The Mantras 

Residency at The 8×10

Week Two

written by Lora Ireland and George Jones

photos credit Kindones Photography

On a chilly November night in Baltimore, things were sure to heat up at The 8×10. It was week two of the Mantras residency with Consider the Source opening. The small pre-show crowd was abuzz with excitement, not only for The Mantras but also for Consider the Source.


Having not been able to recall the last time I saw Consider the Source, I relied on the talk in the club to know I was in for a night that I would soon not be able to forget.  As they took the stage, the first thing that grabbed my eye was Gabriel Marin’s double neck guitar; it was the first time I had ever seen one played live. As the lighting started to fall upon their plain white clothes, it seemed as though the lights danced along with the music.  I was hypnotized by the glowing outfits and infectious, almost unreal bass chords and downright body-vibrating drum beats.  I felt my entire mood change as I was sent on a musical and visual journey.  Before I knew it I had stopped taking pictures and began smiling and swaying along with beats of Jeff Mann (Drums), while staying focused on the fingers of Gabriel and John Ferrara (Bass) as they seemed to move so gracefully upon the strings that were being played. I was sad to see their set end but during the approx.  15 minute break between Consider the Source and The Mantras I was able to step outside and cleanse the palette of my ears as a food critic would rest his mouth before testing the next entrée.


The week before, The Mantras had put on a blistering set that drove the crowd to the edge and back.  For night two of their residency it did not look like things were going change. Wasting no time, they immediately brought out the sounds that got the spring-loaded dance floor hopping. Keith Allen and Ken Mogell up front and center provided not only powerful vocals and strings but also a stage presence that kept the audience shaking and smiling. Opening with the fan favorite sci-fi knife wielding robot laden mayhem of Dr Ssanasinod, the band tore into the night with no fear. The night continued as they seamlessly moved into House of Cards, where you could hear that the new keyboardist Jullian Sizemore, after his first full week of touring duties, was beginning to feel truly at home with his new band mates. The set continued on through Five Roads, Sunana, and into Rocky Peace Blues, as well as performing a high powered cover of Alice in Chains’ hit SpoonMan with the Mantras’ own Brent Vaughn on spoons. Only mid-way through the set, they had already turned the dance floor into a straight hoedown led by the beats and rhythm laid down by bassist Brian Tyndall and drummer Justin Loew.  With the songs Hobo Ken leading into Song For You leading into a tremendous cover of Joe Walsh’s Life’s Been Good, if you were not square dancing, stomping your feet or clapping your hands you were not listening. The evening ended with Gabriel Marin from Consider the Source returning to the stage to sit in on an improvisational jam leading back into a closing Dr. Ssanasinod.  The unity and energy of Ken & Gabriel was so unreal that if you had just walked in the venue you would have believed they were in the same band and have been playing together for many years. At the end of the set, instead of leaving the stage and making us beg for more, Keith Allen stepped up to the microphone and said “You all know what comes next, so we’re just going to stay up here a play some more for you.” At this point they went into to their encore of Knot Suite and Soft News to wrap our musical misadventure together.


I was truly blessed this night to be surrounded by such amazing artists, venue staff and strangers who became friends before the night was done, and it’s hard to believe I get to do this every Wednesday night in November at The 8×10! Night three of residency is shaping up to be the biggest and best night yet. With a lineup of Baltimore Jam Scenes’ finest including Chris Beck, Jon Brady (of ELM), Mike Chappell (of Sol Frequency, The Golden Guns) and Ben Kolakowski of Deltanine coming together to  create the improvised musical super-group, PoundTown to open for the Mantras, this Wednesday at the 8×10 is looking to be filled with even more musical surprises. See you out there!