Before they embark on a national tour launching their second album, The Great Barrier Grief, Oh Mercy played a short set at the Triple R studios.
Much has been said about the departure of guitarist and founding member Thomas Savage (who now fronts Kins), and his absence was certainly felt tonight. It’s not that the band’s performance was bad, but it felt like watching four independent musicians playing the same song. That said new guitarist Simon Okey adds a very different sound to the band that after a bit of time, could work really well.
New songs Mercy Valley and On The Run showed that Alexander Gow hasn’t lost his songwriting edge and they were more energetic live than on the album. Predictably, the incredibly catchy single Keith Street went down well with the crowd and was one of the highlights of the set. However it was the final track on the new album, Doldrums that stole the show. Bassist Eliza Lam took over vocal duties and it’s surprising that she didn’t sing on the album version, as her vocals were much better suited to the song.
The older tracks got a great crowd reaction with the band playing Can’t Fight It, Broken Ears and Get You Back. It was only during the off-air version of Lay Everything On Me that band seemed to relax more. The song itself was much rockier than the previous live versions I’ve seen, but it was nice to see the band change things up a bit.
Broadcasts are very different to seeing a band in a venue, and Oh Mercy put on a good set, considering. The lack of cohesiveness was disappointing and with all of the new promo photos showing only Alex, it felt like seeing a solo artist backed by other musicians. However in a different venue, when they aren’t being recorded, this might not be a problem.