The Double Door Inn
Charlotte, North Carolina
May 23, 2009
The Mantras, a regional band out of Greensboro, NC, seem to make waves wherever they go. Perhaps best described as an improvisational band with rock, jazz, and even metal overtones, the band cites a number of influences, from Umphreys McGee and The Grateful Dead to the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frank Zappa.
The current lineup has been together for about two years old, since Brent Vaugn joined the band; the band felt adding another percussionist was necessary to balance the three front men and their onslaught of musical notes.
The band’s setlist at The Double Door Inn, a well-known yet small club, was mostly originals. They are currently touring with about 40 songs of their own, and being the birthday of the club’s booking manager, the party atmosphere was high.
The band started with theme from Knight Rider, and shortly in, drummer Justin Lowe’s bass drum head broke. After a few minutes for repair to repair the broken gear, the band dropped the crowd into to a new song, “Don’t Sound the Alarm.” Marcus Horth and Keith Allen two-guitar style gives the band a forceful style, displayed as the band ended the first set with The Allman Brothers Band’s “No One To Run With.”
The second set was more of a standard Mantras set; “Soft News” into “Prelude” > ”Interlude” and finally into “Blue Tiger.” These guys are not a traditional jam band by any stretch, but it’s not for lack of skill. Brian Tyndall’s fingers moved like a spider over the neck of his five-string bass, the percussionists worked together like a machine, and at one point during the evening the improv section did cover about 10 minutes.
It was a great show from some Carolina boys in their own neck of the woods.