There was probably just one person who left Friday night’s Mineral show disappointed — it was the guy who yelled a certain request from the crowd (from the back, it sounded like he asked for “If I Could”).
“We just played that song, like, ‘one, two, three,’ songs ago,” frontman Chris Simpson said as he looked down at the setlist. What followed instead was a run through “Your Body Is the World,” one of two new songs Mineral just released, nearly 21 years after the band’s posthumous album, EndSerenading.
You had to feel somewhat sorry for the heckler who missed his jam because this set, quite literally, was about two decades in the making. Mineral famously released its debut, The Power of Failing, in 1997 and then broke up before the arrival of the band’s sophomore effort in 1998. Members wouldn’t play onstage together until 2014, and this 2019 run of dates marks the band’s first outing since the initial reunion tour.
Friday night’s gig may have been Mineral’s first show in the area since a 1997 show at long-shuttered DIY space 403 Chaos (The Get Up Kids and JeJune opened that show — here’s the flyer).
As she closed her opening set, Tancred’s Jess Abbott — who was five years old when Failing was released — summed up the sentimentality of this tour with one statement.
“I grew up crying to these albums,” she said. “And now I get to cry and watch them play them in front of me.”
Orpheum staff didn’t have to mop any tears off the ground on Friday night, but that could have very well been a possibility. For more than 90-minutes, Simpson & co. worked through 15 songs that had fans pogo-ing up and down from the get go (“Fight, Eight and Ten”), swaying in unison (“Slower”) and meditating over some of the late-’90s’ most ruminative indie-rock lyrics (“Soundslikesunday” where Simpson squeaks out the line, “Helpless, we are crying out, but we will love someday”).
Like American Football (which was at Orpheum late last year), Mineral's post-breakup material soundtracked a generation’s worth of malaise and suburban angst. The songs provided comfort for scores and scores of teenagers with just enough free time to pore over the track selection of a mixtape only to never give said tape to someone because of insecurity. On Friday, another late-’90s band that might’ve been on that mixtape opened the show.
Pohgoh — a Tampa band which released a 1997, posthumous album of its own (In Memory of Bab) — got an early start and worked through eight songs, including many from the band’s 2018 comeback album, Secret Club.
Simpson recently told Creative Loafing Tampa that he remembers Pohgoh from back in the day. He reconnected with Pohgoh drummer Keith Ulrey about five years ago. Ulrey — who is married to Pohgoh principal and frontwoman Susie Ulrey —brought Simpson down to Tampa to play a solo set when Mineral played Gainesville as part of that 2014 reunion. For Simpson, having Pohgoh open the first four dates of this world tour is a treat not just because the bands are from the same area, but because he loves the Ulreys as people; he realizes how integral Pohgoh is to the Bay area scene, and he recognizes the significance of Secret Club.
“I love the idea of getting to start the tour with them, getting to hang out with Keith and Susie for four days,” Simpson explained, adding that fans shouldn’t expecting any new activity from his band outside of the new songs and this tour.
Fair enough. It was thoughtful, however, of Mineral to kick off the tour in Florida and meet fans who’ve grown up waiting to hear the band’s songs in real life.
“I've been waiting 20 years for that,” another elated fan said after a Mineral played “Gloria.” The heckle elicited some grins, and bassist Jeremy Gomez was ready with a response.
“Sorry,” he said, smiling, “we’ve been away for a while.”
There may be one person who woke up bummed about being away during his favorite song at last night’s show, but at the end of the day, he probably got to hear so many more that he’s spent years adoring from afar via stereo speakers and headphones. On Friday night, fans met Mineral face-to-face. There was no need to pinch yourself either, because that was — quite literally — a dream come true.
Five, Eight and Ten
If I Could
Your Body Is the World