photo by Isabel Thomas
review by John Higham
Somewhat of a metal supergroup, Mutoid Man are on the road in Europe for the first time having this summer released their excellent new album Bleeder. A hardcore/math-metal trio made up of Stephen Brodsky (Cave In) on guitar and vocals, Ben Koller (Converge, All Pigs Must Die “…and 457 other bands”) pounding the drums and bassist Nick Cagaeo, they sure know how to put on a cracking show.
With the support’s amps removed from the cluttered stage Mutoid Man were afforded a bit more room than Palm Reader, but Ben Koller was still tucked away at the back, partly obscured by amps and pillar. Nevertheless, this didn’t prevent him from drawing the crowd’s attention on a number of occasions and leaving a look of amazement on the face of Palm Reader’s drummer, watching from the wings.
They open their lively set with Bridgeburner, the first track on Bleeder. On record the song is already full of energy and it benefits hugely from the live setting. It’s a great choice to get things off to a blistering start even with Stephen Brodsky’s guitar sound suffering from a faulty pedal. With the guilty pedal swapped out during a brief bluesy bass and drum interlude things get going proper.
photo by Asia Fairbanks
All three members look at home and like they’re having a great time on stage. Almost instantly, this is extended to the crowd with everyone perking up, enjoying themselves and singing along on a rainy Monday evening. Combining the flair, showmanship and catchiness of 80s metal with the aggression and energy of hardcore the trio are a joy to watch as they play a songs that are complex and yet accessible and catchy. Mutoid Man fly through a set comprised mostly of material from Bleeder with a couple of songs from Helium Head includingThe Manimals, their “butcher it, mutilate it, fuck it” version of The Animals’ Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, and the encore of Gnarcissist.
But this wasn’t just your usual hardcore metal gig, there were points where it felt like a comedy show with the much of the crowd in fits of laughter. Whether it was Ben Koller taking a break from the kit by sitting on an unused amp backstage behind black curtains. Then playing the opening hi-hat to Sweet Ivy with only one arm and a drumstick poking through the gap in the curtains, looking like something out of The Muppets. Or the band members regularly flashing the middle finger to each other mid-song, and sometimes mid-solo. Even the between songs chat was humorous and delivered with charm, which is a rarity. Much of it is obviously just planned parts of the show, a practised and rehearsed shtick rather than spontaneous, but it’s funny as hell, is done brilliantly and is quite refreshing. (4.5/5)