Montrey blends folk and jazz at WTSR concert

Music. Food. Free stuff. Alluring as these features of the night were, it was the distinct sound of the Mike Montrey Band that brought students to the Kendall Hall TV studio for the second WTSR Concert Series of the semester Sept. 10.

Montrey, equipped with a bright pink guitar, took the stage with flair. The studio was brought to life through the animated band members, whose eclecticism was accentuated by the presence of a blue lava lamp and Yoda statue.

The band opened the show with “World Full of Dreams,” the first song off their recent album, “A Perfect Reality.” They followed up with other tracks off the album, including “Take Me Down Mississippi,” “Care for Me Tomorrow” and “Mr. Last Night.”

These songs were a compilation of different styles and rhythms, combining the smooth, jazzy saxaphone of Adam Garnys, the thunderous drumming of Rob Smith, the rumbling bass of John Mangan, the melodic piano of Karl Dietel and the raspy, yet inspired voice of Mike Montrey.

The audience sat mesmerized by the explosive energy of the music and the enthusiasm and passion of the band members.

While this was the band’s first performance at the College, Montrey, the lead singer and namesake of the band, was impressed by what he called the “intimate” atmosphere in the studio.

“I like the pink chairs,” he said.

The band continued to joke with the audience throughout the performance. In honor of the start of the fall semester, and to the amusement of the audience, the band covered Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall,” slowing it to a crawl.

Montrey, a New Jersey native, is currently touring with his band in cities across the state, and in locations in Pennsylvania and New York. In an interview with Lions Now, the 31-year-old said he’d been playing since he was 17.

When asked what he envisioned for himself in 15 years, Montrey enthusiastically said, “I’ll definitely still be playing.”

Montrey’s music refuses to be stylistically categorized, derived from many traditional forms such as folk, jazz, country and rock, a combination that left the audience – though small – wanting more.