His Time Is Gonna Come

February 21st, 2011

Fences – Mercury Lounge – February 19, 2011

(Photo: Kirsten Housel)

(Photo: Kirsten Housel)

Midway through his Saturday night set at Mercury Lounge, Fences (lesser known as Chris Mansfield) told a story about a power outage during a show in Seattle. “Any questions?” asked keyboardist Jonathan Warman. “Is this punk?” inquired a kid. Although Mansfield’s tattooed exterior might mislead some, the music Fences plays is far from punk, or anything loud, snotty or brash. The songs on the band’s 10-track self-titled debut album, produced by Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara, are melodic, endearing and earnest, with lyrics taken from Mansfield’s 27 years of life experience. Quite refreshingly, he doesn’t play up the country influences or the woe-is-me point of view as much as some of his peers, leaving memorable simple and smart pop songs.

Saturday night’s show was packed with what appeared to be many audiophiles eager to check out this new talent. A few sang along to songs like “The Same Tattoos,” an older track originally self-released in 2008 on The Ultimate Puke EP, and “Girls with Accents,” the first song to have a video. But for the most part, those in the crowd let Mansfield’s often-haunting voice soar on its own. He may be new to the scene now, but there’s undoubtedly a lot more to come to him—and from him—in the future. —Kirsten Housel