Young Culture, Selfish Things, Fredo Disco, and Have Mercy: A Concert Review

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I had purchased the tickets for this show in mid-January after seeing a post on Fredo Disco’s Instagram showing some of the locations and dates for his current tour. I have been a pretty hard-core fan of his music for roughly two years now since I first listened to his album School Spirit, which I wholeheartedly believe to this day is one of the best break-up albums of all time, perfectly encapsulating the absolute tragic angst of a teenager going through their first big heartbreak. Unfortunately, in the past every time Fredo Disco has been on tour the dates have lined up in such a way that every time he came to Boston I happened to be home in Denver, and every time he came to Denver, I was here at school. So you can imagine the excitement I felt when I saw that on this tour he would be coming to New England at a time when I would actually be able to go see him.

I bought the tickets as soon as humanly possible, with zero hesitation, even with the knowledge that my bank account probably couldn’t handle it.

It was only after purchasing the tickets that I saw the other bands that were to perform, the headliner being Have Mercy, a band I was familiar with from their hit “Let’s Talk About Your Hair,” a song which I had coincidentally stumbled upon around the same time that I found School Spirit, but that I otherwise did not know. I had never heard of the other two bands, Young Culture and Selfish Things.

In preparation for the show, I relistened to the entire discography (or shall I say Disco-graphy? No, I shan’t) of Fredo Disco, as well as Have Mercy’s top hits on Spotify, and their latest album release, The Love Life. I also listened to the top hits of Selfish Things, though unfortunately, I did not get around to listening to any of Young Culture’s music.

The night of the show itself was the most fun I have had in a while. The venue, The Sinclaire, was in Cambridge, MA, and before this point, I had never been to Cambridge, and to be honest, I sort of did not realize that Harvard was a real place, with real students who go there. Walking down the cobblestone sidewalks and looking into dimly lit bars, all I could think was “wow, it looks just like The Social Network in there!” forgetting, of course, that The Social Network is based off a true story, and is not just another movie where Jesse Eisenberg plays an unsympathetic nerd-boy. I must say, I really felt honored when the Harvard Students cut me in line at the Greek restaurant where I got dinner, that was super cool, and they for sure deserved that place in line more than me. But I digress.

I will admit that I was a little intimidated by The Sinclaire upon arriving. Back in my glory days I would frequent plenty of venues, bars and restaurants where my friends’ band Meeting House (which (not to brag) was pretty popular locally before they split up), so I would consider myself sort of a connoisseur of the smaller music venue (when I say smaller I mean not a stadium, floor space only aside from maybe a few tables here and there, not necessarily a tiny venue), but this venue had a whole bouncer outside the door, arms crossed and everything, and a coat check (which was very classy and also very necessary), but once I was inside I felt right at home. From the grungy aesthetic of the Sinclair to the welcoming and more personal atmosphere.

Before I get into my review of the music, I’d like to share a short anecdote about my fangirl moment meeting Fredo Disco face to face. It was before the show began, my friend and I had been standing around for a few minutes when I decided that I wanted to purchase a Fredo Disco shirt before the show. And so I went to the merch table where I met two lovely men, one with pink hair and one who did not have pink hair. I asked the one with pink hair if the hair was a gimmick as Fredo also has brightly colored hair, and he said “No, this is friendship.” I nodded. The other guy, who also happened to be the drummer for the band, explained to me that he did not have pink hair because he did not like Fredo enough to dye his hair for him, I continued nodding. I then purchased my shirt and walked away. It was as I was walking away wearing my new shirt that I saw Mr. Disco himself, in all his purple-headed glory. 

Now listen, I know in my head that the musicians I like are just regular people who have some talent and some feelings and all that. Like, logically that makes sense. But the thing is, as I said before, I’ve been listening to this guy’s music for a couple of years, his edgy and relatable lyrics and impassioned vocals have gotten me through some rough times, and because of that I sort of idolize him, just a little. So you can imagine that when I saw him in person for the first time, I sort of became a living breathing version of this “:o” emoticon. The first thing I said upon seeing him was “Oh!” to which he responded with “Hello,” and then “nice shirt,” I then extended my hand for a shake before running away, and then immediately turned around and asked for a picture.

Now, as for the actual show. If you think that the early 2000s alternative/pop-punk/grunge scene was when music peaked, this would have been the show for you. Lucky for me, I do. The first band to play was Young Culture, and I have to say that their sound was reminiscent of All Time Low or the State Champs, definitely something I would have really bopped out to unabashedly when I was fourteen riding the bus to ninth grade, but I think I had really good music in ninth grade, which is why I have a Spotify playlist titled “The Best Possible Reconstruction of the Playlist I had on my Phone in Ninth Grade,” that I still listen to frequently. The guys did a great job at getting the crowd hyped up, to the point that a mosh pit broke out, which in my experience is pretty rare for the first band that plays a show like this. They also debuted their new song “Holiday in Vegas,’ which they released on various streaming platforms the following Friday.

Young Culture Photo via Lia Mulqueen

Following Young Culture was the band Selfish Things, and while I don’t want to say that I don’t like this band, I will say that they for sure killed my vibe. I think that I could potentially like their music if I was in the right headspace, that headspace being very sad and gloomy in a goth rock sort of way, but quite frankly I was not in that headspace, at all, especially after Young Culture got me all hyped. I’m going to be real, they sort of just killed my vibe. The band did not even look like they wanted to be up on stage, they were all sitting down hunched over their instruments like they were about to fall asleep. I don’t think it would have been so bad if they had gone first and then let the other bands do their thing so that there wasn’t this weird slow break in the middle of the show, but as it was, it did give me a chance to grab some water and rehydrate before Fredo Disco went on.

Selfish Things
Photo via Lia Mulqueen

When it was time for Fredo to perform you can bet your bottom dollar that kicked and fought my way to the front of the crowd, and you can continue betting that yes, I was the most obnoxious audience member and yes I did scream along with every word of every song that was performed. I feel like I have spent most of this article sucking up to Fredo Disco, so I will spare readers the rest of this paragraph and simply say, his music is good, I wouldn’t call it pop-punk like Young Culture, I would call it alternative-indie-rock, and I would recommend you give it a listen if that was not clear from the start.

Fredo Disco
Photo via Lia Mulqueen

Finally, Have Mercy went on, and what I did not know going into this show is that this is actually Have Mercy’s final tour for the foreseeable future. While I did not have as deep of a connection with this band or their music, I do have to say that I was getting very emotional listening to the band reminisce over their past and watching some of their die-hard fans jam out, mosh, and headbang to them live for the last time. Their setlist was seventeen songs long with an encore, performing songs that spanned across genre, a lot of it falling into the category of emo rock, but some of their later stuff reaching into more indie pop, making it so that almost anyone could have found at least one song they enjoyed.

Have Mercy
Photo via Lia Mulqueen

Overall I would give this show a solid 9/10 with points detracted for my vibe being killed in the middle. My neck and knees did hurt for a solid three days after the show, which I would say is evidence of a good time. I would definitely want to see three of these four bands live again should the opportunity arise. 

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Lia is a senior here at New England College and hails from Denver, Colorado. She is studying Creative Writing and Philosophy.
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