Last Friday The Mantras brought the “Rawk Show” from Greensboro, North Carolina to The Broadberry in Richmond, Virginia. For many this was the sole show of their Turkey Day weekend, while to some it was the raging after party to Keller Williams’ Thanksforgrassgiving shindig at The National. From either perspective, The Mantras held their own.
The Jauwala Collective opened the night nicely with lead singer/bassist/Gimbri player Ismail Bouzidoune whipping the crowd into a frenzy with heavy doses of funk and Moroccan-influenced rhythm jams. Ismail visibly ran the show but Kevin Johnson and David Price-Gibson on drums where almost hypnotically locked from the start.
The Mantras relied on mostly tried and true tour favorites, with “Jabberwocky” and “Kinetic Bounce” making appearances in the first set. “Jabberwocky” showed hints of Jauwala’s world music incorporated into the band’s always evolving sound. The highlight of the night was easily in the heaviness of the more metal influenced breakdowns late in the first set. Before set break The Mantras closed with an especially tight cover of “21st Century Schizoid Man” by King Crimson, blowing minds and leaving the room salivating for more.
In a mid-show conversation, Keith Allen (lead vocals and guitar) and the rest of the band gave insight on the cardinal rules of mythical creatures and any dream collaborations for 2016 Mantrabash. While all band members in the room expressed gratitude for Bernie Worrell making an appearance with them this year, their laundry list of dream collaborations for next year included holograms of Wu Tang Clan’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard and the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, along with jamtronica giants Papadosio. As far as any tips on dealing with mythical creatures, Allen advised: “You just don’t f*** with [The Jabberwocky] man. He is one bad m***** f*****,” which seemed like reasonable logic.
Looking towards the rest of the year and on, The Mantras will be finishing up a few east coast stops, including a hometown show at the Blind Tiger in Greensboro, North Carolina, and a New Year’s show in Asheville, North Carolina alongside Pigeons Playing Ping Pong before hopping on the Papadosio tour for a few dates in January. As always we can all look forward to Mantrabash 2016, which will hopefully be a tad dryer, feature a hologram or two, and another late night Talking Dead set.
Written by Max Wiggins