More than an all-star band, Mutoid Man has grown into a brilliant power trio with an impressive first full length stacked with songs with as much attitude as John Travolta in Grease. If their first EP had left me with the impression of a fun side project made by Stephen Brodsky (Cave In) and Ben Koller (Converge, All Pigs Must Die), two friends trying to spend more time together by making music, their first album had convinced me that this was now more than a side project but a real band destined for greater heights. Perhaps it had been the addition of a third member, the bass player Nick Cageao, found when the duo played at St Vitus, a bar in Brooklyn, but the fun songs were now full on catchy rock tunes with huge choruses. However, it should have been obvious that a side project formed by two friends would not accept in its vicinity a complete stranger who would not partake in the same sort of humor than sir Brodksy and Koller. Therefore, a Mutoid Man show is half rock tunes, half comedy and this is one after seeing them twice this year I was back for another round.
Bossk is also a band I have seen numerous times without growing bored of their performance. Despite having played the same set for more than a year, and having seen them four times before in London, the five piece performs their Isis inspired postcore with such a perfect mastery it’s hard to resist. I have grown tired of the genre in recent years due to the large proportion of bands incapable to escape the traps of the genre and trying too hard to emulate Isis and Neurosis. Bossk on the other hand falls on the same side that Isis era Panopticon. Subtle melodies intertwined with heaviness performed with conviction. Even the strangeness of seeing their frontman exit the stage every time he is no longer needed to scream into the microphone has now worn off. Furthermore, if the new tune is to be believed, Bossk seems to want to become heavier and more influenced by Stoner Doom with a larger presence for vocals. One member of the audience seemed already determined to put more vocals when he seized the mic from the hand of the singer and started screaming some non-sense before the tool was taken away by the vocalist. Finally, it has to be said that Bossk always have a great sound at the Boston Music Room and after seeing them play in larger places it is in this one that they shine the brightest.
After Bossk‘s set, the venue switches to a soundtrack made entirely of Six Feet Under‘s covers of AC/DC songs (the infamous Graveyard classics). A questionable move but one that fitted the fun everyone expected from the headliner.
Finally, the headliner comes on stage and starts with a bit of Purple rain by Prince to thank the crowd from coming despite the wet weather. They then launch into one of their tune with a very loud sound that first shadows the excellent vocals of Stephen Brodsky but are quickly pushed to the front. Ben Koller then takes advantage of a break to throw a whole celery on his bass player before Stephen Brodsky receives the vegetable, proving that the drummer has brought into another band Converge‘s passion for hitting each other. However, it’s not because it’s the last show on the tour that anyone can do anything on-stage as the over enthusiastic singer during Bossk’s set gets on stage to start screaming some non sense while Stephen Brodksky watches him proceed while playing, barely hiding his displeasure. Security has to carry the man off stage but he quickly reappears in the crowd, thankfully having learned his lesson.
This small incident aside, the set continued without another hitch with a selection of songs from Bleeder, three new songs that displayed the same catchiness than their first two releases, and their now expected cover of The Animals‘ Don’t let me be misunderstood in conclusion. Despite having played a similar set at the Brutal Assault festival, the band preferred to play more new songs than their covers of video game tunes like Castlevania and Contra (despite still selling tee shirt with the Castlevania visual). Nonetheless, after more than an hour of music and jokes, Mutoid Man offered a set than didn’t need an encore despite an enthusiastic crowd. This power trio has the tune, the stage presence and the friendship to make their set an equivalent of the Muppet show, for all the right reason. Ben Koller has the energy and enthusiasm of Animal, Stephen Brodsky has the leadership and humor of Kermit the Frog and Nick Cageao is their Fozzy Bear, an artist with a lot of bad jokes but some undying determination.
Bottom line, don’t miss them next time around unless you hate fun and good songs.