Up first at Mercy Lounge, however, was Murfreesboro three-piece Trophy Wife, whose experimental, minimalist noise-rock was punctuated with occasional bursts of psychedelic fuzz and even a little bit of clarinet (yes, really). Most of their set, it seemed, featured more instrument swapping than anything else and was all a bit messy, but a companion observed that Trophy Wife really isn’t that far removed from, say, early Sonic Youth. Throw in a little bit of The Slits — influence- and delivery-wise — and we suppose that’s a fairly accurate description.
By the time Heavy Cream set up and was ready to go, Mercy was filling up rather nicely. No, not a sell-out, but not that far off; definitely a sizable crowd ready to see some locally brewed lady-punk. The Spin hadn’t caught HC since the addition of pint-sized sparkplug Tiffany Minton, and we must say, she’s a little beast of a punk-rock drummer, capable of slaying eighth notes like it’s going out of style. (Side note: We really hope punk rock with breakneck tempos never goes out of style.) Anyhow, Heavy Cream has come a long way recently, whittling and honing their set into a pretty stirring little jolt that would pass with flying colors at Rock and Roll High School. They did, however, abandon their last number mid-song. We’re not exactly certain what happened there.
Then it was The Darlins Hour. The Spin continues to be impressed with Those Darlins’ meteoric increase in both skill and song quality — gone are the days of Murfreesboro house shows and tunes with tap dancing in them. Instead, the Darlins — with Jessi and Kelley decked out in sequins, the latter of whom reminding us (as she always has) of a foxier, younger Martha Plimpton — killed a rapid-fire set featuring mostly their newer, surfy punk numbers. The girl-group and trad-country nuances remained, sure … but as the girls climbed atop Mercy Lounge’s subwoofers to play their solos and “sweat” their “dicks off” for the crowd (their words, not ours), it was the punk-rock portion of the Those Darlins pie chart that we were enjoying the most. They even played a version of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates’ “Shakin’ All Over” — a pretty standard cover around these parts, but a treat nonetheless — and closed with the ever-rousing (arousing?) “Funstix Party."
So yes. A very well-attended, thoroughly entertaining local rock show. Take note, Rolling Stone.