Arts, The Muse

Revving up Boston

Legendary Brooklyn experimental rock set Mercury Rev took to the stage of the Paradise on Friday night before a crowd as equally diverse in age as it was in energy. Luckily, to balance it out, the band played only one song. Or so it seemed, at least.

The quintet opened with the tingling waves of ‘Snowflake In A Hot World’ from the recent album Snowflake Midnight and doesn’t stop until the pre-encore lullaby vocals of ‘Opus 40.’ The latter is thrown to the audience in the form of a customary medley with Talking Heads’ ‘Once In A Lifetime.’

Singer Jonathan Donahue integrated his signature wide-eyed flying swan move at some point in every number and multi-instrumentalist (but mainly guitarist, tonight) Grasshopper paced around with his red Reverend.

The half of the crowd that made the trek to a concert venue equipped with ear plugs appeared to embrace the serenely entrancing continuity of the night, which included older gems like the beautiful ‘Hole’pound;s’ from 1998’s Deserter’s Songs and the sorrowful ‘Spiders and Flies’ from All Is Dream.

Those who came looking for a more exuberant night had to wait until the encore, which comes in the form of the classic, ‘The Dark Is Rising.’ Fans celebrated the tune and its epic, almost soundtrack-appropriate opening more than any other song played. Donahue, wide-eyed, is jarringly delicate.

The band closed with its latest single, ‘Senses On Fire,’ during which those not tired from standing during one and a half hours worth of a sensory charged but physically idle show could finally allow some blood flow into their limbs. There is little conversation before bowing out, although some people who lingered under the marquee after crowds have scattered into the Allston night chat up band members as they load their instruments into the tour bus, which, much like the Bostonian fans, has been waiting for Mercury Rev to return.’ ‘

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