The last two nights have been spent at the Northcote Social Club with Tash and Mary (on Thursday only) to catch the last Melbourne shows for a while by Oh Mercy before they relocate overseas. It was coined as a celebration and both evenings were a bit of an Oh Mercy fest.
The opening act was Slow Dancer (aka Simon Okely) accompanied by James Harding on bass and Myles Wootton (The Panics) on drums. They played an excellent set both nights. There is such a great groove to all of Simon's songs, especially the single "Leave It To Me" (see video below) which has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it over a year ago. I can't wait for his debut album Surrender to be released sometime this year.
Next on the bill was Alexander Gow solo on electric guitar playing some older Oh Mercy songs. He began with "Hold Out Your Hand" and "Blue Lagoon" from Great Barrier Grief. I was so thrilled to hear "Salvation Jane," which is one of my all time favorites and a b-side from one of their first singles. Interestingly it was "In Good Time" (only played on Thursday) and "By The Collar," the two Privileged Woes tracks, that sounded the strongest to me in the set. This could be because I haven't heard them live in years.
Alex did covers of songs by Kieran Ryan (Thursday) and The Panics (Friday) and Jae Laffer of The Panics returned the favor by singing his version of Oh Mercy's "Labour Of Love." Alex also invited Gossling (aka Helen Croome) onto the stage to sing their duet "La Minute De Silence," which was recorded for the Melodie Francaise album of French songs sung by Australian artists. He finished the set with the Deep Heat b-side "Lady Eucalyptus."
Here's the video for "La Minute De Silence," which was shot in Paris a couple months ago:
For Oh Mercy's set Alex returned to the stage with Rohan and began with "Europa" before Eliza and Simon joined them for "Lay Everything On Me." The set was mostly songs off Deep Heat including my favorites "Rebel Beats," "Pilgrim's Blues," "My Man," "Still Making Me Pay" and "Drums." We also got a few Great Barrier Grief tracks with "Keith St," "Stay Please Stay" and Kieran Ryan's lovely cover of "Doldrums."
The funniest moment of the two shows revolved around Simon's birthday on Thursday, which his band members completely forgot about until he announced it on stage. The reason they gave was that they did so many fake celebrations of his birthday at shows that they didn't know the actual date. To make up for it they brought out a birthday cake (complete with a penis drawn on the top) and Jagermeister shots on Friday as we all sang "Happy Birthday" to Simon.
The band was quite sentimental at both shows since these will be the last Australian shows for at least a year. Alex thanked all the familiar faces in the crowd who have supported them over the years. They finished the night with a ripping version of The Waterboys' "Fisherman's Blues" before taking a final bow on stage. It will be a new chapter for Oh Mercy with Alex and Rohan moving to the US for a while but I have
great faith that we will get their best album yet from the experience.