By Andrew McNally Columnist
If you’re not familiar with Manhattan’s Mercury Lounge, it’s a pretty literal definition of a “hole in the wall.” It’s not a concert hall with a bar, but a bar with a concert hall, and any gust of wind might knock it over. It is also one of the most ideal venues to see a band like Pyyramids, a new collaborative band formed by Ok Go’s Tim Nordwind and He Say/She Say’s Drea Smith, who played last Wednesday evening.
Pyyramids brought with them a band called MisterWives, as more of a co-headliner than an actual opening band. We missed the first part of the set due to some setbacks (the world’s slowest bouncer being one). MisterWives had a goofy/corny presence to them – the guitarist had a button-down shirt with dinosaurs on it, and the keyboardist had on a top hat. In turn came some annoying drunk fans, like a man in a black dress and leather vest drinking a can of PBR with a straw. But the band’s funky and energetic songs got a majority of the audience, myself included, dancing around and enjoying themselves. The band was simply having a great time onstage, bolstered by a strong female singer doing her best Janis Joplin imitation. They ended by transitioning into one of my only two guilty pleasures, a cover of M83’s “Midnight City” that was better than expected for a jam band.
Pyyramids came on soon after, although they may have actually played a shorter set. The band, a five-piece, plays a rather unique form of ‘80s-inspired, gloomy, heavy alternative. The band formed out of two musicians desiring to write songs that didn’t fit with their primary bands, and their music feels exactly like that. Their self-titled debut album, which just dropped two weeks ago, suffers from the fact that they sound like they’re holding back. But in their live set, they let it all loose. Nordwind played lead guitar, and the combination of two guitars and a keyboardist/bassist often droned out the vocals. Smith’s mic was barely audible, save the last song. Still, the band pounded through nine songs, opening with the heavy “Smoke and Mirrors.”
The band was only onstage for roughly forty-five minutes, and actually had a smaller audience than MisterWives, playing for maybe forty people. But they did not let that affect them, filling the room with sound as they played “Paper Doll” and “That Ain’t Right,” two songs that have official music videos. They let “Do You Think You’re Enough,” their loudest song, rip through the audience at a volume and energy that was lacking on the album. The album’s best song, “Don’t Go,” was equally energetic.
Pyyramids closed the show with a dense and commanding cover of PJ Harvey’s “Rid of Me.” Smith’s vocals shined through, for the first and only time of the night, decimating the small room. The show was over by 9, as the Mercury Lounge cleared out for another concert a half hour later. Several of MisterWives’ songs can be found on SoundCloud. Pyyramids debut album, “Pyyramids,” is available now, and can be found on Spotify and SoundCloud.