Concert Review: Mini Mansions, Spires, and The Space Merchants @ Rough Trade – New York

LA band Mini Mansions recently released their second album The Great Pretenders where they continue to work on a rhytmic psychedelic sound. This time, the band members have asked for a little help from their friends such as the fine folks Brian Wilson on Any Emotions and Alex Turner on Vertigo as guest vocals. The new material haven’t been left much in shadow or silence, but only been well received. Since presenting the new songs Mini Mansions have been touring a whole lot and fan photos are spotted all over. It was also viable that their recent gig in New York record shop Rough Trade had attracted a fine amount of friends and well known fans. Well deserved.

The Platters’ old classic The Great Pretender started playing over speakers before Mini Mansions made their presence on stage as a fun reference to the band’s latest album. As the old tune faded out Mini Mansions toke over the stage with a great concentration and started to play songs from their two albums. The sound varying between charming, smooth melodies and more intense expressions. The venue was left to darkness with a few vague spotlights pointing at the band members. Michael Shuman was seen handling the drums with strong beats and a most dedicated spirit, Tyler Parkford almost hid behind his Nord synth gear and pressed the keys in his calm nature while Zach Dawes made sure to have most fun while playing the bass. He walked around with the most twisted moves and showed a glint in his eyes. From time to time the bass fretboard would come swinging right above the heads of the front audiences as to drag everybody along in the music. As I looked around, it was sure that the crowd moved along to the catchy rhythms.

When playing their song Vertigo, Alex Turner suddenly appeared on stage all ready to grab a mic and sing his own part of the song like it was a matter of course. It was with a flash-based star-struckness that the audiences greeted Alex on stage and the cheers would never end. It is not often I have Mr. Turner standing right above me on a concert, up close and personal while the mic cable was swinging all around my camera bag. Wasn’t easy to be a photographer right then and while I tried to capture the moment in photos it was much easier to stay present and just enjoy the moment playing out right in front of me and the rest of the joyful crowd.

Mini Mansions had two local bands along to support them as well this night. The Space Merchants presented a fine indie rock sound with the mix of male and female vocals, but the young band Spires kind of stole my attention at this night as they proved themselves to be energetic entertainers with a nice awareness to their expression beside having a raw psychedelic sound. Looking quite retro with a glimpse of 70’s style and sharing nostalgic psychedelic vibes, yet feeling present with a slightly punk rocky attitude. Band members filling out the stage with an ease and their charismatic lead singer rolling a bit around on the stage floor. I went to buy their EP after the show and had a interesting chat with one of the band members. He simply declared Spires to be the World’s most drunken band and now I am not sure how to interpret that all correctly, either so, the band definitely got some quality to look out for and I hope to watch them live again, liquor filled or not.

For all features on Mini Mansions, click here.

Review by Jules Faurschou | @rockonpoets

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