The Mermaid Lounge
Big Blue Marble
September 04, 2004
There's two connecting descriptors for many of the indie Rock bands that visited The Mermaid Lounge from Austin, Dallas, Chicago, and various other cities. They all played good, passionate music that twisted Pop around. Is that why they got successful and escaped their homes? Who knows, but Big Blue Marble sounded like one of those foreign bands Saturday night at The Mermaid Lounge. They displayed a quality, tightness, and lust for life that I expected from a traveling band. Big Blue Marble was lead vocalist/guitarist Dave Fera, bassist Sara Essex, electric keyboardist Adam Campagna, drummer Shaun Washburn, and lead guitarist Ike Aguilar. Everybody sang.
They were missing lap steel guitarist Mike Blum, who was at work. This was probably best. Big Blue Marble was in no danger of being labeled Twee Pop, but I'm worried the lap steel would have darkened and negated the tinges of Pop mastery found in Fera's songwriting.
Big Blue Marble's music was somewhere between dark and light. Campagna's tambourine playing and the group's beautiful harmonizing lightened my step and got me dancing. At the same time, Fera screamed in pain and Aguilar's ferocious noise and tone cut like anger.
When the band moved at mid-pace, Fera played select notes that created delicious grooves. I started nodding my head in the middle of a song and felt like I was in for the rest of the concert. I was a Big Blue Marble fan after one song.
When the band rocked out, the presence of groove remained. They reminded me of Dallas rock band The Deathray Davies. Campagna banged the hell out of his tambourine, and Aguilar beat his strings and contorted his body around the guitar in the tension of the song.
The music was anxious and tense. It was also as sweet as an unexpected kiss. When the crowd demanded an encore after a 12 song set, Fera suggested the band play a soft one. I'm happy to say they did soft as well as they did hard.