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Mercury Rocker Adam Sivitz Goes Solo

After Dark: Mercury drummer Adam Sivitz branches out from the successful local group with a new solo effort.


 

Listen to the beautiful, diverse, world-music melodies spread throughout Adam Sivitz’s album Under a Blueberry Moon and you might be moved. You might be swept up in the other-worldly vibe of this instrumental record. You might be inclined to meditate, frankly.

You would probably not think, “This dude should be opening up for Boston.”

Yet, Sivitz will do just that this Friday. Not sporting the Bali Steel Pan that drives Blueberry Moon, though; he’ll be perched at a drum kit behind his bandmates in long-running ’Burgh rock outfit Mercury.

“We go out and do what we do,” Sivitz says of Mercury, now in their 11th year on the local scene. “We don’t try to pander or cater to our audiences. The production manager at Stage AE submitted a few bands to Boston, and Boston chose us.”

“It’s a great honor,” he adds.

Sivitz grew up in the South Hills and attended Baldwin High School, drumming nearly the whole time (he first picked up the sticks when he was a lad of 10). He earned an Education degree at Pitt and is a teacher by day — which gels nicely with the life of a local musician, he says. Having nights, weekends and the summer free to write, record and gig goes a long way.

He’s clearly thrilled with the success of Mercury. Few local acts manage to persist at a high level for as long as Mercury has; they’ve gone from up-and-comers to rock stalwarts, and have a rapidly diversifying crowd to show for it. “Those fans who were 18-21 [when we started] are now 28-31, obviously — but we’ve definitely pulled some younger crowds, too. We opened up for Anberlin last year at Club Zoo, and that was a great opportunity.”

Still, there are some things one can’t do with a modern rock outfit. Make the most of a nearly-unheard-of percussion instrument from Indonesia, for example.



“The Bali Steel Pan is like a steel drum that you play with your hands, instead of mallets. There are only a few companies that make these things — they’re patented and not made in the United States. There’s kind of a cool niche of people that are into these cool instruments. It’s a cool community to be a part of now.”

“Stylistically, it’s a total departure from Mercury. Which allowed me to explore some creative avenues you don’t get to explore in rock music.”

The result is Under a Blueberry Moon, a ten-song collection of tunes that would fit in anywhere people are trying to relax. “Good vibes” might be the right phrase — and even if the music doesn’t mellow you out, perhaps the knowledge that you’re rescuing an animal or two with every purchase will. Twenty percent of album proceeds will be donated to Animal Friends. (“It wasn’t hard to choose them,” Sivitz says. “They do so much.”)

The album is already a hit with percussion fans, and has been spreading Sivitz’s reputation globally — a YouTube posting of one track, “Song for Sendai”, was a surprise hit in Slovakia, of all places.

Friday, though, it’ll be an energized rock show designed to get the crowd primed for a set of guitar legends. Teaching by day, sharing a stage with rock legends by night — and sending some good vibes to eastern Europe whenever possible? Not too bad.
 

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