Monday, December 14, 2009

Denmark = Paradise?

Mew has always been one of those bands that my friends told me I had to get into and I would probably love if I gave them a chance. Nevertheless, I always ended up writing the band off; mostly because I couldn't get into the vocals. On December 2, 2009, I gave the band one last chance when I decided to go to their show at Paradise Rock Club in Boston, MA. I figured since they were one of the most critically acclaimed artists in recent memory and were traveling all the way from Denmark, I might as well catch the show. This decision ended up being one of the best I have recently made. The band absolutely blew me away with their live show and has made me a fan for life. As often only a live show can do, it gave me a greater understanding of the power of their music. On top of this, I was given a free ticket by a gentleman outside the venue. So a BIG thanks goes out to him in the off chance he ends up reading this.

Mew kicked things off by playing "Reprise" into "Introducing Palace Players"; the latter of which is one of the best songs of 2009. "Introducing Palace Players" was every bit as good live and retains the innovative qualities of the studio version and more. The angular guitars meandered around until they synchronized with the drums to create an intriguingly danceable tune. The version they played live ended in a thunderous jam that had heads banging. Fortunately, there are videos of the performance crawling around YouTube so you can witness for yourself below.

The band played classics from their entire catalog keeping things lively at first with soaring tracks like "The Zookeeper's Boy" and punchier songs like "Am I Wry? No" as well as "156". The band was backed by videos projecting strange and psychedelic imagery. This included a choir of children backing them up, a cat playing violin [note: awesome!], and an eerie video of an older woman singing by herself. Mew made sure that the entire experience was an aurally and visually stimulating experience. Watch "Am I Wry? No" and "156" below for an example.

The group broke up the pace with gorgeous acoustic renditions of "New Terrain" and "She Came Home for Christmas". "She Came Home for Christmas" had a backdrop of snow falling as Jonas Bjerre's stunning falsetto vocals washed over the crowd. Bjerre hit every note flawlessly throughout the set and it was quite a sight to see. You can find a sample of these somber ballads in the following video.

The main set closed with their latest single "Repeaterbeater" which contains a similar mathy guitar sound to the songs they opened with. I have to mention that guitarist Bo Madsen had one of the coolest guitar tones I have ever heard live and it sounded tremendous in that intimate venue. The encore finished an epic set appropriately with "Beach" and "Comforting Sounds". The crescendo at the end of "Comforting Sounds" was the ideal blockbuster to leave the audience satisfied. You can witness "Beach" for yourself in the video followed by the set list.

Mew December 2, 2009 Paradise Rock Club:
1. Reprise
2. Introducing Palace Players
3. Special (Long)
4. The Zookeeper's Boy
5. Am I Wry? No
6. 156
7. Eight Flew Over, One Was Destroyed
8. New Terrain (Acoustic)
9. She Came Home For Christmas (Acoustic)
10. Hawaii Dream
11. Hawaii
12. Sometimes Life Isn't Easy
13. Snow Brigade
14. Silas The Magic Car
15. Repeaterbeater
16. Beach (Long)
17. Comforting Sounds

On their Wikipedia page, it quotes Bo Madsen as saying that Mew is "the world's only indie stadium band". This claim is not without justification since they put on a show worthy of a stadium. Needless to say, I was totally won over by the group and it was one of my favorite shows that I have seen the entire year. You can stream their latest release in the player below. The album is called No More Stories / Are Told Today / I'm Sorry / They Washed Away // No More Stories / The World Is Grey / I'm Tired / Let's Wash [yes, that is the official title of the album. I'm tired just from typing it] and it features standouts like "Introducing Palace Players" and "Hawaii". The record is a rising contender for my year end list.

No comments:

Post a Comment