Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Merge 25 Day 4: Ex Hex, Mikal Cronin

All photos by Kevin Norris
The second quarter of Merge 25’s outdoor show began with a needed breeze and some brief cloud cover rolling in. Ex Hex took the stage with host Margaret Cho to take a photo with the crowd in the background before performing songs off of their anticipated debut record, Rips, coming out this fall on Merge.

Mary Timony, Betsy Wright, and Laura Harris are already in excellent form. Wright and Timony play off each well on stage and are clearly having a ton of fun in this new group.

“Don’t Wanna Lose” and “Hot and Cold” really stood out during the set, although that may be because they’re the first two singles the band has released.

Ex Hex will appeal to a wide swath of different rock fans, but if you thought Wild Flag could use less 60s psych and more 70s and 80s punk and classic rock, then Ex Hex is highly recommended.

The brilliant Mikal Cronin was up next and he did not disappoint.

With most of his songs, Cronin and his band found openings to dig in on some solos or extend some instrumental sections. Up until this point, the heat was keeping the crowd pretty docile, but the energy in the audience started to build up during Cronin’s set.

He started out with classics “Apathy” and “Situation” from his solo debut in 2011 while the latter half was dominated by songs from his Merge release MCII. Cronin was joined by Christian Peslac of Saint Rich on the song "Am I Wrong," which Saint Rich covered for Google Play. “The Weight,” “Shout It Out,” and “Change” finished out his set.

Ex Hex set list
Don't Wanna Lose
Waste Your Time
How You Got That Girl
New Kid
80s (?)
Radio On
War Paint
Hot and Cold

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