Photo of Have Mercy by Harper Lee
Have Mercy, Boston Manor, Can’t Swim, A Will Away and Glacier Veins played Portland on a beautiful October Friday night.
There were a lot of reasons to look forward to this show in particular. The first of those reasons came during Glacier Veins, the local opener for the show. They’ve been playing as a three-piece for the majority of this year, but they surprised everyone by welcoming a new lead guitarist to the band, Josh Springer. Now, all of the recorded elements in Glacier Veins’ music can also be heard during their performances, so first time listeners can hear their full sound. The band put out their new EP, Dreamspace, earlier this month, and played most of the songs from it which are especially fun to see now that I know all the words to these songs they’ve been playing live for so long. They also played some from Clear Your Head including “Different Faces,” and they even played a brand new song which likely won’t be recorded anytime soon. Overall, Glacier Veins was the ideal band to tie together the sounds of the tour package, and if you haven’t listened to Dreamspace yet, then you should definitely change that.
Kicking off the tour package was one of my favorite bands, A Will Away. The last time the band was set to come here was this summer with This Wild Life, but their van broke down, and they missed our date of the tour. The last time they did make it here, they had just released Here Again, so it was especially exciting to hear those new songs live now that I’ve had several months with the album. This time around their lineup looked a tiny bit different because they had a third guitarist, now making them a five piece. A Will Away worked their way through songs like “Pay Raise” and “Agoraphobia” from Here Again, and fan favorite “My Sitter” from their EP, Bliss. The band changes up their set list every night, and it came as a pleasant surprise when they announced that they’d be playing “The Shakes,” my favorite from the album. It’s not very often that there’s a certain song that I really want to hear live, but this was one of them for me, and I couldn’t have been more stoked. A Will Away have crafted a fun, unique sound with fresh lyrical perspectives that make me excited to watch them continue to grow.
Can’t Swim is still a fairly new band to most, and this was their first time making it out to the Pacific Northwest which I’ve been looking forward to since they signed to Pure Noise and released their debut EP, Death Deserves A Name. As many of you likely know, I use a wheelchair when attending shows, and unfortunately, during the majority of Can’t Swim’s set I couldn’t really see them because no one was letting me in towards the front. Someone went into the pit during their last two songs, so then I was able to see, and enjoy a small part of the set I looked forward to for so long. The band played a mix of songs from Death Deserves A Name, their debut album, Fail You Again, and even “God Awful” which is a new song that was originally cut from the album even though it would’ve been a perfect fit. They put on a lively set which got the crowd warmed up for Boston Manor.
Boston Manor’s following has been growing a lot this year, so it was easy to expect that their set would be high energy. At this point I had to move away from the crowd because people were pitting and pushing, so anyone in the front was falling on stage. During their set I got moved side stage (big thanks to Emmy and Colin), so I could safely watch them play. The UK pop-punk band played seven of the ten songs from Be Nothing. as well as “Trapped Nerve,” a song from an early EP which they dedicated to anyone who heard them before the album. It takes a lot to stand out in the pop-punk realm of the scene, but Boston Manor’s music has an addictive quality to it, and gets stuck in listeners’ heads so easily that it makes them a fast-favorite in the genre.
The crowd gave everything they had during Boston Manor’s set which made for a more relaxed, somber feeling during Have Mercy. Between songs the band joked that it was a comfortable silence compared to some previous dates. The last time Have Mercy intended to play a headliner here was almost exactly two years ago, but the brakes gave out on their van, so the show went on without them, and they’ve been back since then, but it was nice getting to see them play a longer set this time. They played pretty equally from all three of their albums, and their older songs transported me back to the first time I saw them in 2014. They were one of the first smaller touring bands I discovered back then, and they’ve grown exponentially ever since. Parts of their songs are nice to sway along with, and others had fans yelling the words as loudly as they could like during “Two Years.” Have Mercy puts on an attention-grabbing, emotional performance, and I highly recommend seeing them when you get the chance, and be sure to check out Make The Best Of It which they released earlier this year!