Glow Merchants on stage at Circus

Glow Merchants on stage at Circus

April 7, 2010 – Well it was a normal Wednesday night in the bar that’s known as Circus. I am a fan of the bar, with its dark lighting and carnival vibe, even if they did recently jack up the beer prices, I love the bartender Michael with all my heart.

Mission tonight? The Columbus bred trio of bipolar rock, The Glow Merchants.  I’ve seen and played with these guys before, but arguably they sounded better tonight, even if I did have a better time with them previously, I went home with a wild drunken harlot that kept getting up on stage with them to sing last time, no shame in my game.

The Glow Merchants consist of two guitarists, neither one playing bass, and drums. We got Tony, Josh and Dave. They look like your typical Indie rock fun time boys, darning Buddy Holly Glasses and bandanas, and for at least one of their members a healthy PBR gut.  Now I sat through their whole set, which consisted of about eight songs, I was not sure if one of them was one or two songs, and an encore. I decided to coin the phrase bipolar rock, which in this day and age of a gazillion genre names, I’m sure is already taken but who gives a fig. Anywho, I would like to say that at times some of their songs seemed to drone on a bit, but usually each started with a memorable hook and some very satisfying guitar explosions. All three members were crashing away making you wonder if we even need bass guitars anymore. Their music was very fulfilling and went to many different dimensions. They seemed to have a loyal twenty person fan base, I’m not sure how long these dudes have been around, but if they just started last year, then that’s not a bad start.

Glow Merchants on stage at Circus

Glow Merchants on stage at Circus

The vocals at times, shared by both guitarists, were at times beautiful and airy at best, at worst out of tune, and not in an ironic indie rock way, but just plain out of tune.  They were a tad whiney, but the vocals did have some interesting stuff going on and at times and took me to what I like best about Built to Spill or Pavement. My favorite song by these guys was a self-proclaimed untitled number that made me think of indie tropical rock, if there could be such a thing. It lifted me to some nice places. If I describe these fellows sound in its entirety by using just one song from another group, then I would say the song “Dramamine” by Modest Mouse kind of sums up the night for me. I do think the music of the Merchants was nice, their vocals could definitely use some work though, maybe a bit more focus as the two sing together.

I do wish these guys all the luck in the world, they do have their own sound brewing, but sometimes the things you start liking about a band early in the set can easily become the same thing that begins to annoy you. I felt a little bit like that with these guys. But when they weren’t being too dreary or sludgy just for sludge sake they were making some pretty great music, which is what it’s all about guys. Keep it going for awhile and you guys have some potential to be great. Just remember mediocrity is the killer of any music scene, so keep challenging yourself and your audience. Good Luck guys.

– Oddfellow