Hey Mercedes/The Reunion Show/Sarcasm - live in Hartford (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Hey Mercedes / The Reunion Show / Sarcasm

live in Hartford (2004)

live show

The University of Hartford hosted this free show at one of its cafés - in another words, a tiny area and an eight-foot high ceiling creating a nice, intimate atmosphere.

Sometimes She Burns opened the whole thing. Emotional rock with punk leanings, they sounded pretty energetic and coordinated considering it was their second show that day, having played at Day 3 of the All About Records Fest in Massachusetts earlier in the day. Their cover of "The Brews" sounded tight.

Brookside came on with a revamped lineup, but alas, the question plagued me - would Lisa Simpson cure herself of the newfound jealousy over her baby sister's 174 IQ? Well, after we all watched on the café's big screen TV that Lisa was feeding Maggie answers at the school's audition, I headed back to watch the rest of their set. I don't think the The Starting Line-ripoffs have settled into being a three-piece yet (they dropped one of their guitarists), because the singer/guitarist had his amp turned up waaay too loud.

Anyway, Sarcasm took the stage shortly thereafter. Their sound was that of a hard and heavy form of emo rock, with occasional screams. Most of the songs were straddling the border of mediocrity, but a couple were pretty good. The vocals were entirely too mushy and indecipherable for my liking, though.

It was then time for The Reunion Show. Less than half the set were made up of songs not on the upcoming album, Don't Cut Your Fabric To This Year's Fashion, but at least the new songs were enjoyable and varied - some bring up that Cure influence that's been plaguing every band on Long Island, and others are happy-sounding and uptempo. They opened things up with "Full Moon" to a pretty statuesque crowd, save for myself. Two new songs, "Photograph" and "Instructions For Making a Model Airplane," followed. The sound of the small space sounded rather hollow, but they stayed energetic and focused. Besides "Television," "Art of Nothing," and two other new songs, the most noteworthy song played was the title track off the upcoming full-length. It has very Egyptian-esque keyboards, and a breakdown involving around half the band contaminating the air with electronics. Overall, a solid set.

Now, before I begin, I have to admit that I am not at all familiar with Braid's material, and I've only heard a song or two from the subsequent band. I'll even go so far as to say that Bob Nanna's voice irks me a bit on the studio recordings. That being said, Hey Mercedes puts on a great live show. Bob leads the charge beautifully, with spectacular energy and passion, even dancing it up himself, and to me at least, smoothes out the vocals wonderfully. The drummer works with his weird setup perfectly, commanding the backdrop. All the songs had a pretty consistent tempo and caused quite a few knee-shakers in the room. Bob also chatted a bit to catch breathers, like expressing his distaste for DeSani bottled water due to its salt content, and denying the drummer's recollection of the band playing the same place five years ago. I was definitely surprised at how much I enjoyed myself, and would absolutely recommend seeing them even if you aren't familiar with them at all.

Set List [from the paper and accurate except for the last song, which wasn't played]