Mutual Benefit Report Card

NXNE Report Card ’14: Mutual Benefit @ Horseshoe Tavern

Wednesday, June 18. Who'd have thought a crowd gathered for Low couldn't quiet down for a thing like beauty?

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- Jun 19, 2014

Background/Composition: Boston-based Mutual Benefit is the freak folky recording project of Jason Lee; his gleaming, hopeful message; and whomever he brings along to help.

Calisthenics: A

To harvest such a wide collection of beautiful noises sure takes some legwork: Lee's plinking at the keyboard, then he and his sideman drop to the floor twisting at their pedal knobs, and a few seconds later, he's back up cooing at the mic.

Mutual Benefit at Horseshoe Tavern
Arrived As Described: B

I'm always curious how bedroom or chamber recording acts bring their show on the road. With the help of some very capable players (this was Mutual Benefit, the four-piece), Lee delivered the goods from Love's Crushing Diamond and beyond texture for texture's sake.

Crowd Control: D

"Canada is weird. People, get excited!" might just have been Lee's own meek and mild way of saying, "You should shut up and listen for once. Maybe then you could transcend whatever dull, pathetic problems you're all prattling on about." Unfortunately, virtuosic musicianship and a handful of powerful songs delivered in a measured, dynamic performance couldn't overcome a chatty, unengaged room. Probably a different animal in a non-fest environment, playing only to their fans.

FINAL GRADE: B-

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