Mixing a blend of intricate compositions, catchy songs and a fun stage presence, all with an exploratory attitude towards group improvisation, an evening with Boston-based “Neo-Jam Band” Mondo Gecko is always an adventure. The group’s funk rock sound infuses elements of electronica, space grass, reggae, and jazz fusion.
The sounds of guitarist Luke Stratton and keyboardist Eric McEwen contrast and combine, fusing together throughout jams and compositions alike. Luke’s funky rhythms, soaring leads, and psychedelic wizardry contrast and combine with Eric’s soulful organ lines, vibrant Rhodes textures, classically infused jazz piano, and cosmic synth leads. Their signing voices are equally compatible: Luke’s distinct baritone voice melds harmoniously with Eric’s smooth tenor tone. Bassist Matt Drummey’s rock, jazz and funk influences emit a “Gordon meets Lesh” sound not to dissimilar from a concerto for thunder clouds, and when combined with drummer Aaron Morey’s loose, exploratory rhythms, tight funk grooves, and bangin’ disco house beats, they push the ensemble into overdrive.
The group’s musical educations have helped open pathways for a higher level of communication. “These guys are skilled enough not to get lost in the ethereal when they improvise,” says Janie Franz of Skope Magazine. “Mondo Gecko produces a dynamic, fun live show…There are fans out there waiting for them.”
Mondo Gecko strives to make their events more than just concerts; their concern for ambiance is apparent as soon as you walk through the doors. Their black-lit merch booth, neon stickers and glow-in-the-dark Geckos have become visual signatures. Tapestries, mood lighting, and even smoke-filled bubble machines are common place. “We really try to play rooms that not only sound great, but look cool as well,” says Eric. “If they don’t look cool, we make ‘em!”
The band also stresses the importance of community, and their “fans are family” motto is their modus operandi. Their road manager, their merch girls, their street team – they all started as fans. Shedding the old dichotomy of a band and its “fanbase”, Mondo Gecko instead considers the audience part of the show. Live painting, interpretive dance, artistic photography, and of course live recording are not only allow but encouraged.