"We've been doing this for 15 years and after [this], we are going to drink 15 beers!"
Thirsty Merc brought their brand of palatable Aussie rock to a packed house at Adelaide's Village Hotel as part of their aptly named Take Me Back tour.
Although located 30 minutes outside of the city, the venue didn't suffer at all for its remoteness. Fans densely filled the spacious pub and huddled close as a cool breeze swept through the partially open-aired main stage area, waiting to be taken back 15 years.
The three-piece were greeted with lad-like cheers as they ran through the crowd from the back and waved their guitars and drum sticks, high-fiving as they passed by.
Opening with My Completeness, the party was off to a mass-participation singalong from the get-go. Rather than teasing the crowd, well-known hit In The Summertime came next and, as expected, the crowd was jubilant with arms up and fingers pointing to the sky while shouting the lyrics, "Take me back to the sweet times/The hot nights/Everything is gonna be alright… That is where I'll be"! Looking around, almost everyone was engaged in exchanging knowing looks acknowledging their own summertime memories. Couples squeezed each other tighter and huddles of men gripped together celebrating their bromances.
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The feels continued with Claude Monet and Someday Someday, which proved to be anthemic with fans swaying in unison and appearing to act out the lyrics through dance. Many were unafraid to match lead singer Rai Thistlethwayte's longing pitch. Mousetrap Heart brought out the groovier side of the Aussie rockers, with keys on point and adding layers of funk and jazz to the arrangement. It's definitely a bit of good-old fun pop, but rather than sounding like a Maroon 5 imitation Thirsty Merc throw in enough jam sessions and drum solos to keep it interesting. There's also a nice chemistry between the players that's convincing enough to feel that this is still music they love and are proud of.
The 'that-girl' vibes of Those Eyes seemed to convince at least a few in the crowd that the song was written for them and they couldn't get enough of it, or Thistlethwayte. Aside from his singing, there was fairly little banter from the frontman although he made one announcement to his fans: "We've been doing this for 15 years and after [this], we are going to drink 15 beers!"
While almost every song of the set could be labelled a crowd-favourite, 20 Good Reasons was the winner, placed in the encore. Followed up by their last song of the night, the slightly self-deprecating Emancipate Myself, which again demonstrated the close relationship that Thirsty Merc seem to have with their fans.
While there are a number of measures that indicate how well a show is going, Thirsty Merc obviously captured the hearts of their audience. With more than half the crowd singing into their beers with closed eyes, the other half singing the lyrics into each others' faces and a handful of people breaking fire codes by balancing on high walls or handrails, it's safe to say Thirsty Merc were successful in their endeavor to give fans the chance to escape and took us back to a time when bands on the radio played at their local pubs.