Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mellowdrone at Spaceland

Love was in the air at Spaceland on Valentine's day. Mellowdrone was winding down their mini U.S. tour with a special Valentine's day show at Spaceland. After interviewing Jonathan Bates from Mellowdrone, I was intrigued by his comments about Tony Dematteo's Spielbergian spaceship guitar pedal and was looking forward to hearing some new tunes.

"Beautiful Day" kicked off their set and I was already amazed how full the band managed to sound with three members compared to when I saw them at the OCMA in October of 2006. Jonathan's comments in the interview about playing parts with weight and mass rang true. Mellowdrone's sound seemed to be more cinematic noir as a variety of projected images shone on the members. Jonathan had a vintage Peavey bass that forged a dense fog to contrast with Tony's slicing guitar parts. "Oh My" had Jonathan engage a vocal processor to add different echoes or harmonics to his voice. "Maquina" lifted the audience into outer space as Tony stomped on his Electro Harmonix POG pedal for some alien noises. Tony was effectively alternating between a Fender Telecaster deluxe and a Fender Jazzmaster for a wide range of tones. "And Repeat" was crushing as Brian Borg (Drums) went into a cymbal smashing frenzy to close out the song. Jonathan wished the audience a happy Valentine's day as they launched into "Big Winner" that had a shuffling drum beat that gave way to Jonathan's voice as Tony crept into the song with reverb washed guitars. "Fashionably Uninvited" had its characteristic drone guitar chords before Tony mixed in some POG madness as Jonathan triggered his vocal processor for a stunning version of the song. Jonathan also had an Electro Harmonix Clone Theory and Microsynth to add textures to his bass while Tony had a ProCo Rat and Line 6 delay pedal. Mellowdrone played for close to forty five minutes and the front row of Mellowdrone's admirers were heartbroken when their set came to a close. If this show was any indication of the direction of Mellowdrone's new album, it will break a lot of hearts and win a lot of new fans.

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