Concert Review: The New Mendicants, April 18, Dakota Tavern


Although their ranks include an American and a Scotsman, I tend to think of The New Mendicants as almost a Canadian band.  After all, despite meeting years earlier when The Pernice Brothers opened for Teenage Fanclub, Joe Pernice and Norman Blake didn’t get together to work on songs until much later, in Canada, where both men had settled after marrying Canadians. Factor in drummer Mike Belitsky, an actual Canadian and member of The Sadies, and they’ve practically achieved CanCon status.

Speaking of marriage and family in general, there were kids at this show, which was a little bit of a surprise based on what Pernice had tweeted before the show:


Little did I know Pernice was being facetious as the children in attendance included his own son, to whom he dedicated a song during their set.  They followed that up with Blake’s “I Don’t Want Control Of You,” a song he wrote about his daughter, a fact I never knew until Pernice and Blake began performing the Teenage Fanclub song together.

In addition to their own songs, Pernice and Blake included a few covers in their set, including The Go Betweens’ “Finding You” and Sandy Denny’s “By the Time It Gets Dark,” both of which featured Blake singing the lead.  While Pernice tends to take the lead more often on the New Mendicants’ original numbers (while still leaving plenty of room for harmonizing and trading off verses with Blake), it was the Teenage Fanclub songs that Blake sang during their set that made the biggest impression on me.  I’m sure that Pernice wouldn’t be too offended by this seeing as he referred to “Everything Flows” (which closed the band’s set) as one of the top songs of the ’80s and ’90s.  High praise indeed, as Pernice is certainly no slouch in the songwriting department.

Fans of either Blake or Pernice’s past work who haven’t yet heard The New Mendicants or seen them live would certainly do well to check them out.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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