Tuesday night was filled with bittersweet emotions as the excitement of a Have Mercy headliner clashed with sadness at the fact that this would (allegedly, I hope) be the last time they play in Boston as a band.
They couldn't have picked a better venue than the Sinclair nor could they have picked a better lineup of bands to tour with than Young Culture, Selfish Things, and Fredo Disco.
After fighting my way through Boston traffic and the lack of available parking by Harvard Square, I made it a bit too late to catch any more than the last couple songs of Young Culture, a band hailing from New York. When I walked in and heard the first few seconds of them playing the second to last song, I wasn’t sure if I missed the whole show, thinking Have Mercy was already playing. I quickly realized this was not the case, but thought for sure this was a band that would gain more of a following after this run, as they fit the package perfectly. On their last song, they cut the background music and the crowd began to sing along with them, and my suspicions were confirmed.
Second up was Selfish Things, a band from up north in Toronto that I had heard a few times before and enjoy but have never had the pleasure of seeing live. I was super stoked, and not at all disappointed. They did not have a drummer and played a more stripped down set with just the keys and the guitarists. This live version of their music was beautiful, somber and melodic. The harmonies between the singers on stage pulled at the heartstrings in a way that set the tone for all of the tears that were going to come later in the night.
It was also my first time hearing of Fredo Disco, and I was not expecting what I witnessed this night. Right off the bat, the band came out with electric energy. The members were all moving on stage, jumping up and down and around by the middle of the first song. Standing at this point from the balcony in the back, I witnessed most of the crowed off of their feet too, jumping around and getting a small pit going. This gritty, fun, punk rock band from Chicago hit me in all of my feels, talking about personally relatable issues like how life as a creative in our 20s can suck sometimes, so we’re just gonna smoke some weed to forget about it all. If that is your kind of music, look no further than Fredo Disco.
There will never be another band like Have Mercy. There are so many things I can say about this set. I think I was hoping they would save Boston for last, just before their hometown close-out show. But maybe it was best to just rip that bandage off early for us, eh Swindle?
Emotion. So. Much. Emotion. For anyone that has seen or listened to Have Mercy ever, they know pure, raw emotion. This is all I have ever seen Brian exude in his performances, and on his last night in Boston singing for Have Mercy, there were no exceptions. It’s very possible someone brought in several pounds of onions and began to cut them because at many times in the night, tears were shed.
Included in (but not limited to) the last setlist were: Clair, Pete Rose and Babe Ruth, Hell, Coexist, Spacecrafts, Dressed Down, My Oldest Friend (which included an emotional tribute to old Have Mercy drummer and dear friend of the band, Aaron), Howl (which was sworn never to be played again, but you know, last show and all), Collider (my absolute favorite), Two Years, and of course, Let’s Talk About Your Hair to close out the night. During the set, the band encouraged (to the annoyance of the venue staff) people to continue to crowd surf and stage dive, and boy did they. Every word to every song was sang, yelled, and cried back at the band who gave us the gift of their music. I think us New Englanders did a heck of a job of sending off Have Mercy on their final tour, and I hope they come away from this tour feeling that way about every city they stop in for the last time. If you happen to have the night free when they come to see you, I urge you not to miss it.
Review and photos by Janelle Choiniere