Mantras Return to the Blind Tiger 03-19-2011

The Mantras shred Greensboro with a long-awaited "homecoming" show at the Blind Tiger.

As I've recently documented, March marked my return to the "new" Tiger, with a series of shows at the posh, upgraded facility.  After reviewing Big Something for Homegrown on the 4th, I witnessed the cathartic stomp of Southern Culture on the Skids the following Friday, with Greensboro locals, the Malamondos, providing an opening Barrage of sexpot, spy rock.  As fun as those shows were, I really looked forward to March 19th the most, which marked the Mantras' first hometown show playing "original" material since July 2010.  The Mantras have been busy in the meantime, maintaining a tireless touring schedule across North Carolina and surrounding states in the Southeast.  When the opportunity to play the "new" Tiger finally came to light, it was a long-overdue homecoming.   By the time the Mantras took the stage, the crowd and the band members were obviously jazzed and ready for the night's unfolding.

The Mantras ripped through a torrid mini-set, opening with an extended airy intro, before tearing into the playful campiness of "Eye of the Tiger."  The exhilarating thump of bass introduces a frantic "Magillicuddy," while "Water Song > Blue Tiger" closes the mini-set.  The band takes a short break then returns to the stage to deliver an epic rendition of "Dr. Ssanasinod > Submersible Pump."  Guitarist Keith Allen takes a moment before the set to thank the audience for their support over the years, and encourages the attendees to support the new Tiger with attendance at other shows.  Allen reminds the crowd that their support will be the difference for the New Tiger.  After all, the Mantras have a devoted fan base (playfully dubbed "The Man-tourage" in certain arenas) that will travel far and wide to see them, while other bands may feel lucky to play for even ten individuals.  Thankfully, 10 member audiences are a thing of the past for the Mantras, and this Saturday night crowd was particularly rowdy, boisterous and ready for the Mantras "homecoming."

The second half of the set was highlighted by a nice Billy Joel cover ("Moving Out") and a frantic rendition of the Mantras standard, "Jabberwocky."  Keyboardist Justin Powell delivers scintillating runs down the keys for "Jabberwocky," adding a new layer of depth and complexity to a longtime crowd favorite.  Marcus Horth lays down frenzied riffs to close, peeling paint off the freshly spackled walls.  After a jazzy interlude that featured local horn player Walter Fancourt on saxophone, the Mantras close the set by reprising "Dr. Ssanasinod," which had begun the set.  The crowd responds warmly, and cajoles a lengthy encore set out of the band.  The encore set featured excellent slide guitar from Keith Allen during the "Sanford and Son Theme," and several choice versions of "Slow Down," "Cairo," and "The Way Life Goes" are delivered to fill out the body of the encore.  The band closes with a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek reprise of "Eye of the Tiger" as the "last call" lights flash at the bar.  

As the denizens of the Tiger paid their bar tabs, gathered their belongings, and made for the nighttime air, I reflected on a particularly energetic show.   The hard working fellows in the Mantras had delivered a frantic set, and this will be the first of many that they will grace that particular stage with.  I look forward to seeing more, and hope to see You out there with me.

Set I

  1. Eye Of The Tiger->*
  2. Magillicuddy
  3. Water Song->
  4. Blue Tiger**

Set II

  1. Dr Ssanasinod->
  2. Submersible Pump->
  3. Pointing The Finger
  4. Moving Out->
  5. Jaberwocky->***
  6. Dr Ssanasinod


  1. Sanford and Son Theme
  2. Slow Down
  3. Cairo->
  4. The Way Life Goes->
  5. Eye Of The Tiger (Reprise)
-by J. Evan Wade

You May Also Like