Merkury Burn with Brother Love Canal and 66 Kicks at the Tequila Lounge, February 14. Tickets: $7. Attendance: 125. Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNN
i have to admit i've never actu-ally seen a band bring their interpersonal problems onstage, argue weakly, fail to complete even one song, then shamble back off to the howls, jeers and laughter of the audience. But that's precisely how 66 Kicks ended the night last Thursday at the Tequila Lounge. It was a quintessential rock and roll moment.Just before them, Merkury Burn's set demonstrated the quintessence of music itself.
Vocalist Kelly Clipperton, drummer Cathy Marchese, guitarist Jones and bassist Vikas Sharma, celebrating the release of their Rumour Of Our Death CD, achieved the sonic unity that collapses the space between players. There was an uncanny independent vibe to each musician as they played, suggesting the four of them had all been transported by their music to someplace way beyond Bathurst and Bloor.
Merkury Burn play a solid, vocal-driven pop that leans toward punk, with an occasional roaring metal break that emanates unique, confident, capital-E energy. At times, all three other members backed up Clipperton's vocals, adding another layer to the sense of unity that they effortlessly conveyed. I could imagine the flamboyant Clipperton's voice going over perfectly in a Las Vegas lounge act, but fortunately, he deploys it with enough menace and anguish to balance its suave, let-me-sell-you-something side.
Too bad the crowd had thinned after an Brother Love Canal's opening set. This Toronto quartet have the peculiar ability to merge with the audience while they are playing -- free to dance with the crowd thanks in part to the Roland sampler that produces a significant portion of the band's sound. Their torch song/opera/disco set may have been monochromatic, but it really had the crowd going.
Then, weirdly, the dancers split, leaving Merkury Burn surrounded by paparazzi eagerly photographing and videoing the band in hopes that Clipperton would yank the Velcro on his PVC undies loose, as he's been known to do. He didn't bother.