It's no coincidence local rockers Mergence have been likened to California's Cold War Kids. Not only is the Phoenix band a quartet, but it also has a knack for crafting bluesy, soul-inspired opuses -- kinda like those other guys. So it seems only natural that they would get the nod to rep the Valley when one of California's finest comes to town for Carnaval Eléctrico.
Although they're also known for dabbling in funk and jazz, anchored by some righteous rock riffs, Mergence's newest material sees them stepping outside of themselves a bit, producing sounds that are bound to surprise even the staunchest fan.
"There's one track that we're calling a surf-samba that I think is going to surprise people," drummer Jason Roedl says. "There are one or two tracks that most people are going to hear and say, 'Man, I didn't think I would hear that come out of Mergence.' We really took our time this time around during recording."
Much to their delight, they'll be unveiling some of those new songs at the March 8 show.
"When they contacted us to do this, I was just like, 'Oh, hell yeah, man,'" Roedl says. "This is going to be a real good time." Roedl knows firsthand what the über-popular venue is like when the music moves to the parking lot outside. Barely six months after from the two-day festival Los Dias de la Crescent (where he was one of the event's performers), he can still smell the braised pork belly and feel the electricity from the eager crowd.
"The first festival was pretty cool the way the whole thing was set up," he says. "I mean, how cool was that? And for them to contact us for the second one, it's just icing on the cake. When you look at the other bands that are on this and the fact that they're going to set up in the parking lot again, you just know this is a really cool bill."
So cool that they altered their schedule when the offer to perform came in.
"We have a nice Gmail calendar that we use to check everyone's availability, but that went out the window when this opportunity came about," he says. "This is one of those lifetime moments that make you feel good about what you do."
And what they've been doing is creating some buzz of their own throughout Southern California. Mergence spent most of their time last year writing and venturing into the L.A. area in hopes of spreading their sound and reaching a broader audience. If their last tour is any indication, things are looking pretty good.
"When we played in Costa Mesa, there was a whole group there that was singing along to our stuff," Roedl says. "We were just blown away that we were that far out from Phoenix and there were still that many people out there even though we've never played that town before. That was a pretty good feeling man."
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