Indulge your inner hipster and hop on the Mansions on the Moon bandwagon now because pretty soon it’ll be standing room only. Mansions is an indie/alternative/synth group comprised of Ted Wendler on lead vocals and guitar, drummer Lane Shaw, bassist Jeff Maccora and keyboardist Ben Hazlegrove, who was raised in Virginia Beach. The band’s self-described style is “chillwave.” What does that mean exactly? Well, what do you get when you mix one part acoustic instrumentation, one part dexterous drumming, two parts synth sparkle and one part soaring, ethereal vocals? After experiencing Mansions last night at The Southern, I can tell you this recipe produces a sound that strikes a perfect balance between introspection and escapism.
The intimate setting of the stage at The Southern provided a laid-back atmosphere, and Mansions delivered an entrancing medley of songs from their Paradise Falls Mixtape, their 2012 EP Lightyears and a collection of other singles. Mansions took full advantage of the acoustic atmosphere of The Southern, producing a spectrum of sound that spanned from thumping bass, which reverberated in the chests of the audience members, to melodic mixtures of Wendler’s vocals and Hazlegrove’s slick synth effects. A sleepy Sunday night in Charlottesville turned psychedelic as “chillwaves” of sound washed over the small but enthusiastic crowd.
The group has been officially together for about two years, but already they have collaborated with artists such as Deadmau5, Xaphoon Jones (of Chiddy Bang), Foster the People and Mac Miller. Mansions performed as part of 2012’s South by Southwest music festival, and they joined Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller during their Green Carpet Tour last year.
Highlights from the group’s 2012 EP Lightyears include “Leaves Fall” and “Athens,” but to truly experience the range of the group’s talent and depth, I would recommend going back to one of the band’s earliest singles, “She Makes Me Feel.”
Fans of MGMT, Empire of the Sun, Passion Pit and Phantogram will find a new favorite in Mansions on the Moon. If you missed their Charlottesville show, your next chance to catch Mansions will be Friday, Nov. 16, when they put on a free show in Washington, D.C. at Andrew Mellon Auditorium as part of their U.S. tour with Cherub. A Mansions concert is a transcendent experience, and the band members are down-to-earth people who have no problem chatting and drinking with the audience after the show. So get ahead of the next big thing in music (and perhaps real estate — who knows?), and check out Mansions on the Moon.