By Brent Michael, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: The Orpheum, Tampa, Florida–May 25, 2017
Baltimore’s Have Mercy came to The Orpheum on tour in support of Real Friends with Tiny Moving Parts, Broadside and Nothing, Nowhere this spring. Singer and guitarist Brian Swindle is the core of the band and has been since the beginning, with the rest of the band – Nate Gleason (guitar) joining in 2016, and Ryan Harris (guitar) and Luke Smartnick (drums) joining in 2017. Despite this, the band held together like they had been with Brian since he started in 2011.
Recently, Have Mercy released the music video for “Good Christian Man,” the band’s second single from their third studio album, Make The Best Of It, that came out in 2017 via Hopeless Records. Judging by the crowd response, that song (and all of the set they played) hits everything that fans love — a loud-ringing chorus, insightful lyrics that tug at every possible emotion and tight melodies, while also bringing a larger and more mature sound that rings true.
It also brings out some of Brian’s internal struggles with personal faith versus organized religion, and his inability to discuss his skepticism with the Catholic family he grew up in. The band’s growth parallels personal maturation, along with the surprisingly freeing process of shouldering responsibility for the continuation of a band when everyone else has left it behind.
Judging by what I saw, the band will go on, and here’s hoping the commitment Brian has demonstrated is also in his bandmates!
When not in custody, I've been involved with music, photography, and writing my entire life. Ever since I was a young boy and played those silver tunes, I've had the beat, but being a drummer didn't suit me so I became a lead singer, which lasted a few years. Settling down, sort of, I translated my knowledge of audio and glib tongue into mobile emcee work, and my training as a photographer and videographer into a living in the wedding, party, bar/bat mitzvah, and entertainment industry. During this time I also managed to bamboozle my way into a master's degree in writing, worked for a couple of magazines (yes, I took photos for a nudist magazine!), have photographed hotels, done commercial work (shot the cover of Tablet and Capsule magazine), published a few articles, hosted some public access shows (a couple times in drag, but that's another story), and generally made a nuisance of myself until I landed here.