Arguably one of my most anticipated shows of this winter was the trifecta of Bonelang, label me lecter, and Of Two Minds at Rumba Cafe.
Bonelang’s set was as fun as it always is. This was my fourth time seeing them live: the first being at Skully’s opening for Vesperteen and Damn the Witch Siren, the second being Steadfast 2018, and third alongside Oxymorrons at Rumba.
Their fiery, fun live show was sweetened by the fact that they have a record, Saint Maker, being released in April. After making my 2019 list, I was not expecting another release so soon. However, Samy Sharif has reportedly been shutting himself in the studio consistently cranking out bangers. One was performed this past Tuesday—it has a very Mutemath-esque vibe, with Bonelang’s trademark jazzy alt sound, of course. The demeanor of the full band was very engaging, with Matt Bones functioning as a sort of yin to Samy’s yang. Matt’s soulful vocals are serious, and he’s often lost in the moment, whereas Samy barely ever stops moving on stage and sometimes cracks himself up—though the audience might be more to blame for that. “Mushroom Moon,” a quintessential piece of the Bonelang catalog, had the audience singing along fervently in spite of Samy’s brief slip of the tongue—which ended up in a fun moment of camaraderie for all.
Direct support for the evening was taken on by alt hip hop duo label me lecter, a band with whom Tuned Up has enjoyed a long friendship. The duo is working on a full length, but they elected to keep the new material hidden for just a bit longer, playing a mix of favorites from their two releases thus far. Surprisingly, this was their first appearance in Rumba Cafe, but they adapted well, opening with the bombastic “Dear World,” and sprinkling in crowd pleasers like “Champion,” “Unstoppable,” and “Someday.” The chemistry between B Penn and Mike Rist has never been better. I’m already friends with them, but watching their chemistry in a live setting makes me want to deepen that friendship. A sense of genuine gratitude and fun emanated from their set the entire time. The Bonelang fans caught on to this, walking up to the band to offer their compliments after the set. I always love watching that happen.
Of Two Minds, a math rock quartet, I initially thought to be an odd choice for this bill. How would pop-inclined and CD1025 radio fans react to this band with odd time signatures and no vocals? I got my answer when I watched side stage, and I observed Bonelang’s Samy rhythmically swaying his hands in “oh, that’s epic!” fashion during particular parts of their set with the audience responding in kind. Guitarist Adam Fischer expressed to me their desire to make math rock a bit more accessible to a mass audience after the set (or perhaps it was Cory Robbins? Forgive my paltry memory). I’m optimistic about that goal.