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V4NY - Only Templates
Sat, 060722
Os Mutantes, Webster Hall NYC
Filed under: Musicality — Rick @ 191216CDT

The phrase I’d use is, ahem, ragged glory. Not such a stretch, really, as CSNY must have been one of the Northen Hemisphere bands to have influenced the Mutants’ vocal arrangements. Okay, a stretch. But my friend Peter Bull heard the Swingle Singers in some those arrangements, which was spot on. Overall, a stunning show — my second in a row at the venue, even thought I find it a problematic and unwelcoming place. (Broken Social Scene’s last night there was hands-down the best rock show I’ve seen in five years, maybe more.)

“Ragged” comes to mind not because the 10 musicians on stage were anything less than masterful. Instead, it’s because the Mutants’ music is tough stuff, full of on-a-dime changes and cutup structures, and music like that lives and breathes in concert if it’s a little ragged and loose. “Glory” comes to mind because the band was clearly in its glory, triumphal if tardy in making their New York debut nearly 40 years late. The show was a pilgrimage for most of the crowd, which sang or cheered or chanted or clapped in clusters. A joke or witty litote in a Brazilian Portugese lyric would set off roars in constellations throughout the crowd. The hipster/record geek contingent would react with almost violent exuberance when one of the more influential songs from one of the first three records kicked in. The band fed off both energies, which helped make “A Minha Menina” the height of ragged glory. During the song, Arnaldo’s mic seemed to have an issue, though maybe that was part of the performance. Zélia Duncan is a profoundly original frontwoman, gifted with a great instrument with a wide range. Sergio is a warm presence and a first-rate rock guitarist in the classic vein. Original drummer Dinho was a revelation, too — it’s hard to tell from the band’s studio work just what a supple and forceful presence he is.

Overall, amazing. If you’re in Chicago, San Francisco, or LA, try to see them.

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