Fronted by Stephen Brodsky (known also for his role as singer/guitar player Cave In) this trio combined equal parts entertaining hilarity and intricately performed heavy music spanning the gamut of metal genres. Joining Brodsky are Ben Koller on drums and Nick Cageao on bass. Impressively, the three constantly crack jokes or engage the crowd playing loose enough to keep things fun and enjoyable, yet somehow never sacrificing technical skill. Here at Psycho Vegas, they played a mix of original songs (“Micro Aggression” and “Bandages”) mixed with thrash-y covers from all over the musical map. In a short 40 minutes they did excellent renditions of Tom Jones’ “She’s a Lady,” The Animals’ “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown” and even King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” (hilariously changing the song’s chorus to “21st century Mutoid Man”).
At one point Koller even stabbed through his snare drums prompting a hilarious chant egged on by the band of, “fuck you snare / fuck you snare,” followed by “welcome new snare / welcome new snare,” when a stagehand quickly brought up a replacement. During their finale, an uproarious number called “Gnarcissist,” Brodsky continually emoted “I’m never gonna fall in love / with myself.” During its final moments, Koller ran off the stage seemingly randomly. Brodsky invited the crowd to a cappella sing along on various exaggerated treatments to the song’s chorus like a ‘60s soul singer might. Then, punctuating the close of each variation, a drumstick would come flying through the air, sent hurling by Koller hidden in the crowd, and almost unbelievably perfectly hitting one of the cymbals as if to punctuate the measure’s completion. Incredibly, on the final time, Cageao wound up his bass, swung it like a bat and prompted a massive cheer by the crowd on hand. Brodsky’s reputation has always been one of excellence following several incredible years with Cave In, but with this much stage presence and charisma, Mutoid Man should be the hard rock band everyone pays attention to. This is American hard rock the way it should be but rarely is.