The Oh Mercy crew must love our fair town; tonight's show is one of a handful they've played here in the last six months alone. Alex Gow and co. steer their ever-reliable set across old and new territory, kicking off with Stay, Please Stay. The ever entertaining frontman is in fine form in Deep Heat and nails his falsetto with not a bung note to be heard in Pilgrim's Blues. It's a less heavy-handed mix compared to their Zoo show earlier this year, the bossy bass in Still Making Me Pay pushes things along, and there's nary a sign of Gow's laidback lulls in sight. Despite a hugely energetic set, they wind up Drums with “we'll see you next year – or maybe not”, a slightly ominous statement given some earlier hints of an extended break of sorts.
It's a longer wait for the boys from Menangle and by now things are pretty squishy on all fronts. Nobody seems to care though, and the roar when The Rubens saunter on stage is confirmation that they don't. The first bluesy chords of The Day You Went Away drop so forcefully but in the best possible way. Juggling a beer, a guitar and a mic, leader of the brotherly pack, Sam, really is underrated as a vocalist; as he pushes the group through the angst-filled Be Gone, there's a sense his articulate drawl will stand as one of our industry's best. He milks it on the carefree Elvis before digging deeper for Paddy, the soul-drenched organ keys trilling underneath. Debut-darling Lay It Down, is suitably embellished, as is The Best We Got and set closer Don't Ever Want To Be Found, with one lucky lass plucked from the front row for a bit of tambourine slapping.
Much foot stomping and chanting gets the lads back out for the evocative Never Be The Same, and the inevitable show-closer My Gun reinforces an earlier hunch that these boys are more than just the flavour of the month.
This week's new sets include music from locals Gurrumul, Josh Pyke and West Thebarton Brothel Party plus new tunes from The Maccabees and Albert Hammond Jr.