I was a bit surprised to see that PS I love You was headlining and Frog Eyes were opening, after all, Frog Eyes has been active on the music scene since as early as 2001, and frontman Carey Mercer has collaborated with former member Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade/Sunset Rubdown), Destroyer, New Pornographers, and more. All that can be said about this pairing was that Mercer has recently signed with the awesome and locally based Paper Bag Records, to which P.S. I Love You is also a member of the roster.
Watching Mercer perform, you not only get some excellent finger picking and guitar accents to his tight, penetrating vocals (that sounded slightly perverted, but those are the best words to describe!) you also get some amazing stage banter. I read a lot of reviews after this show calling it awkward, but I found it laudible, and at some points was laughing out loud as he contemplated the death of guitar, because a shitty blogger said they saw Skrillex at some festival and decided it so. Or when he called himself a Narc living in a Marxist’s body. I found it all quite amusing. The juxtaposition of Mercer’s songs was also fantastically done. Like Future Islands, whose sad, poetic lyrics, are placed with the most danceable music imaginable. Mercer asked us if we were willing to “enter the bummer zone” with him, as he broke into a slew of songs poetically reflecting on the shittiness of war, heartbreak, murder, politics etc., yet the first song in this “bummer zone”, started off with a pop inflected guitar rhythm that had me bobbing my head like a 1950’s schoolgirl. Mercer’s talent is worthy of much more than playing a half-filled Drake Underground, and I hope the move to Paper Bag Records will help achieve that.
P.S. I Love You, have just celebrated the release of their third studio album with Paper Bag last month, and have been on a constant whirlwind of a tour. Paul Saulnier is a beyond epic guitarist, and I was mesmerized by Benjamin Nelson’s fast, punching, supreme drumming skills. I was told beforehand that watching Saulnier play can be like seeing the great guitarists of decades ago play, in that flamboyant, rockstar way. Unfortunately, Saulnier was under the weather with that pesky summer flu, so the set was more toned down than usual. More toned down than usual, still means that Saulnier destroyed on guitar, effortlessly ripping through a solid set. As long as the music and musicians are good, I don’t need to see any theatrics, and Saulnier proved he doesn’t need those to put on a masterful show.
Review by Lauren Morocco (