Mutaytor Review at the Henry Fonda Theater

 What do you get when you mix over fifty drums, pounding percussion, guitars, singers, belly dancers, fire dancers, hula hoops, tap dancers, acrobats, horn players, martial artists, burlesque team, pyrotechnics and tribal dancers: A band called Mutaytor and a trance music performance that envelops you in its paranormal force and takes you into another dimension. 

Commonly, concerts consist of these basic elements: a guitar, a bass, a drum kit, those to play the instruments and an audience, if of course the band is fortunate enough to have admirers.

Occasionally, there are more specified instruments on stage that always add to the performance. Then, there is Mutaytor, a band that goes far beyond the ordinary, delivering an entirely diverse kind of performance that is fascinating and bizarre in the best kind of way. Traveling from coast to coast, Mutaytor dazzled the audience this Friday with its one of its kind concert at the renowned Henry Fonda Music Box Theater.

Opening up with heavy drumbeats and thumping percussion, along with fire dancers, the group seized its audience from the start. With immense energy dispersed through the auditorium, it didn't take long until the audience was dancing and jumping up and down to the playful and video game like, tribal trance tunes. Picture Cirque De Soleil except with a whole lot of rock, fishnets, push up bras, tattoos, mohawks, pleather pants toped of with a nice touch of seduction and a slither of S&M.


In one of the acts, a woman-like figure entered the stage with a hula hoop and within seconds the figure turned in to an almost entirely naked hula hooping man. Now, I've done my share of hula hooping in my days, but this man puts me to shame. At one point the performer was suspended into the air by his arms while still managing to hula hoop like there was no tomorrow. The performance was reminiscent of the young circus days experienced as child except with a different twist, a much more modern, bold and musically enhanced experience.

With friendly vibes and circus-like acts, Mutaytor attracted fans of all ages. They encourage their audience to dress in costumes in order to fully disconnect from the everyday routine during their show. Some showed up dressed in extravagant gothic outfits, some decided to sport the hippie look, while others accessorized with bold jewelry, hats, masks and intense makeup. Audience interaction was as prominent as the acts themselves. The members of Mutaytor were all over the place during the show, they were in the audience, above the audience, almost everywhere you looked you would spot a dancer or a performer of some kind near by.

The band was formed on the lands of the infamous Burning Man Festival in 1996, by the band leader Matty Nash who brought all the instruments he had for anyone to play. What started out as a massive drum beat gathering, years later transformed into a cohesive group that utilizes all types of media and the arts, mixing an array of musical genres. Influenced by elements of the Grateful Dead, Parliament-Funkadelic, Crystal Method, Lious Prima and the Blue Man Group, their incentive in every performance is to disconnect the audience from the tedious workdays and pull them into a different dimension all together. 

From acrobatic stunts, to pyrotechnics that made you gasp, to belly dancers that made me want to get up on stage and shake it, all to the sound of passionate rhythms, Mutaytor delivered an intriguing and clever performance. With special musical guests on stage such as John Avila from Oingo Boingo on bass, and Stephen Perkins from Janes Addiction on percussion, the show continuously introduced new elements that added to its hip-hop, retro-funk, electronic grooves. After the show was over, I walked out of the theater and into the streets of city lights still bobbing my head to the drumbeats that were still lingering in my head.  

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