Mercury Rev – Bierkeller, Bristol

Isn’t life cruel? No sooner have Grand Drive achieved their long-awaited critical breakthrough with “The Lights In This Town Are Too Many to Count”, than their drummer leaves them seriously in the lurch. They have to cancel their high profile showcases in favour of opening for Mercury Rev as an acoustic trio. Still, they are veterans of adversity and more than capable of bouncing back. With their silken Aussie harmonies and impeccable songwriting, Finn Brothers comparisons are unavoidable, but who better to emulate?
If you like glorious melodies and don’t mind admitting to a penchant for prog, Mercury Rev have the music for you, especially if you prefer your bands to be eye-pleasing. The super-elegance of Jonathan Donahue (the widest smile in rock) and the biker chic of Grasshopper see to that. A slightly altered line-up tried out a raft of new songs from their forthcoming album “The Secret Migration”, some of them more acoustic – poppy, even – than we’ve been used to from Mercury Rev. Fans were also treated to the usual sigh-inducing favourites such as “Spiders and Flies” and “Goddess On A Hiway”. Music doesn’t come any more enchanting than this.