On The List :: Free Energy @ Mercury Lounge [3.11.10]

It is both lazy and not useful to distill a band down to just one moment in one of their songs. But, despite this, it is hard to avoid finding some real capital "T" Truth in the second-half of Free Energy's eponymous statement song, "Free Energy." Perhaps they meant it as the "about us" section of their metaphorical website; maybe this song wasn't named after the band but the other way around. In the middle of their set, at a packed Mercury Lounge, Free Energy would bear this out and see how much they could pack into one part of one song, into that one lazy, reductionist moment.

This is the sort of noesis that does not emerge immediately, as if it isn't fun to figure it all out in the first song. Opening with "Hope Child," a song that is slotted second-to-last on their debut album, the band proved that their catalogue, even for a first record, runs deep. Finding their legs near the middle of the set, singer Paul Sprangers ran through the no-nothing anthem, "All I Know," and the explosive b-side, "Something In Common," in rapid succession. If you need proof that the recently released Stuck On Nothing is outstanding, look no further than the excising of the excellent "Something In Common" from the final track list. Sprangers has noted in interviews, "it just didn't fit."

Again, however, despite all this fervor, we were waiting for definitiveness. With little regard for human safety (oh the humanity?), Sprangers and the band launched into "Free Energy," or That One Moment. The second-half, coming out of the bridge provided it, the lyrics suggesting, "If you wanna get high kid, just open your eyes." The band then charged back through the chorus the audience already heard twice and this time, not surprisingly, it was different. The temperature of the room went up, quietly, two or three degrees. With a casual directness, Sprangers lead the band into should-be radio hit, "Bang Pop." We might have come looking for That Moment but in the process we found a few, noesis recasted not as sudden understanding but, rather a pleasantly surprising architecture of incidental greatnesses. Now, you understand.

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