As published in L.A. Record:
I must admit that I have a rather strong affinity for aging rockers from the psychedelic era. They always seem genuinely happy to still be making music, and ’60s Brazilian tropicalia legends Os Mutantes were no exception at last Friday’s El Rey show. Having made a surprise return to the official Brazilian charts this year with their Top 40 hit “Balada do Louco” (a song originally released in 1972), the band returned to the States for their second-ever U.S. micro tour, playing just four dates.
Though original singer Rita Lee was absent, replaced by the very able Zélia Duncan, the rest of the band’s founding members – adorable keyboardist Arnaldo Dias Baptista, his perma-grinned brother/guitarist Sérgio, and drummer Ronaldo Leme – were happy as could be, laughing and dancing throughout the entire set. Along with a handful of young musicians to round out the act, the entire Mutantes ensemble appeared to enjoy performing just as much as the audience enjoyed listening.
Admittedly, halfway during the show I grew increasingly anxious that all I’d be hearing from my favorite ’60s band from Brazil were their still enjoyable but notably sub-par prog tunes from the early ’70s. Thankfully, they were saving the good stuff for last, playing psychedelic favorites like “Baby,” “Bat Macumba,” and my very favorite Mutantes song, the fuzzed-out and highly tropicalia tinged “A Minha Menina,” which they saved as the closing number before the encoures, as if just for me. And aside from the sloppily drunken guy behind me who kept slurring out loud complaints about how “that stupid fat ass security dude” was ruining his show by not allowing him to continue stumbling about all over the aisles in a vain attempt to dance, everyone at the show seemed to have a thoroughly delightful time.