You like the Melismatics. You may not know it but you like them. If you’re into punk and new wave, the Melismatics brand of guitar heavy, high-energy rock will be right up your alley. If you lean more toward radio friendly pop The Melismatics pop hooks will also be irresistible to you. They are one of those unique bands that is in-between genres that listeners from both sides enjoy their music.
The Melismatics make the about 6 hour road trip down to St. Joseph from Minneapolis a couple times a year on average and have found a home away from home at the local club The Rendezvous. The group knows many crowd members by name and appear to be well within their comfort zone on the small stage adorned by the band’s smoke machines and stage lights on this night.
The Melismatics took the stage confronting difficulties with the sound that it would appear would not get completely ironed out for the length of the show. Being the only band to take the stage on this night, they would go on a little later trying to get the sound right. The band showed frustration until their set officially started then the stage personas of the band members would take over. The four member group led by guitarist and vocalist Ryan Smith is very active on stage. Complimenting him on guitar and keyboards is Pony Hixon who also sings several songs. Rounding out the band is animated bassist Mark Wade and the steady beats of drummer Ron Caron.
Their set would be very well received by a late arriving crowd on this December 7th show at The Rendezvous. They would mainly concentrate on tunes from their last two albums; The Acid Test and Mania!. Massive sing-alongs always accompany favorites like “Modern Machines” and “Industry of Cool.” 80’s new wave would ooze from the Pony song “Your Love Is A Poison” and crunchy guitar adorned the quasi-duet between Hixon and Smith, “Soul Sucker.” Ryan Smith would refuse wipe the sweaty hair clinging to his forehead away as he tore into the rocker “Can’t Relate” that was highlighted by Wade’s tasty bass line and proved to be one of the best moments of the show. Smith would then dedicate a cover of the band’s hometown heroes The Replacements to local music writer Danny Phillips. Smith would comment that they were requested to play “…this exact song” as they hammered out an appropriately loose cover of “Alex Chilton.”
The band would then show their comfort level by testing out a new song, playing it for the first time with Smith commenting “At the very least, if we train wreck it’s special because it’s new.” After not train wrecking on the new tune the band went back to songs they perform nearly every show like “It’s A Drag” and “Speaking In Tongues.” They would take the screaming vocals of “Speaking In Tongues” into a “fake” encore where the band would remain on stage. They would then invite friend and local comedian Hootie Wales on stage where Wales chose an older Melismatics song, “You’re My Habit” to play guitar on to close out the evening. Another 70 minute set was added to the hours upon hours the band has logged at The Rendezvous in St. Joseph. If you missed it be sure to check the paper for their next appearance, after all, you already like them.