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!