Hey Mercedes / The Ghost / Koufax

Hey Mercedes/The Ghost/Koufax: live in Milwaukeelive in Milwaukee (2002)
Vagrant Records

Reviewer Rating: 4

Contributed by: maverickScott
(others by this writer | submit your own)

You know you've made it when you have a tour bus. As I arrived to the Rave bar in Milwaukee, WI, the Hey Mercedes tour bus stuck out like a sore thumb, being surrounded by the other bands' worn-down Ford Econolines. But hey, they've earned it, and they proved why as soon as they got on stage. F.

You know you've made it when you have a tour bus. As I arrived to the Rave bar in Milwaukee, WI, the Hey Mercedes tour bus stuck out like a sore thumb, being surrounded by the other bands' worn-down Ford Econolines. But hey, they've earned it, and they proved why as soon as they got on stage.

First up on the bill, however, was Blue Sky Major. I know absolutely nothing about their history, but I can tell you that their music was very generic-sounding. They seemed to be yearning for a Vagrant Records contract, as their sound was basically an amalgamation of Hey Mercedes and Saves The Day - nothing too special at all [although, from a technical standpoint, their drummer is really, really good].

It was at this point that I bumped into two new friends, Katie and Megan, who I had previously met at the Jimmy Eat World concert in Chicago a few weeks ago. They looked great and were ready to rock [except Megan - she was ready to propose to Bob Nanna, Hey Mercedes' singer - but that's another story]. So as introductions were shared, Koufax took the stage.

I severely dislike Koufax. You can read more about this in my review of the Reggie and the Full Effect show I caught last year. They were just as bad as I remembered, playing seemingly the same songs as they did a year prior. They did play some tracks off their forthcoming Vagrant release "The Social Life," such as the title track as well as "Younger Body." Overall, they were as bland and tepid as the glass of water I had this morning. The only exciting thing to happen all set was during their last song when some "masked men" [Hey Mercedes] took the stage and assaulted the band with silly string in a "last show of tour" attack. The sheer comedic value of the incident completely overshadowed the band's whole set.

Kicking things up a notch was transplanted Chicagoans the Ghost. This was my fourth time in less than a year seeing this band [and I'm hopefully seeing them again in September to make it 5], and they get better and better with each show. Their set consisted of some of gems off their "This Is A Hospital" disc, like "Death By The Bay," "Red Slippers Red Wheels," and "Diffuser." They also played a few new songs which sound killer, as well as the live favorite "A Letter From God" [now available for download on their website]. To top their set off, they played "By The Books" and I went absolutely nuts. This is my favorite song by them and it was the first time I had seen them play it live - it smoked moreso than I would've thought. The band's new guitarist Paul did an admirable job on the old songs, and didn't make any discernable mistakes [whatup, T-Top!]. *Go see this band.* You will come away a better person for it. But now, on to the final act.

As the lights darkened, Hey Mercedes took the stage and jumped into album opener "Frowning Of A Lifetime." Wasting no time, "11 To Your 7" was next, followed by a string of "Everynight Fire Works" tracks. Some of the songs seemed to be a little under-tempo, but they have been on the road for six weeks straight, so I expected them to be a little winded. My only real complaint was that they were touring in support of their new EP ["The Weekend"], but didn't play a single song off it [except for album track "Our Weekend Starts On Wednesday"]. What gives? It's your first new released material in 9 months and you just ignore it? That kinda bummed me out, but I soon recovered as the band played "Que Shiraz" - this song is the spicy jam of the summer for me. It's the perfect driving song.

By the end of the night, all but 2 tracks ["The Slightest Idea" and "What You're Up Against"] had been played, as well as all four tracks off the band's debut EP. This almost didn't happen, as "Stay Six" wasn't on the setlist, but with only one song left to go [the traditional set closer "Let's Go Blue"], Bob decided that "Stay Six" should be played as well [and I thank him for it, because that song is amazing]. The audience fed off the band as much as the band fed off the audience, and they were pulling out no stops for this, the last show of their 6 week tour. As the guitar breakdown began in "Let's Go Blue," half of Koufax stormed the stage wearing nothing but thongs and Hey Mercedes girlie T's and assaulted Bob and company with birthday cake [it was the bassist of the Ghost's birthday that night]. It was side-splittingly hilarious, and I can only hope that when my pictures get developed it does the incident justice.

Hey Mercedes has definitely hit their stride - I cannot wait for them to record something new. Their new guitarist sounded great, and the vocal harmonies he added to the previously existing tracks were stellar. They earned the right to have a tour bus last Sunday night. Keep up the good work, boys.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
maverick (April 3, 2003)

I used to loathe them, correct. They grew on me, what can I say?


Anonymous (March 30, 2003)

wait...didn't you once say that Hey Mercedes sucked? maybe that was just my imagination

Anonymous (October 29, 2002)

that is odd that you like hey mercedes in this review, but in your krazyfest 3 review you hated their guts.

by the way, koufax is awesome!!!

Anonymous (September 4, 2002)

You can blare whatever out of your escalade just like Puff Didaddy can blare whatever he wants out of his porsche and still be part of the rap scene.

If you've been in the scene that long, did none of it sink in, or did you just outgrow it save the music, which is the more arbitrary aspect of it.

Anonymous (September 3, 2002)

to that guy a couple posts down really is generalizing. I wear Abercrombie and american eagle alike yet i have been in the "punk" scene longer than alot of people, probably most people on these pages. ive been to so many show with so many bands no one has ever heard of and ill drive away from a show in my escalade on 24's blaring what ever the fuck i want
Top Gun

Anonymous (September 3, 2002)

jimmy eat world rules penis. you fucking posers. they're not ugly. and what the fuck is up with that Avril chick who thinks she's hot? ATTENTION CORPORATE FACEGYMES: WE DON'T WANT YOU IN OUR showers!!!

Anonymous (September 3, 2002)

where are you from? Ive seen the ghost about 5 times, and I too am seeing them in september in iowa city for the zillionth time. Are you from chicago?

I just want to say the mp3 of "A letter from God" on their website is unmastered if anyone thinks it sounds funny. I can't wait for that split to come out, all the new songs sound great live, especcially "Curtain Calls".


Anonymous (September 2, 2002)

emo sucks alot o' ass

WussEmoRock (August 31, 2002)

all bad bands, well, ghost are pretty cool and hey mercedez you can go to sleep too without getting annoyed haha, but koufax just plain suck


Anonymous (August 29, 2002)

you guys need to calm down!

who gives a fuck about whatever someone else listens to, or they call themselves "punk". i know it's a load of crap and you know it's a load of crap. to hell with em'!

also, koufax was signed to vagrant before saves the day, and signed by the get up kids. and the dashboard cd only sold like 12,000 copies as of early this year compared the get kids' last cd which knocked around 75,000 copies. they made the label and broke the label and lost fans. plain and simple.

Anonymous (August 29, 2002)

i actually agree w/ the guy a couple of posts down. I think alot of those people are dumbing down the scene, but i wouldnt be to worried about it, thier will be another trend that will replace punk soon. Also if your trying to introduce people to punk dont start off w/ hardcore right away, do eaisier stuff to get into like ALK3, Queers, Screeching Weasel, and then move on to harder bands.

Anonymous (August 29, 2002)

My opinion is that Koufax is one of the best bands around right now - very original - props to vagrant for stepping out of their usual midtempo boring saves the day lineup. Their probably not for fans of HM, Get up Kids and the like, they should tour with some more diverse bands - I'm not exactly sure who that would be however.

My 2 cents

RobC93 (August 29, 2002)

who said Blake's voice sucks? I'll punch them in the face.

no, you actually made some valid points. I drive a SUV, its a 94, but a SUV none the less and I'll drive away listening to Jawbreaker before I listen to NFG. You did make a lot of generalizations but what the hell, its your opinion.

that avril chick needs to be punched though, right along with whoever dissed jawbreaker.

Anonymous (August 29, 2002)

i'm probably gonna sound like an elitist asshole for saying this but fuck it...

is anyone else tired of the kids who run around in A&F, American Eagle, Gap etc clothes who listen to nothing but radio-punk referring to themselves as punk? or the little girls who idolize Good Charlotte and the like and consider themselves punkrockers. i'm all for supporting kids who have a genuine interest in the scene, hell we've all been one of them at one point but the people who just do it because it's the "cool thing" really annoy me. i know some kids like that and i try to point them in the right direction by lending em some records (black flag= "it's just noise!", dead kennedys= "it's too weird and his voice is annoying", jawbreaker= "his voice sucks"). or i might take em to a local show ("these bands all suck! there are a lot of weird people here, let's go.") as they pull away in their SUV blairing New Found Glory. people like that really suck the life out of the genre/lifestyle and they are in the majority. their typical response is: "punk is just about doing whatever the fuck you want. i wanna dress like every other faceless preppy/jock kid and i wanna listen to pleasant little diddies that come from my radio so i am punk rock. you're just a fucking elititist conforming to non-conformity! we are the real non-conformists!". blah blah blah.

to use my favorit 7th grade quote: "posers suck!"

i know i'll take some heat for that one, but im tired of something that means quite a lot to me being so trivialized and distorted.

childofpunk76 (August 28, 2002)

"jimmy eat world sucks. you fucking posers. they're not punk. and what the fuck is up with that Avril chick who thinks she's punk? ATTENTION CORPORATE FUCKFACES: WE DON'T WANT YOUY IN OUR SCENE!!"

HAHAHA. I hope you weren't being serious.

Anonymous (August 28, 2002)

ghost are bomb. they're gonna blow up like woah, put money on it.

Anonymous (August 28, 2002)

Your entire review is negated by your use of the phrase "spicy jam of the summer".

Try again!

Anonymous (August 28, 2002)

jimmy eat world sucks. you fucking posers. they're not punk. and what the fuck is up with that Avril chick who thinks she's punk? ATTENTION CORPORATE FUCKFACES: WE DON'T WANT YOUY IN OUR SCENE!!

Anonymous (August 28, 2002)

hey scott,
give koufax a chance, they play happy music that puts you in a good mood, sure they may be a little weird, but they have a lot of originality. kudos to them. :) thanks for the agua, see you soon.

Anonymous (August 28, 2002)

I saw the tour in San Diego... With Piebald and Audio Learning Center. Hey Mercedes rocked far beyond all my expectations... Over an hour of pure rock. Only thing that sucked was they didn't play Stay Six like in Milwakee... (It is my favorite HM song)

Anonymous (August 27, 2002)

Actually I think a lot of Vagrant's success has come from Saves the Day as well. They had tour buses for last years Vagrant tour. Much of their success has come from Dashboard as you stated below though.

I don't dislike Koufax, but I really wouldn't say I don't like them. They're kinda neat.


lockdown59 (August 27, 2002)

Hey Mercedes is OK. I probably shouldn't judge yet, seing as I have only heard "11 to you 7" and another song of the full length. Oh well, I will give them a listen.

And the tour bus comes as no surprise. Vagrant is rolling in the dough with the surprise success of Dashboard. (Honestly, I didn't see it comeing.)

Anonymous (August 27, 2002)

I was at this show and it was Delightful. It really brightened up my day after being awoken by the police at 8am. I thought Blue Sky Major were good, but Koufax? Does anyone like these guys? Oh yeah, I'll probably see Hey Mercedes on Friday too since they're playing a free show in Madison. Rock n Roll!


Anonymous (August 27, 2002)

I would just like to say...
simply because one is ready to propose, doesn't mean that she is not ready to rock.

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