Two months ago, we happened across a performance by Mantis, an eagerly funky and inwardly quirky indie-rock band we'd heard mentioned but never actively sought out. Their show, in short, was quite remarkable, an effort spearheaded by vocalist/keyboardist/bow-tie enthusiast Nick Greer.
Writing this column for a couple of years now, our Search That Band Out skills have been honed to a sharpness that razors envy: Go to Google, type in a band's name, click on the first link. So after we saw Mantis, we assumed we'd be able to find them online. We could not, and almost two months passed before we saw their name pop up on a flyer for a show again.
But we finally signed them to the Artist of the Week earlier this week, stealing a few moments from them to talk about neckwear, who their best metaphorical basketball player would be and whether or not their bassist killed someone.
Rocks Off: Artist of the Week opener: Tell everyone everything they need to know about Mantis in exactly six words.
Mantis: Best rock band from Houston.
RO: How often does Mantis pray? [badum-tsssh] See what we did there? See that? Clever, right?
Mantis: We believe in magic.
RO: The one question that came back to us more than any other when we told people that we were going to be interviewing you all: Why oh why is Nick Greer wearing that gigantic bow tie in the "Money" video? What does it represent? Or does it represent nothing but is supposed to represent something? Or something.
M: The bow tie is a symbol for every person that is afraid, as most people are. We are not, and by making ourselves look stupid we hope to convey to everyone else that there is nothing to be afraid of.