Last night, I saw Baltimore’s own, Have Mercy, for the seventh time since 2014. From someone who would call themselves one of their biggest fans, I was more than willing to take the three hour trip from New Jersey to Hamden, Connecticut in order to celebrate with them. What they are celebrating you might ask? Currently, Have Mercy is embarking on a tour across the U.S. to mark the five year anniversary of their album, The Earth Pushed Back.
I arrived early to the Space Ballroom, which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere but is still only fifteen minutes from New Haven. I eagerly waited in my car for two hours before I finally entered the venue alone, as this was a solo trip to see my favorite band. Being the first one there gave me the opportunity to snag some merch before I planted myself right in front and center of the stage for the rest of the night. The venue was small, dark, and seemed to be lit only by some dims and the stage lights.
Super American, a band from Buffalo, New York, were already set up and promptly arrived on stage within a half an hour. Their set was fun and a perfect start to great summer show. They were followed by Gleemer, a group from Colorado who I loved, so much so that I bought their CD. Lastly, Zoey, performed her project, Kississippi, solo – just herself and her electric guitar. Although, there were some minor bumps with broken guitar strings and adjusting straps, she carried her set with grace, humor, and gifted the crowd with her amazing live vocals.
Have Mercy took to the stage just before ten. They wasted no time and went straight into performing, TEPB in full. Brian Swindle, lead singer/guitarist and only remaining original member of the band was supported by the rest of the members to deliver a great in full play of TEPB. It was strange for me to see him perform these songs without the other original members since they started Have Mercy with these songs together. Regardless, the band put as much energy and passion into each song, as if they were debuting them with as much emotion as they did the first time they were played. Overall, the best feeling for me was absorbing the lyrics which derive from such personal heartbreak and heartache, guiding me through the darkest of times, as they have so many times before.
In between songs, the band shared stories from tour of playing Fortnite on the road, smoking up fans, and celebrating their bassist’s recent wedding during their stop in New York. Swindle explained he was going to go into the tour performing the songs and explaining the stories behind each one but he ultimately decided to scrap that and only shared a bit of insight on their song “Living Dead” which he clarified was not in fact about a shitty person he dated, but instead a one night stand.
Following TEPB, the rest of the band left Swindle the stage as he performed a new song titled “Dressed Down,” said to be released very soon. It was an intimate rendition of a song about heartbreak and feeling the darkness that follows. After, the rest of the band returned to the stage to end the set with two Have Mercy favorites: “The Place You Love” and “Two Years.”
I am in awe of Have Mercy every time I am able to see them perform. Honestly, out of the seven times I’ve seen them, through band members changing, new music, and different tours, this show was one of the most memorable. I have seen them many times before and I will see them a million times more as nothing seems to be slowing the band down. This performance from Have Mercy felt like home.
By: Jamie Galyas