Live Review: Thirsty Merc Take Me Back Anniversary Tour

words: meg booth

Thirsty Merc. A common band on the radio 10 years ago. With great hits like ‘Emancipate Myself,’ ’20 Good Reasons’ and of course, ‘In The Summertime.’ So, let me take you back to the sweet times, the hot nights and know that everything is going to be alright, on Thirsty Merc’s Take Me Back Anniversary Tour.

I went to my local pub, the Racehorse Hotel, to see these Aussie rockers last week, where I could relive my senior high school years. And apart from their hair being a little daggy, their performance was anything but. Playing newer songs and dropping a hit every now and then, their set was tight and crowd friendly. Belting out the old tunes where the lyrics flow straight back to mind like it was only yesterday I was cranking their tunes on the old Walkman. Really showing my age here I guess.

Rai Thistlethwayte, the lead singer, guitar and keys man, with his trademarked mo’, won some quick brownie points in my books by adorning an Iron Maiden shirt for the gig. Phil Stack is the plucking bass player, Matt Smith on electric guitar, with Mick Skelton on drums.

From the charisma and joy in Rai’s eyes, you could see he was glad to be back on the road and playing their greatest hits, displaying how TM was a great ol’ Aussie rock band. It is a pity their new tracks haven’t been as successful, as they are quite catchy, but just lacking that ‘oomph’ that and finesse of song writing they started out with in their earlier years.

Swapping out the guitar for keys, the band went into one of their bigger hits, ‘Someday’. However, they play an even slower version, which this writer just couldn’t sway to the same was as the original. The interlude picked up the performance with a subtle but quite powerful guitar solo that brought it back to more easier listening.

Cut to two fans who were shining in their dimly lit two minutes of fame, providing the “chicks” backing vocals for a great tune – ‘Mousetrap Heart’. Because what could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, nothing. Just two eager fans bouncing around in matching outfits and bunny ears.
As for the rest of the crowd, they came in all sorts that night with a variety of hair styles; mops, man buns and mullets; definitely the sign of an Ipswich pub.

But you can certainly see how the band started out so strongly with the great Aussie rockin’ tunes by finishing up with ‘In The Summertime’ and ‘20 Good Reasons’ for their encore.

So, thank you, Thirsty Merc, for letting me relive out my teenage years and for being the kind of band that got me into the Aussie rock scene.