Hey Mercedes, The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, Prawns | Subterranean | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Hey Mercedes

Hey Mercedes

Peter Ellenby

Hey Mercedes, The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, Prawns 

When: July 7-8, 8:30 p.m. 2016
Price: $20, 7/8 sold out
After Illinois emo heroes Braid called it quits in 1999, three-fourths of the band—vocalist-guitarist Bob Nanna, bassist Todd Bell, and drummer Damon Atkinson—teamed up with Alligator Gun guitarist Mark Dawursk to launch Hey Mercedes. Their 2001 debut, Everynight Fire Works, fit right in on rising indie Vagrant Records, a label that quickly became synonymous with emo’s mainstream takeover. Hey Mercedes harnessed the cathartic outbursts of emo’s second wave like a coming-of-age superhero figuring out his powers, and they used that energy to power up their pop-minded material. Everynight Fire Works moves fast, but Hey Mercedes play with a refined vigor that smooths out the blistered edges, delivering patient, melodically cool songs that swing. Even the fragile moments, like when Nanna comes close to reaching the highest registers of his voice, come with an awareness that there are limits to their capabilities—and there’s a beauty to hearing them figure that out. The band broke up in 2005, but they’re reuniting to tour behind the 15-year-anniversary reissue of Everynight Fire Works, which comes out next month on Run for Cover, a label that’s a modern-day Vagrant for fourth-wave emo.
— Leor Galil
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