It’s nice seeing a band comprised of musicians that you have incredible respect for but it’s bittersweet when it’s a band that, for a variety of reasons, not many people will ever get the chance to see. This was the situation when Raz went down to see Mutoid Man, who have members of Converge and Cave In in their midst, supported by Black Mare in LA.
Six things we learned while watching Mutoid Man in LA…
1) Black Mare could be something to look out for. Having released their/her impressive debut album in February, Sera Timms’ solo project is padded out into a full band tonight and together they put in a gently morbid performance. Musically, it circumnavigates what can rightfully be called metal, veering towards folk, country and shoegaze but retaining a dark and sombre edge.
2) The formula for mystery in art hasn’t really changed much over the years. Get one smoke machine, add reverb, black clothes and more reverb and you’re pretty much there. Yes, it’s all a bit devilish and other-worldly but there you have it. In terms of Goth, Black Mare do it rather well. There is mystery. They are intriguing.
3) Watching Ben Koller drumming is almost as funning as watching what Ben Koller is watching whilst drumming. Below is a Ben’s Eye View video of ‘Scavengers’ by Mutoid Man, taken somewhere on this short tour via a GoPro strapped to his chest, but watching the Converge man drumming is a treat in itself. He just seems so happy to be alive. I could put together a “23 Awesome Photos of Ben Koller’s Face Whilst Drumming” post but that would be awful.
4) Just because your band has two of the most influential hardcore musicians of the past two decades in it, it doesn’t mean the Echo will be more than half full. This could be a great opportunity to moan about lesser bands selling thousands more tickets, but… fuck it. There are some shitty bands down the road that have sold thousands more tickets than an incredible, weird, jazzy hardcore band containing Steve fucking Brodsky of fucking Cave In and Ben fucking Koller of Converge but that’s just how it is with marketing and exposure through touring (see 5)). I guess if you know, you know.
5) Part-time bands can still be full-on. It’s a real shame that due to the logistics of Steve Brodsky and Nick Cageao living in New York and Ben Koller living in Los Angeles, Mutoid Man will only play intermittently and on the odd occasion because the chemistry onstage is electric. Obviously, there’s history between Brodsky and Koller via Cave In and the hardcore scene but they are both such energetic musicians both physically and mentally. This could be one of those bands that never gets to properly be. At least we have one album.
6) The album is under 17 minutes long so I was curious to see how they’d fill a whole set. As expected, it’s not a long set but it’s a mighty, mighty fine one. A cover of Dio-era Black Sabbath’s ‘Falling Off The Edge of the World’ with guest vocalist, Sarabeth Linden follows super-speed, lo-fi versions of Converge’s ‘Effigy’ and Cave In’s ‘Retina Sees Rewind’ but it’s a rendition of Cave In’s magnificent ‘Big Riff’, slipped indelicately that hits home. It’s pretty awesome to hear the Jupiter classic again but Mutoid Man prove they have enough of their own. Hopefully they’ll add more.