Have Mercy performs at El Corazon

Nuzzled between the I-5 express lanes and Stewart Street on the lower east side of Eastlake Seattle is El Corazon which hosted Have Mercy’s headlining tour date on Oct. 28. To promote their third album “Make the Best of It,” Have Mercy decided to tour across the United States alongside A Will Away, Boston Manor and Can’t Swim with local Tacoma band Marrowstone opening for them at this specific show.
El Corazon itself is a smaller venue, maxing out at a couple hundred occupants, that mostly puts on concerts and indie wrestling events. The concert experience is substantially better than most of the other venues I have been to in Seattle simply because it seems that even when you are at the very back of the venue, you still feel as if you are closer to the band than most other places will allow for what’s usually a very small price. The sound in the venue however, was the biggest issue for that night considering there is a second venue in the same building which caused the sound from the other concert to interrupt the bands occasionally during the show.
Regardless, the concert began on somewhat of a misstep with connection issues on one of Marrowstone’s guitars and some minor microphone issues. The band still managed to put on a spectacular opening act, bringing all the emotion and energy that they could to the venue. The mixture of bassist Dylan Thomas’ powerful spoken word and lead singer Zach Baker’s strong vocals set a high bar for the rest of the bands in the line-up to compete with for the remainder of the night. One song specifically stood out to me as being special, “10.22,” which resonated with me for a while after hearing its chilling lyrics, moving live drum performance from Legacy Bonner, and Gabriel Hinchey’s guitar performance which makes it hard not to head-bang. A Will Away, an indie rock band from Naugatuck, Connecticut, started strong by demonstrating the band’s impressive guitar skills and rode that high all the way through their set, bringing the crowd along on an hour long indie rock fueled journey. The lead singer Matthew Carlson got the crowd involved in the set early and captivated us with his beautifully written lyrics on songs like “Gravity” which allowed him to show off his superb vocal talents. I have seen A Will Away live previously and I consider them to be one of the most consistent live acts that blows my socks off all over again every time I see them. After the concert, I was lucky enough to meet Carlson and speak to him briefly. He expressed his gratitude for all the fans who come out to see them play, not only on a regular basis, but for everyone who supports their music and the band.
Can’t Swim, a New Jersey indie rock band, though they aren’t my cup of tea, did an excellent job of powering through the noise caused by the second venue. Their powerful drumming, heavy bass influence, and unique vocal sound brought a refreshing sound to the concert which would have lacked without them. The band played a variety of their songs, ranging from faster more aggressive paced to smoother, easier listening indie tracks, making for a surreal experience.
Boston Manor, a UK based rock band, capitalized off the momentum that previous bands had built up and began their set with a series of fast, punk styled songs which got the whole crowd moving immediately. Lead singer Henry Cox set the tone for the set when he said to the crowd, “This stage is your stage, this microphone is your microphone, come on and get up here.” It took less than two minutes for people to run up on stage and begin crowd surfing across the energized wave of fans, resulting in a plethora of smiles sweeping across the venue. When their second song came on, a mosh pit had formed at the center of the crowd, which is where people begin deliberately colliding with one another as a form of expression and dance during rock, punk and metal concerts. From that point during their set the crowd only stopped once for a slow song that was dedicated to the fans who came out to watch them play.
The next band to come on was Have Mercy, the headlining band from Baltimore, Maryland, who play a mix of hard rock emo music. The band has managed to evolve their sound multiple times over the years while also still satisfying their early on diehard fans along the way. They played a 15-song set which was divided into thirds, meaning they played the five most popular songs from each album. Brian Swindle, the lead singer and guitarist of Have Mercy, put on a moving performance with his incredible vocal range and touching lyrics. His performance of their hit song “Let’s Talk About Your Hair,” which is about falling out of love with your significant other and facing the realization that they might have feelings for someone else, was a perfect example of this and demanded the attention of everyone in the venue. His music managed to make the teens, who had been spin kicking each other a few minutes before to Boston Manor, sway side to side and hold the hand of the person next to them. Swindle makes it possible to hear the anguish that he was going through when writing his songs, to be able to momentarily feel what he felt and to be put directly in his shoes through difficult times in his life.
Overall, the show was one of the better concerts I have been to in recent memory, made even more special by the especially small Halloween weekend crowd. The prices for tickets at the venue are almost always exemplary. This concert was five bands for only $15 and the staff on hand at the venue are very nice and understanding compared to other venues. El Corazon has multiple concerts every month, usually sticking to rock, metal and indie music with assorted rap groups mixed in and is a great place to discover new and local music for amazing prices. For more information about El Corazon and upcoming events, visit https://www.elcorazonseattle.com/.