In Da Club: Mute Era at Big V's

Darin Back

Mute Era has a really short set. By 10:20 p.m. last Saturday night at Big V's, they were playing their last song of the evening. What a fricking shame: I was looking forward to checking out the new band of Sho Nikaido (pictured)--the former lead singer of the local garage-rock band Sweet J.A.P. Unfortunately, I had miscalculated and lingered too long in a bar back in Minneapolis, listening to a friend talk about being stalked by an eagle while canoeing in the Boundary Waters (good story, though); meanwhile, Mute Era was at Big V's playing what Sho's former J.A.P.-mate Ben Crew calls, "New York art rock dance disco beat." And dance they do--the night's finale saw Sho dancing around to prerecorded sounds, screaming into a mic, his hair sticking out from under his trucker cap, while drummer Jessica, Sho's partner in rock and life, hit the last of a tight new-wave rhythm. They were the first in a lineup composed mostly of bands featured in this paper's recent Picked to Click issue. (Although the Slats, who played second, didn't make the list this year.) Later on that night, STNNNG were more subdued than at a show at Big V's in July. And anyone hoping guitarist Adam Burt would recreate the jump caught on the City Pages cover was disappointed, but I wouldn't blame a lack of energy--Big V's' stage-left speaker is hanging in a dangerous spot, just waiting to give any showman five-foot-seven or taller a concussion. Plea to Big V's: Will you please move that speaker already! Headliners the Blind Shake were the most inspired of the night (it was their CD-release party, after all). With the two guitarists' shaved heads and their no-wave drive, the band reminded me of the A-Frames, Devo, and Minneapolis noise bands from the '90s. Which is to say, they rock.

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