Stone Cold Fox did not disappoint with their live show at the Mercury Lounge on May 7. They played each of the songs on their latest EP, Tunnel Vision, and gave us a sneak peek of some of the new stuff they’ve been working on.
Before I go into the details of the music, however, I’d like to point out a few interesting characteristics I observed of the audience.
Stone Cold Fox Diversifies Mercury Lounge
Between you and me, there’s a pretty specific set of traits that regular visitors to Mercury Lounge possess. They appreciate independent music and burgeoning, perhaps struggling, bands; value concerts over alcohol; and are willing to spend $10 on the cover because their hip outfits definitely don’t cost too much.
I feel that I’m allowed to note all this since I consider myself part of this group. Each of the above applies to me. While these are the typical people you find at Mercury Lounge, the crowd in the audience for Stone Cold Fox was a bit more diverse.
Standing in the audience at stage left was a group of youths (probably NYU students, bless their hearts) dancing in the same manner as the peers of Charlie Brown in any scene where those cartoon kids make spasmodic movements to music.
Where benches line the wall on the opposite side of the venue were a number of older guests; my guess is that they were parents of the band members, but I’ll never know. There was a group of (and please don’t take offense to the following word) yuppies, dressed in designer clothing, seemingly unaware of the more traditional Mercury Lounge uniform.
A large posse of people in their mid-20s showed up to the show super drunk and called attention to themselves throughout the sets of both the opening band and the headliners. When Stone Cold Fox covered M.I.A.’s Paper Planes, in particular, the slow-motion movements of pretend gun shots into the air were laughable. I actually chuckled.
It was entertaining, but that’s enough for now. You came for the review of the band!
Strong, but Still Finding Themselves?
Stone Cold Fox started off the show with “Contagion,” which makes sense since that’s the first song on their latest EP. Immediately, I got the sense that Kevin Olken Henthorn has a strong stage presence.
Later during the show I struggled to determine whether Justin Caleb Bright, who plays bass, is also comfortable on stage. He walks around fairly frequently — is he comfortable, or does his constant movement comes from a place of stage anxiety? At this point I’m not sure, although an active instrumentalist never hurts a live show.
Stone Cold Fox, as I mentioned, played all the songs on Tunnel Vision, and they interspersed a few new songs in with their old ones to give the crowd a sense of what we can expect from upcoming albums and shows.
In general, I found that Henthorn is not super talkative with the audience. But as I mentioned before, his general stage presence during songs is strong. I thought that there wasn’t too much experimentation on the part of the band in ways of making the concert fun aside from the music.
It’s definitely great to persistently captivate solely with your art, but it certainly helps when you can incorporate some additional elements into the show. It is, after all, a show. Stone cold Fox was successful in this when they turned on the fast-paced strobe lights. You know… the ones that could give epileptics seizures. Fortunately for me, I love them, and I was pleased to see that the band incorporated them into their show.
The only real critique I have of the concert is that the band struggled to balance the volume of their music with their vocals. Perhaps they don’t feel as confident in their singing as in their instrument playing, which I noted on my review of Tunnel Vision, but there needs to be a balance so people don’t go deaf if they’re standing too close to the stage. While this can easily be improved, it was difficult for me to ignore this issue since the opening band was able to achieve a balance seemingly more easily.
Despite this, I highly recommend your attendance of Stone Cold Fox’s next live show, because they’ve got a lot to offer and will only improve. I also strongly encourage your support of this blossoming band. It’ll give you a chance to let me know if their audience is finding themselves the same as the band is, or if it’s always as varied as the Mercury Lounge crowd.