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Live Review: mercury @ DC9 — 6/7/24

Young Band, Mighty Sound
Words by Mickey McCarter
Photos by Marc Shea

Appearances can sometimes be deceiving, and such is the case in the Tennessee-based band mercury, fronted by singer-songwriter Maddie Kerr.

In the recent performance at DC9, the slender frontwoman with unwieldy hair did not at first glance appear to be the sort of musician who would generate a tremendous sound drawing from psychedelic rock melodies and sludgy grunge riffs, but that is exactly what mercury did in a substantive show of musical might.

On June 7 at DC9, mercury were there to open Dreamer Boy, having just released a three-song project — consisting of new singles “Born in Early May,” “Special,” and “Crick” — that very day. While singing, Maddie becomes a bit of an enigma — brooding and ponderous. But between songs, she’s rather chirpy, quipping about getting too close to the microphone and having a laugh when her hair gets in her mouth toward th end of the set.

In their opening set, mercury smoldered as they played seven terrifically meaningful songs. The band presented the new songs, including the shoegazy “Special,” with careful attention.

The band mercury released their three new songs in a short film, titled “Together We Are One, You and I” on June 7, the day of their DC9 performance.

Watch “Together We Are One, You and I” by mercury on YouTube:

Maddie and her four bandmates — guitars, bass, drums — played really well together and they had a sophistication that made them seem much older than they are. It’s a crime that I don’t readily have the names of her bandmates readily available for you, because they are really skilled gents and they were adept at generating an inviting psychedelic sound that was fresh.

That welcome psychedelia appears to be an evolving element of their sound, judging from early single “Moment,” which sounds more like a ’90s post-grunge chart climber! This evolution didn’t strike me as a surprise when I saw that Maddie was aptly wearing a Sonic Youth t-shirt during her performance.

Watch the official music video for “Moment” by mercury on YouTube:

Mercury has been releasing songs for a little over a year, and this opening spot for Dreamer Boy was a great way to get their feet wet on a national tour. The band’s first headlining gig will be in Nashville at The Blue Room on June 28. (They hail from nearby Franklin, Tennessee.)

We expect big things from mercury, so stay tuned to their website for more music.

Here are some photos of mercury performing at DC9 on June 7, 2024. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Marc Shea.

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