The Gig: The Mercy Now (part of Canadian Music Fest 2011)
Where: Comfort Zone, Toronto, Ontario
When: Saturday 12 March 2011
In One Word: Fervent
It’s just nine months since I first clapped eyes on The Mercy Now. Truly, they’ve come along way, baby. First impressions of the Toronto band were good. Though I wasn’t sold quite yet…
On any night of the week you can walk into a Toronto bar or club somewhere and hear a covers or throwback band playing sounds from a bygone era of classic rock. There’s no harm in that, but imitation is exactly that and can never replace the real thing. There was never any danger of The Mercy Now being stuck in the pub rock category of the endless of dire Led Zeppelin/Rolling Stones/MC5 sound-a-likes and tribute acts, because The Mercy Now do not imitate. They invoke. They may have a sound that draws from the past but its their own. And when you see them live you find out they are the real deal.
The set tonight by The Mercy Now at Comfort Zone was a step up from what I’d seen last year: wilder, tighter, freer. Freedom is a big part of The Mercy Now’s live show – music, especially live music, is all about expression and when The Mercy Now play they make damn sure they express themselves right in your faces. Frontman Russ Fernandes howls and screams into the microphone while throwing wild eyes into his audience. With the iconic horns of a Gibson SG, only in bass guitar form, and under the harsh red lights of the venue, Fernandes was a veritable rock and roll devil. As as he sung, sometimes dropping to his knees or going into the crowd, the vocals were delivered with all the fire of a man exercising his demons. Behind him the rest of the band delivered the thunder and crashing noise that we call rock music, and they did it with aplomb. Total rock and soul.
The Mercy Now have arrived. So much so that they gave established blues-rock power trio catl a very tough act to follow as they played in an area to the side of the room before the Zoobombs came on to wrap up a brilliant gig. [More on the Zoobombs soon in a separate story.] Catch The Mercy Now live to experience their wild musical expression for yourself.
© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice
Pictures of The Mercy Now:
Internet links: The Mercy Now