I was excited to see Mutoid Man as I’ve been a fan of guitarist Stephen Brodsky’s Cave In since their first record many years ago. As many know by now, Brodsky’s latest project is quite different from Cave In and his later project, Pet Genius, though the guitar and the vocal sounds in Mutoid Man are signature Brodsky. While Stephen was know for an intense amount of diversity in his Cave In work – as the band released records that ranged from punishing post-hardcore to space rock to more accessible melodic rock – they all contained a distinct edge. (If you really want to hear something rather unique check out Cave In’s cover of “I Love I Jah” on the 1999 tribute to the Bad Brains released on Century Media). Mutoid Man, as they showed a very impressed Philly crowd last Friday, are definitely metal with a good dose of punk in the attitude department but with some pop/rock appeal. And they are all energy, all the time.
Rounding out Mutoid Man are drummer Ben Koller, also of Cave In and Converge, and bassist Nick Cageao, of Pink Flamingos fandom. All three are extremely talented players and interact with one another very well on stage – sans this thing that they do where they constantly flip each other off. I guess I’m too old to understand the cultural significance of this practice. Likely it is something that came about when all of the working class folk were driven out of Brooklyn by the noveau hipsteriche, so when this trends crosses over the bridge into Staten Island I might start to get it.
The guys were clearly pumped to play Philly and while many of the listeners in attendance may not have been familiar with the band before they took the stage, the room quickly filled in and I noticed a good number of people come down from the bar and move to the rail and edge of the balcony for a closer look. They began with the perfect opener, “Melt Your Mind,” which is the first cut off their wonderfully listenable and approachable War Moans, which is out on Sargent House. The band moved into the next four tracks on War Moans, gaining more crowd attention with every pose, every riff and acknowledgment from the guys on stage. The crowd also loved the band’s little foray in Zeppelin territory with their take on “Communication Breakdown.”
While most of the songs were from the latest record (their strongest work to date) they did throw in a few from their early releases like “1000 Mile Stare” and “Bridgeburner.” My disappointment of the set: they didn’t play “Bandages”. Now I can understand why; they’re the opener on a tour that features Danzig of all bands and they run the risk of hostility from Danzig’s less than empathetic crowd and “Bandages” is as close to a ballad as this band is going to provide. But damn… with the help of Chelsea Wolfe these guys recorded one of the greatest cuts of 2017. All in all, no matter what your pleasure, you’re likely going to love seeing Mutoid Man. This was my first time seeing them perform and I was easily won over. Love the musicianship and they have a tremendous and fun presence on stage. Check them out and strike a pose!