with Jason Faulkner
Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, MA • April 19, 1999
So, I suppose I am here to tell you that Mercury Rev have sold out. Or at least, were never what you thought they were! I personally have never been a fan of them, not because I don’t like what they have done, just simply because I never bought one of their records or went to one of their shows. However, every single person I know loves them and has done nothing but speak highly of their history! Since they were coming to our local monopoly of an indie rock venue here in Cambridge, I figured, “What the hell!”
When I walked into the (as always, sold-out) club, Jason Faulkner was on the stage. Apparently, he is from the once famed (never heard of them) Jellyfish. If the Jellyfish were anything like what he was like, then I know why I never heard of them…because I hate corporate rock ‘n’ roll! I swear, I can see this stupid kid sitting in Capitol Records (or whatever major label is behind him) in sunny Los Angeles sipping on some half-caff-double espresso wining about how he just wants to be understood while some “image” person is telling him, “Keep it up, kid, and you’ll be a star!” I swear, is this really what you people think is NEW!!!??? I truly could not believe my eyes when I saw how many people were singing along and applauding for this loser! I don’t even want to think about it anymore.
So then, give them a big drum roll, make up and all…out comes Mercury Rev. Thanks to the major labels again for giving these guys a killer light show! That will be the only good comment in this review. He kicked ass with the lights! But then again, it is ONLY technology. So this great psychedelic rock band is supposed to be on stage, and all I am hearing is this stupid-ass crap where every song sounds the same, including the old ones my friend Dan was excited to hear, and some idiot in sunglasses with a grin on his face saying, “Yeah, Baby!” to each girl in the audience is jumping around like he just got out of School for the Rock Stars. This was really disgusting! Literally, every song had the same instrumentation, tremolo effect, phaser on the vocal, occasionally synth or theremin, same digital orchestral wash, and drum beats that should have been played in some big amphitheater, because there was so much reverb on them.
They seemed to be “jamming out” each song as well, although it is hard to say they were jamming, because all they did was extend their four-note riffs and maybe add a little volume to it. I did not hear anyone “jam out”! But yet, every dumb ass in the place was like, “Wow, listen to them go!” Go where? Go in circles is all they did! Ugh!
You know, it is not even a case of little band makes it big and now everyone hates them, because I don’t have any knowledge of their past to compare with. I simply hate morons that are supposed to be “different” and “challenging” to the arts, and all they are doing is being entertainers. If you are going to be an entertainer (rock star), then just be that and leave the people with real minds alone and stop acting like you’re “with us,” because you’re not! Enjoy the drugs, enjoy the girls, enjoy your life…but at least be real about it and admit what you are.