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Reputation Of  The Merc Rising

Reputation Of The Merc Rising

Who: Thirsty Merc, Dan Brodie, The Humm
Where: Newcastle Panthers
When: Friday October 28, 2005

FOR a guy that has every reason to brag, Thirsty Merc frontman Rai Thistlewaite remains a down-to-earth guy.

``I'm the same guy.

Nothing's changed. Same guy playing in the same band, doing slightly different gigs,'' Thistlewaite said.

``A bit of time has gone by, that's all that's changed.'' In truth, quite a lot has changed for Thirsty Merc. First there is the debut album which has exceeded platinum sales and spawned a stack of radio favourites like My Completeness, Emancipate Myself and Someday, Someday. Then there was that ``back- breaking'' 13-week tour of Australia that took the group to new heights and not only certified them as a hard- working act but a fine live act as well.

``It was huge,'' Thistlewaite said. ``I felt like I'd been given a thousand lashings but at the same time it was a make- or-break tour of the album. The album went from gold to platinum during that tour so it was a tour we had to do.

``But you've got to work.

No pain, no gain they say.'' More recently Thirsty Merc has been testing the water overseas.

In August the band travelled to the UK and played a bunch of club dates.

But the major highlight was performing at the Leeds and Reading Festival where the band shared the bill with The Pixies, The Killers and Queens of The Stone Age. Besides Sydney lads Youth Group, Thirsty Merc was the only other Aussie act at the festival.

It was by chance that the four-piece was added to the line-up.

They met a high-profile booking agent in the UK who was impressed enough to secure them a spot. to invite the guys to perform at the annual festival which draws tens of thousands of punters. ``He books everyone from Coldplay to little unknown bands and he said he could get us in there somehow.

``There were so many bands. It was mind-blowing.

We got to stand and watch Queens of The Stone Age and The Killers from the side of the stage.

``I think it was the highlight for me. I had a ball.'' Thirsty Merc have returned home and wasted no time getting back on the road.

While their latest tour is not quite as extensive as their last Australian jaunt, it will carry the band through to the end of November.

Thistlewaite said touring had become second nature to the group.

``It's great being on the road. It's almost like it's become the most relaxing part of it all in a weird way.

It's almost like a holiday. I get to travel all around the place.'' Despite the band's relentless schedule, the lads have found time to write some new material for the next record, to be recorded early next year. In the meantime fans can check out their new single When the Weather Is Fine. ``We're actually playing some of the new stuff live,'' Thistlewaite said.``Two songs have been built into the show and there's a whole bunch of stuff that we could work into the set.'' Thirsty Merc will perform at Newcastle Panthers on Friday night with support from Dan Brodie and The Humm. Tickets are on sale at the club or online at bigtix.com.au

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