the band feeling as down-to-earth as ever.
Review and photos by Stephanie Dore