I WItness: Mercury Rev and Dean & Britta on Phoenicia Main Street
Coinciding with Phoenicia’s first Festival of the Voice, the Mystery Spot Antiques store on the village’s Main Street hosted its biggest (and best) porch series Sunday lunchtime show yet this past Sunday August 15. Mercury Rev’s Jonathan Donahue and Grasshopper teamed up with Dean (Wareham) and Britta (Phillips) for a half-hour joint performance that was, truly, magical. The music drew from across the musicians’ extensive catalogue, including “Holes” and “Diamonds” by Mercury Rev, “Snowstorm” by Wareham’s first group Galaxie 500, “Tugboat Captain” by his longer-lasting and still greatly missed band Luna, a Britta-sung cover of “I’ll Keep It With Mine” (which I picked up on a limited edition Dean & Britta 7” afterwards) and the revisitation of a 20-year old collaboration between the musicians, officially credited at the time to Mercury Rev, “Car Wash Hair.” That song served as reminder that Grasshopper served, briefly, as a founding guitarist for Luna: the interplay between Wareham and Grasshopper, so similar in style, was for me the musical highlight of the lunchtime show. (I suspect that for most people, the highlight was the sheer intimacy of the occasion, with Mystery Spot shoppers forced to wait for breaks between songs to exit the store right between the musicians.) Thanks to photographer/artist/proprietor Laura Levine for hosting the summer series, which concludes on Sunday August 22 with a show by Tommy Ramone’s duo Uncle Monk.
More of my photos follow below (click on thumbnails for full-size pics) along with a couple of YouTube clips taken by others in the outdoor “audience.” These movies are of high quality, but they are not, I assure you, quite the same as being there.