SAN FRANCISCO — Mineral, which is marking its 25th anniversary this year, performed an intimate show full of emotional throwbacks at the Great American Music Hall Wednesday. While the Austin band has released only a couple of albums and a few EPs over the years, it’s made a greater impact that surpassed the sum of its catalog.
Mineral originally broke up in 1997 after spending less than four years, reuniting for. handful of shows in 2014. While most disbanded groups at the time quickly faded from the spotlight, Mineral had the opposite effect. Its legacy continued to grow. Hearing many of Mineral’s songs at Wednesday’s show still felt like quite a rarity.
The band opened with three cuts off their 1997 debut album, The Power Of Failing: “Five, Eight and Ten,” “Gloria” and “Slower.” Mineral still possessed a magical chemistry that made these songs resonate. Vocalist-guitarist Chris Simpson, guitarist Scott McCarver, bassist Jeremy Gomez and drummer Gabe Wiley all played with a passion that captured the whirlwind of emotions of youth.
The group followed with “Unfinished” and “A Letter,” from 1998’s post-breakup album EndSerenading, and continued with the lilting, soothingly melancholic “Aurora,”off 2019 EP One Day When We Are Young. Mineral’s mix of emotively expressed lyrics and sedating guitar melodies transcended emotional boundaries, tugging at heartstrings and underscoring the calm before an emotional storm.
The set continued with fast rhythms and Simpson’s voice that bordered on breaking on “80-37.” Next up was the calm “February” and the intense “M.D.,” both off 1996 EP February/M.D. “ForIvadell” bursted into new track “Your Body is The World,” exploding and soaring with an epic crescendo. The song progressed from polished guitar swirls to grungy riffs, and fit well alongside Mineral’s older cuts like the gritty “WakingToWinter” and ”&Serenading.”
Mineral broke into its encore with “LoveLetterTypeWriter” and “Palisade.”
“Summer unfolded like a tapestry/ And you were there as you have always been,” Simpson sang during the former. Popular cut “Parking Lot” ultimately closed out the show, with a stirring melody perfectly encompassing the raw sincerity of the ’90s emo era.
Minnesota’s Tancred, the solo project of former Now, Now guitarist Jess Abbott, opened the show with the infectious, high voltage energy of “Bed Case,” off 2016’s Out of the Garden. Tancred followed with four cuts off 2018 pop-heavy album Nightstand: “Queen of New York,” “Something Else,” the introspective “Clipping,” and “Apple Tree Girl.”
“Pens,” a 2016 indie-rock jam, and the newer “Hot Star” and “Underwear” followed, with Abbott displaying a change in sound. This evolution was made most clear when she jumped into “Control Me,” which featured more distortion and energy. Abbott’s last songs featured the guzzling bass lines of “Rowing,” “Reviews” and “Pretty Girls.”
Follow photographer Joaquin Cabello at Instagram.com/joaquinxcabello.