Gig review: Thirsty Merc -‘Take Me Back’ tour, ends at The Grand Bar – Glenelg.

The Happy Leonards were the warm up band for Thirsty Merc on Sunday 20th May 2018 at The Grand Bar Glenelg, and they certainly did warm up the crowd. This talented band is made up of Ben Kilsby – Lead Vocals / Rhythm Guitar, Luke Nitschke – Lead Guitarist, Tim Bishop – Drums and Curtis Mckay – Lead Vocals / Bass Guitar

Playing many Aussie hit anthems from various bands over the last few decades, they wowed the crowd with their incredible musical skills. Lead guitarist Luke Nitschke blew everyone away with his lead solos, this guy is a guitar god and definitely a must see and hear for any music lover.

The band have an easy manner and strike up a friendly banter with the crowd. Despite no one in the band being named Leonard, they all seemed pretty happy.

A perfect support act for Thirsty Merc and a great sounding band for any occasion.

Check out The Happy Leonards at:



Thirsty Merc

Celebrating 15 years of hits since the band exploded onto the Aussie music scene with their Summertime sounds. Thirsty Merc went back on the road on their Take Me Back Tour. Playing three dates in Adelaide in May, 2018 The Seaton Hotel (18th), The Slug and Lettuce (19th) and the final date on the 8 month long tour, The Grand Bar situated in the opulent Stamford Grand Hotel at Glenelg, on the 20th.

Formed in Sydney in 2002 they released their debut EP ‘First work’ in Sept 2003 before signing to Warner Music. The bands big break came in 2004 with the release of the self-titled album which included the hits, ‘Someday Someday’ and ‘In The Summertime’ (the theme for Aussie TV show – Bondi Rescue since 2006).

Two more studio albums followed – Slideshows in 2007 (#4 ARIA Album) and ‘Mousetrap Heart’ in 2010 (#14 on the ARIA Album chart) which included radio staples, ‘20 Good Reasons, Mousetrap Heart’ and ‘Tommy and Krista’

Fast forward to 2015 – Thirsty Merc released ‘Shifting Gears’, their first wholly independent and first new material in five years and spent the next few months crossing the country; running up thousands of Frequent Flyer points and sold out shows.

The band is still going strong today. Lead singer, Rai Thistlethwayte, said “It’s thanks to the fans that we’re still here, loving life and music, 15 years later and this tour is a big “thank you” to everyone who’s sung along with us over the years, as well as a great opportunity to dust off some songs we’ve never included in our shows”.

The show at The Grand Bar was a fitting finale to the enormously successful, Take Me Back tour, and take us back they did. With numbers covering the whole 15 year period they took the crowd on a musical journey with songs that some of us had almost forgotten, thankfully the band hadn’t.

The Grand Bar was packed tighter than a sardine can. From the serving area to the stage, it wasn’t just standing room only, it was standing still room only. It was impossible to lift an arm to take a drink without having to apologise for bumping the person next to you.

Lead singer Rai Thistlethwayte has to be one of the most talented musicians around today, not only for his superb vocal ability, but also for his incredible keyboard skills. Skills which were demonstrated on many numbers, from rock organ on the funky 2010 hit ‘Mousetrap Heart’ to the beautiful piano accompaniment on ‘All My Life’ and jazzy piano on ‘Tommy and Krista’, Thistlethwayte does it all.

Thirsty Merc are as tight a band as you will find anywhere in the world, the numbers played on Sunday night were as perfect as any studio recordings. With the drummer using just a floor tom, a snare and a Hi-hat, you could be forgiven for thinking the sound would be lacking some of that big bottom end, bass drum sound, but the expert mixing meant we were treated to a sound that was full and clear. No matter where in the room I stood and listened, the sound was great.

Hits like ‘Someday Someday’, brought out the wannabe singers in the crowd as they loudly sung along. ‘Sweet Talker’ got everyone moving with its driving guitar riff and they continued to bop along as the band broke into the Cold Chisel number ‘My Baby’ with Thistlethwayte on electric piano and Matt Smith on lead guitar trading licks, to huge cheers from the crowd.

The party atmosphere was evident throughout the night. As this was the final gig for the tour, the band made sure it was going to be one we wouldn’t forget, and I think the reception they received from the crowd would make sure the band will remember their gig at The Grand Bar for a long time too.

People outside the venue could be seen dancing in the street, as the band launched into their final number ‘In the Summertime’ which brought the loudest cheers of the night. The band couldn’t get off stage because of the packed crowd so they – of course – had to play a final number as an encore. They finished with ‘20 Good reasons’ with the whole place – and those outside – singing along.

A gig to remember for many reasons. The pure sound, the incredible musicianship and the party atmosphere being just 3, there must be at least 17 more reasons why you should catch the next Thirsty Merc gig.


Categories: Gig Reviews

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