Friday, February 11, 2011

Mercies - Jake Troth -- Black Cat - Feb 10 2011

Jake Troth - Taking the backstage first we have Mr. Troth who is solo with prerecorded accompaniment. He cradles the microphone and moves about a bit with awkward thin white duke moves. He has an excellent voice and the songs are nice lush pop tunes. There is an edginess to some of the lyrics and it is attractive music for the most part. Still, there is something karaoke about this. It is better than someone sitting in front of a Macbook, but just not the same as a band or a solo artist playing at least one instrument. But there was the bonus of a quick encore of a couple of songs with him sitting down doing some nice folkier numbers on acoustic guitar. There's some talent here. We shall see what happens next.

Mercies - This is my second time seeing this new local band within a week and I have now seen 2/3 of their shows to date. In spite of all that expertise, I am still trying to get a feel for their sound. And that is a good thing. They have a nice combination of sounds and songs that vary a bit, but not to a point where they lose their identity as if they were a cover band. They seemed a little stronger and more rocking tonight and I was even reminded of such powerhouse trios like the Minutemen and Nomeansno. They are not quite in that league, yet, but they have a good start at it. All three players have a good sense of rhythm and there are some nice funky pulses at times beyond their more rocking material. The crowd is enthusiastic and it is about half full, which is nice for a couple of yet-to-be-known local acts (yeah, there are a few ringers/friends I recognize from the other night, but that is good that they have friendly support). I do like their vocals and detected some interesting harmonic comparisons with them and an oddball psyche-folk outfit called Forest. Again, they are not that extreme, but it is interesting to hear all these unique elements come together like this. They played almost 45 minutes and even did an encore of Devo's "Mongoloid" which was written when both Devo and I lived in Ohio, in what appears to be a year well before any of these three guys were born. That always fascinates me.

Quote of the Night: Jake Troth told the supportive crowd that he'd come back... "if you're real quiet, I'll play one on acoustic guitar." And after two songs "I can't believe you were that quiet. Thanks." My how refreshing, that a simple reminder of crowd etiquette can actually work. There is hope for those of us that come to listen. Thanks, Jake.

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