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CMJ Madness: Mute Math Loves Jesus But Isn't Terrible

November 2, 2006 5:38 PM ET

We should probably mention right off the bat that New Orleans foursome Mute Math is kinda sorta a Christian rock band. Despite this, they a) sound nothing like Creed and b) never flat-out name-check Jesus. In fact, the group actually sued their label when they were marketed as Christian rockers, fearing it would limit their fan base. So we're giving ourselves permission to like them. And apparently so are the scores of folks who showed up for their gig at B.B. Kings' Blues Club last night.

For almost two hours, the quartet brought the house down with their emo-meets-Radiohead brand of atmospheric rock, ripping through tunes from their debut album. Frontman Paul Meany (who plays keyboards and a keytar) hopped around stage like a chimpanzee on a sugar high, and drummer Darren King taped his monitor headphones around his head to allow for maximum rocking out. And unlike most every other CMJ act, these guys supplemented their songs with a killer light show: Rows of fluorescent tubes were illuminated behind them, lending them a downright ethereal glow. Praise the Lord, we guess.

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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