Mellowdrone sparks their sonic magic again at the Teragram Ballroom

Mellowdrone at the Teragram Ballroom, October 27th, 2018. Photos by Michelle Shiers

After a nine year hiatus, indie-rock band Mellowdrone have returned to eager and open arms.  Fronted by singer-guitarist Jonathan Bates (also of Big Black Delta), guitarist Tony DeMatteo and drummer Brian Borg, Mellowdrone have re-sparked and on Saturday night, they performed at the Teragram Ballroom in support of their new EP, “3,” released in September.  Much of Mellowdrone’s subject matter revolves around emotional struggles laid atop a densely layered sonic mass of hyperbole.  Their tracks also often sound as if they’re written by trained musicians trying to break out and away from everything they were taught.

One of the feelings most palpable during Mellowdrone’s set, as they opened with “Way Out” from this year’s earlier release “2018,” is that this reunion was very unlikely to have ever happened, but magically it has.  However much struggle was felt in the last near-decade with music, family, theft, self-worth, alcoholism and the state of the country, Bates & co. seemed to fall back into Mellowdrone once again like fitting into a favorite retired t-shirt.

Although the crowd at the Teragram was a bit light for a Saturday night (no doubt due to that ball game across the other side of downtown, aka the World Series), fans were attentive and craning their necks to see the heavily backlit trio who played a few favorites from their 2006 release “Box,” including “Four Leaf Clover,” “Beautiful Day” and “Fashionably Uninvited.”    

Mellowdrone said very little between songs aside from a few thank you’s to those who traveled near and far.  For the first time in a long time it felt like the band were finally getting to let it out, again. 

The night was supported by L.A.’s own Avid Dancer fronted by Jacob Summers who, along with his wife/muse Sharaya Summers and music-mate Rachel Goodrich, sprinkled his emotive pop confectionery over the crowd.  Also opening for Mellowdrone were local dream-punkers Earth Is a Death Star.

Photos by Michelle Shiers