Thursday, December 20, 2007

Os Mutantes: Live at the Barbican Theatre CD

The CD is a recording of the seminal Brazilian psychedelic band's reunion tour in 2006, specifically their London performance at the Tropicalia festival. I saw them in Seattle in the same tour and it had to be one of the best performances that I've seen in my life. Words almost fail me, well not quite, but almost. This recording, which is nicely a double CD for the price of a single, is not quite as good as the Seattle show, but still representative of the Mutantes reunion tour.

In Seattle, Sergio Dias, the lead guitarist and somewhat leader of the band, specifically tried to out Hendrix Hendrix, who they made reference to and who was from Seattle. Outfitted in 18th century Portugese formal dress Dias succeeded in this quest. His solos were so good that I couldn't believe that a) I was hearing it live, and b) that I was hearing music like this at all. Dias no doubt knows Jazz guitar and Bossa Nova in addition to Blues and Rock through growing up in Brazil, and he put all this knowledge to good use to play in a way that brought the house down.

But Mutantes is more than Dias. It's sort of a disservice just to focus on him, but while writing this particular post I don't have that much time, so I'll focus on the band as a whole in a new post.

The one sad part was Dias' brother Arnoldo, who unfortunately became a casualty of LSD during the '70s. He's the keyboardist and sometimes vocalist and it was painfully obvious that his mind had been hurt by the substance and that he wasn't the same because of it. It's always painful to see that, and heartbreaking. In fact, I'm going to write a post about the phenomenon of LSD and other psychedelics causing some permanent damage in some people, while being very, very good and insightful for others, in relation to the critical Timothy Leary biography that I've been reading by Greenfield, can't remember the first name now, who was a counterculturalist and politico during the time but who has turned into a very thorough, serious, biographer of figures like these.

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