Mercury Lounge 1999


.R Stevie Moore.
.Mercury Lounge.

.New York City.
.217 East Houston St.
.Sat 19 June 1999.

.01 Intro.
.02 Alecia.
.03 Norway.
.04 Love Is Dead, Pal.
.05 What Was I Thinking About.
.06 We Love Ourselves, Don't We.
.07 Bladder.
.08 I Hope That You Remember.
.09 Let's Rest Together.
.10 Dates.
.11 The Decline And Fall Of Me.
.12 It's What You Do (It's Not What You Are).
.13 Steve.
.14 I Could Be Your Lover.
.15 The Man With The Cigar.
.16 Hug Me.
.17 You're Inspiring Me.
.18 Colliding Circles.
.19 Spontaneous Drummer.

.Thanks to Miles Goosens, John Sharples, Circus Guy, KO, Chris Butler, Dawn Eden & others.

Full set video HERE

amglogo.gif AMG REVIEW: An audio vérité document of R. Stevie Moore's first headlining New York City show in years (Moore also sells a video of the same show at his website,, Live at Mercury Lounge is 54 minutes of Moore at his most elemental. Sitting at center stage with just an acoustic guitar and a music stand, Moore runs through 18 songs dating back to the '70s (an excellent version of his early signature song "Dates" and the gloomy "Steve," which uses his lower vocal register to very nice effect), throwing in a sly version of Sparks' synth pop-era obscurity "The Decline and Fall of Me" for good measure. Some of the songs work better in this spare settings than others; the clangorous power pop rocker "Love Is Dead, Pal" doesn't come over in a solo acoustic setting, and it's not helped by Moore's peculiar phrasing of the vocals, but a couple of brief snatches of the dreamy "It's What You Do (It's Not What You Are)" are just lovely. The set proper ends with a terrific version of Moore's sunny mid-'80s psychedelic pop charmer "Colliding Circles," preceded by a humorous story about how historian Martin Lewis had recently admitted that he had made up that song title, along with three others, for a Beatles discography in the early '70s, whereupon they quickly became the Holy Grail of obsessive collectors. (Moore had recently appeared with Lewis at a Beatles convention, performing the songs he had written to fit those titles, some of which had been appearing on Beatles bootlegs since the '80s.) For an encore, Moore moves back to the drum kit left behind by the opening band, Circus Guy, two members of which then clamber on-stage for a ragged improvisation that recalls some of the Bevis Frond's more formless moments. The sound quality is near bootleg level at a few points, but the offhand charm of Moore's performance makes Live at Mercury Lounge a winner for longtime fans.

–Stewart Mason, All Music Guide

From: Michael Bowen
Subject: Mercury Lounge PopFest
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 10:34:09 -0500

Apologies if this comes through twice; I'm trying to configure a new mailer.

I've seen three of these bands already (Bubble, RegEin, and Circus Guy), and all three are truly cool. A lot of you are really jazzed on guys like Owsley and Fountains of Wayne; here's a chance to see a bunch of like-minded bands before they get signed to the majors. Smart-pop fans, come on down!

>> Mercury Lounge, Saturday, June 19:
>> First up, at 8:30, is BUBBLE. Bubble is simply one >> of the best, most melodic and hooky bands in New
>> York. They are usually the headlining act, so we
>> are damn lucky and honored to get them to open our
>> second Popfest in super style.

>> At 9:30 is REGULAR EINSTEIN. Paula's new songs are
>> excellent, I can tell you this because I've been
>> rehearsing with them lately--their Regular drummer
>> Bill must unfortunately be out of town, so I'll be
>> sitting in on drums. If Chrissie Hynde, Robyn
>> Hitchcock, or anything along the spectrum in
>> between is your thang, don't miss RegEin!

>> Eggbert Records band THE CROWD SCENE is on at about
>> 10:30. Originally >from
>> South London (now residing in Washington DC), their
>> debut album TURN LEFT AT GREENLAND is a pure pop
>> delight gaining rave reviews and is a favorite of
>> Vin Scelsa on Idiot's Delight. Imagine a band
>> fronted by *both* Glenn Tilbrook and Sam Philips,
>> and you start to get the picture. Don't miss their
>> debut NYC performance!

>> CIRCUS GUY is on next. We've got old CGuy songs,
>> some fabulous new M. Culhane concoctions, and of
>> course we continue to explore the Wings back
>> catalogue (though for the last time) and your
>> favorite Arabic dance floor hits for your listening
>> pleasure. Check out Michael's new wah-wah pedal!

>> As if that wasn't enough, after CGuy the godfather
>> of lo-fi, powerpop genius R. STEVIE MOORE takes the
>> stage in a rare appearance. The guy's >got
>> over 200 self-released albums, every one of 'em a
>> Cadillac. He's been at it since Guided by Voices
>> were....uh, younger men. I can't wait.

>> All for the low, low price of $7, or $2.50 less
>> than THE PHANTOM MENACE. At less than two bucks a
>> band (with Stevie thrown in for free) this is a
>> summer bargain you can't beat with a stick.

>> Saturday, June 19, doors open at 8:00 pm.
>> The Mercury Lounge
>> E. Houston & Ludlow Streets, E. Village, NYC
>> 21+ (bring I.D.!!)

>> you know we love you like no other...
Michael Bowen

Much of the writing on the Internet could as easily be posted in spray paint on the side of a bus. - Lewis Lapham


  Finally, R. Stevie Moore came up by himself with just his acoustic guitar. I've been reading about this guy since 1977. Ira Robbins and other writers from Trouser Press used to write about this guy all the time and how he would come up with home-brewed records they would compare to the Beatles *and* Eno. I was always fascinated, but since his records were never in the stores I never got around to checking any out. Let me say now, I wish I had. RSM started out with a couple of odd, rambling numbers with strange guitar bits. I later realized that he was trying to emulate an entire arrangement with one acoustic guitar.
        He performed sitting down with a music stand holding a thick sheaf of lyrics/arrangements in front of him; at the end of every number he would snatch the paper, ball it up, and throw it into the audience. His stage presence was a peculiar mixture of Robin Hitchcock, Dave Van Ronk, and a nervous but gifted child; his voice would dip down into Howlin' Wolf territory or soar into a Brian Wilson-like falsetto. Some of his songs were funny (I particularly liked "The Decline and Fall of Me"), others were touching, and a few rambled off into unexplored but not unhospitable territory.
        At the end he described how a journalist had hoaxed the Beatles-fan community since 1972 by mentioning a list of supposed titles of unreleased Beatles material which ended up being the Grail for collectors. RSM actually wrote a couple of songs using those titles; apparently third or fourth-generation tapes got into the hands of Beatles collectors, some of whom thought they were the real deal. At a recent BeatleFest in New Jersey, the cat was let out of the bag by the journalist, much to some collectors' dismay, and RSM came by to perform the songs he had written using the fake titles, "Pink Litmus Paper Shirt" and "Colliding Circles". RSM closed his set with "Colliding Circles", and then walked back to John Sharples' drum kit which was still on stage, and started whomping out a funky beat. He invited any musicians still present to come up and join him, and three Circus Guys (including our John, who played guitar) joined him in a really nice little jam session.
        All in all, it was a performance like I've never seen before. (If you're intrigued by this, listpal and all-around-nice-guy Miles Goosens maintains the http:\\ site.) I had a great time that night, between the cool music and the great company. I came fairly close to giving the show a miss; I am *so* glad I didn't.

Michael Bowen