After running through set opener "A Little Piece," Jezabels keyboardist Heather Shannon and guitarist Samuel Lockwood look to the soundboard at the back of the Mercury Lounge and request more center vocals in their monitors. Like the rest of the room, they want to hear Hayley Mary. With apologies to her bandmates, the diminutive black-clad Aussie is the only person in the room who will matter for the next hour. In short order, she rips through "Endless Summer" and "Easy to Love," her impossibly powerful, soaring voice bolstered by the sound tech who turned her up in the mix. He understands. We all do.
Mary, drinking tea from a cheap bodega cup throughout the set, starts off tightlipped and serious -- barely acknowledging the crowd between songs -- but loosens up as she sheds layers of leather. During a quiet moment, one of the collected Australians in the audience yells out "Are you going out?" The singer smiles and answers ruefully: "We've got a lot of driving ahead. It's actually all we do ever." You find yourself hoping she doesn't sing in the van. The windows can't handle those pipes.
"Mace Spray" is good. "Try Colour" is great. "Hurt Me" is (once again) briefly transcendent. Mary finishes singing the last song of night while the band's final notes reverberate around the room. She grabs her tea from the amp, walks off stage, and, amazingly, disappears into the crowd.
Listen :: The Jezabels - "Try Colour"