My attention span at the Mercury Lounge is a fairly short one. When the NYC venue is packed, the bar is practically impossible to get to, and regardless of where you stand you always feel in the way. Fortunately, the lineup for last night was varied enough to keep my toes tapping for a solid three hours.
First up was Brooklyn’s Foreign Islands, a band that our very own Matt DuFour has been hyping up daily. I am not one to question his musical tastes, but I needed to experience the band myself, which I did as they opened up for Black Wire last night. Their danceable synth-rock got the night started off right, with infectious grooves that got plenty of heads bopping. Unlike many of the danceable rock bands around right now, Foreign Islands’ live show is tight, with all five dudes rocking the hell out of their instruments. They also have no need to rely on the trendy punk-disco sounds, although there were some disco calls during “Numbers Game”... hoooot hoooooot! That was their biggest jam of the evening, which was the perfect segue to the next band on the bill, Black Wire.
The three lads from Leeds known as Black Wire made their NYC debut last night to a good-sized crowd. Their stage setup is pretty simple: one banner with their logo, one bass guitar and amp, one guitar and amp and three microphones. Frontman Daniel Wilson commanded attention, spazzing around the stage like a hybrid of Maximo Park’s Paul Smith (with his patented bop & chop dance moves) combined with the smugness of Damon Albarn. They rocketed through plenty of tracks, including “Attack Attack Attack” and the crowd-pleasing “Very Gun”. While most bands have a tough time pulling off a live set with a drum machine rather than an actual live drummer, Black Wire’s boundless energy and pogo-inspiring beats kept the set filled with plenty of entertainment.
The third and final band of the evening was New York’s Overnight. This marked my fourth time seeing the band, who have added an additional guitarist to their lineup since I last caught them. The three-guitar assault added a new intensity to their current batch of songs, which has helped take them to a whole new level. “One In Every Crowd” hardly resembles the original version I heard last year, showing Overnight as a band that has finally found their own style. The same goes for “The Wrong Conclusion”, which has the potential to be a great single for the band. Hey Overnight, consider that a subtle hint.
Three very different bands in one night all at the Mercury Lounge. By midnight I had my fill of rock & roll and beer, leaving Manhattan with an empty wallet, ringing ears, and an increased appreciation for all three bands.