Oh Mercy and friends played at The Workers Club tonight as part of the Rolling Stone Live Lodge series. The opening act for the evening was Melbourne four piece RVG. Frontwoman Romy Vager was quite a captivating presence, and their sound was reminiscent of early 1980s post-punk. It was a really good and authentic set.
Alex kicked off the evening on keyboard playing "Lady Eucalyptus." The first part of the set featured Alex solo on keyboard and guitar with the occasional friend invited to join him on stage for songs. We got to hear old favorites "Lay Everything On Me" and "Keith St.," and Olympia came out to play on the When We Talk About Love tracks "Let Me Be Him" and "Iron Cross." Alex did a beautiful version of Ed Kuepper's "This Hideous Place" on acoustic guitar. When Jae Laffer of The Panics came out he changed things up by playing Alex a song - The Panics' new single "Weatherman."
Being Alex's birthday he was a bit introspective about life and death, and joked that he felt this gig with his friends was like a funeral scene out of an episode of Touched By An Angel (perhaps the first time that tv show has ever been referenced at a concert). This show provided Alex with the opportunity to debut some of the new songs he's been working on. They covered a range of themes from Japanese saunas to crocodile meat, and the stand out track for me was "Hot Topic" with its steady groove.
The second part of the set featured the one night only Oh Mercy "hot rock band" line up containing Laura Jean on bass, Rob McComb (The Triffids) on guitar, Ceci Dowling on
viola, Liam McGorry (Saskwatch) on horns, and Etta
Curry (Loose Tooth) on drums. The band sounded fantastic as they played "My Man" (perhaps the best live version of that song I've heard with Liam's flugelhorn), "Without You" and "Deep Heat." The evening concluded with the band and Jae Laffer doing a cover of Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited." It was an entertaining night with some very talented musicians. Alex says there should be a new Oh Mercy album next year, so that is definitely something to look forward to.