Small Mercies @ Vodafone Live At The Chapel, Melbourne (05/11/2007)

The Brisbane live scene has garnered some of the country’s noteworthy bands from Powderfinger to The Butterfly Effect and Dead Letter Circus. The latest to make waves from the city’s vibrant soundscape is Small Mercies.

Bursting from a back-catalogue of classic rock and grunge influences, Small Mercies are by no means small in presence. The quartet has penned a fistful of tracks which exhibit many qualities that you’d want from a contemporary band. Hook-laden lyrics, thoughtfully constructed time signatures and honest passion are all factors which are integral to Small Mercies’ palatable sound. Securing an appearance at Vodafone Live At The Chapel was therefore another strike to their impressive tally.

What highlights Small Mercies is their ability to hit the stage running. Steve Blaik, Marty O’Brien, Danny Procopis and Jeff Reeves may well be clean-cut, but their craft has certainly been chiselled to withstand the toughest of live appearances. With an audience featuring industry types and some who may not be totally aware of the band, you’d think that Small Mercies had a challenging hour or so ahead of them.

Emotionally charged melodies immediately had the Chapel sitting on edge of its seat, coaxed by ringing guitarwork from Procopis and Blaik’s charismatic stage persona. –  “Sorry’ and –  “Love of the Money’ were articulated earnestly, creating a real rock-edged buzz for the band’s audience. Small Mercies exhibited their extensive repertoire by launching themselves into a slower, evocative track –  “Fools’ (the correct titled eluded me). Small Mercies featured a strong stomp to their sound, partnered with cool keys supplied by their honorary fifth member.

The momentum slowly progressed to a sit-down acoustic affair where the entire band stripped back their set to the bare essentials. An organic version of Pearl Jam’s ‘Animal’ was then belted out to the excitement of punters sitting near the stage in cosy couches and beanbags. Small Mercies’ rendition didn’t exactly replicate the primal undertow of the original, but Blaik was successful in injecting raw passion into the anthemic track. –  “Where Were You’ elevated Small Mercies’ performance, a thunderous and rich song that encompassed a feel reminiscent of The Mutton Birds.

“Not always perfect...,” sung Blaik, accelerating Small Mercies’ rock infused tact and confirming the band’s knack for showing skilled musicianship. Lyrics “love for another” rung out effectively too, and were even mashed up with Led Zepplin’s –  “Whole Lotta Love’. –  “Innocent’ and –  “Don’t You Know Who I Am’ sealed Small Mercies’ impressionable appearance at Vodafone Live At The Chapel and underscored the band’s promise that greater things are still yet to come from these boys.