Live Review: Mystic Braves Take Over The Chapel

Mystic Braves
with Cellar Doors, The Turns
Friday, Feb. 19, 2016
The Chapel

Well, that certainly was a party.

And, like any good record release party, the main event didn’t start until after midnight when Los Angeles’ Mystic Braves finally arrived on stage. The Lollipop Records-signed psychedelic quintet then spent the next hour ricocheting across their three-album discography while Mad Alchemist’s kaleidoscopic projections spiraled behind them. Between the music, the strategically placed daisies, and the '60s-style pleats on each of the members' vintage pants, the band’s intent was immediately apparent: Play one good, clean show.

[jump] The groovy act got immediately to business, devoting minimal time to introductions prior to launching into glittering renditions of “Mystic Rabbit” and “Desert Island.” A few members of the audience attempted to form a pit, but it came across as the sloppy result of excess vodka rather than excess vibes. Everyone else seemed content to sway and bob along, actively enjoying the music without sacrificing their spot.
Half-hearted pit aside, the enthusiasm felt genuine, and Mystic Braves were in top form. As live musicians, they’ve reached maximum synergy over the last five years, and it showed in every seamless transition. Assisted by the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Rob Campanella, their meticulously polished performance played without so much as one audibly missed cue. Newer songs felt as sharp as more familiar ones, each one more self-contained and lively than the next.

The thing about lively parties, however, is that there is always that one person who is a total mood killer. In Mystic Braves’ case, she was front and center, requesting David Bowie multiple times before demanding to know which key they were playing in. Frontman Julian Ducatenzeiler played along and answered her question (C sharp, for the record) and tried not to cringe with the rest of us as she then attempted to sing the note. She then set to clapping off-beat, flailing her arms, flipping off no one in particular, clutching at the people surrounding her, and yelling unintelligible statements in all directions.

The group took the high road and played on as though nothing unusual was happening. After all, it takes more than one disruptive person to jam Mystic Braves’ finely-tuned live machine, and Ms. Mood Killer wandered off a few songs later.

Free to proceed as planned, “Trippin’ Like I Do” and “Bright Blue Day Haze” whipped the audience into a final frenzy, with organist Ignacio Gonzalez sounding spectacular throughout the both. Ducatenzeiler recited the obligatory thank yous and good nights as the song wound down, and the band left the stage to cheers and a few lingering “One more song!” chants.

Such requests went unanswered, and rightly so. No need to drag good parties past their natural conclusion, especially when the natural conclusion is as phenomenal as “Bright Blue Day Haze.”

Set List:
“Mystic Rabbit”
“Desert Island”
“Vicious Cycle”
“Born Without a Heart” 
“You Take The Dark Out Of Me”
“In The Past” 
“Great Company”
“Spanish Rain”
“No Trash”
“Trippin’ Like I Do” 
“Bright Blue Day Haze”

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