by Ryan Busse
The crowd showed up slowly to Brighton Music Hall on Sunday January 20, nobody loving the prospect of waiting outside in 18 degrees and snow. There was no line outside when the doors opened at seven, and those that filed in mostly gathered around the TV’s showing the Patriots’ AFC Championship game, not too concerned about saving themselves a spot in front of the stage. Most of the audience were fans of Mineral from their original run in the 90s. Many of them approached my friend and I, who were clearly too young to be original fans, to tell us about their experience seeing the band in a bar, or basement, with a very small crowd.
The venue was mostly full by the time opener Tancred took the stage. They performed a tight, short set of soft-loud dynamic punk tunes that won the audience over. Mineral took the stage shortly after. This being their 25th anniversary tour, and only their second tour since breaking up in 1998 (the other being a reunion tour in 2014), I was nervous that they would show some rust on stage. However, the band dispelled those fears by immediately blazing through the first three songs on their debut record The Power of Failing. The debut record that fits snugly into the straightforward and hard hitting 90’s emo pioneered by bands like Sunny Day Real Estate. While their second record, EndSerenading and later B-sides, dip into slow and building post-rock influence. The performance captured the feeling of the original recording, bringing the same layers of distorted guitars and punky energy.
The set went on to include B-sides and songs from EndSerenading, including fan favorites such as “February” and “&Serenading.” The performances were consistently tight and emotive, displaying why their project earned them a cult following after they originally disbanded. The band also performed both of their songs from late last year, “Aurora” and “Your Body is the World,” the latter of which might’ve been the setlist’s only lull. The band did show some rust in their stage presence. Between songs and when addressing the audience the band seemed anxious, and a bit awkward, but luckily none of that came across in the sound.
The encore consisted of the opening two tracks to EndSerenading, “LoveLetterTypewriter” (known recently for being sampled on a Lil Peep track) and “Palisades,” two medley-style tracks that build into one another. They closed with “Parking Lot,” their most popular song and a great example of their appeal. As one of the original fans told us after, they played as well today in front of hundreds as they had twenty years ago in front of four people.