Os Mutantes (with Mister and Sunbird) – Becks Music Box (6th March 2011)

The Becks music box is a wonderful location for live music.
Just on the swan river, it’s accessible, the summer weather has been perfect (if not a little hot), and it reminded me what I tell myself every year I need to get more involved in Perth Festival next year.

Beautifully decorated with fairy lights, silhouettes of chandeliers, and littered with cosy couches (seriously, more live music venues need couches), the design was well thought out and gave a real sense of intimacy and warmth.
The drinks lines were short, and even though there was only a few selections available I didn’t hear many complaints about the lack of selection. Myself being a Becks drinker I was happy.

Relaxing on couches was the perfect way to listen to the jazzy, funk sounds of Mister and Sunbird. They introduced themselves after their opening song, and right after I said ‘these guys remind me of Mister and Sunbird’. I had wanted to check out their set at Southbound 2010, but didn’t end up being able to. I had stumbled upon their album at my local second hand record store, and bought it because it had really cool album art. Listening to their album I thought it was a bit hit and miss. There were some songs that were well written and catchy, whereas some fell short of the mark.
Live they were consistent, cohesive, and provided a great atmosphere before and after the headline act.

Os Mutantes hit the stage as an ensemble which immediately reminded me of The Phenomenal Handclap band.
The men carried their dresses and capes without a hitch, and the female lead was in a dress which Florence Welsh would be wearing in 30 years.

But it was their music that did the talking.
Their opening song had the boom-crash effect of a Eurovision song, with tempo changes and rhythm changes trying to create a cohesive song. Guitars, flutes, oboes, cow bells, triangles, tambourines, and clarinets all graced the stage at one stage or another, and provided a sound-scape which sometimes bombastic was full of energy.
Their music was enthusiastic and upbeat. They sang in both their native language and English, there were times when I wanted to know what they were saying but it was generally more fun to make up the meanings. Even with another language the music rose above it and instinctively you knew what the song was about.

It’s quite often during a set for the lead singer to profess their love for [insert whatever town they’re in]. But I got the feeling that Os Mutantes genuinely appreciated the location, the scenery, and the people of our small city. And this was one of the endearing qualities of their set. You felt that they believed in their music, and had lived their music.

I probably wouldn’t have gone if I had have listened to their music before, but I’m glad I went and it was a live experience that was something completely new.

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