Monday 30 November 2009 at 7:00pm
1003 Arch St, Philadelphia, 19107, United States
Mew has been touring constantly since the release of their latest album in August, and has received widespread support and acclaim, enabling them to extend their tour dates. Recently they stopped in on us here in Philadelphia, three years since the last time they were here, and brought the full force of the band with them. Their most recent release is entitled:
"No More Stories
Are Told Today
They Washed Away
No More Stories
The World Is Grey
Let's Wash Away"
For those who don't know, Mew, which consists of Jonas Bjerre, Bo Madsen, and Silas Utke Graae Jorgenson, hails from their Evil Office headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark. They describe themselves as a pop band, albeit a pop band that constantly and consistently pushes the boundaries of pop music, with really heavy rock pieces like Circuitry of the Wolf and Apocalypso, intense thumping dance-able pieces like Special and Repeaterbeater, bitter, emotional pieces like White Lips Kissed, and soaring, hopeful music like The Zookeeper’s Boy and Saviours of Jazz Ballet. Everything is supported by the originals animations of Bjerre, projected onto the backdrops they use when performing live.
What do they sound like? Imagine the Mendelssohn Club contracted into a five piece, with a modern sense of music and instruments, and influences by Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, Michael Jackson, the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., Genesis, and Kate Bush, yet distinctly their own thing, equal parts rock, pop, and weirdness,and you will be part-way there. There is so often a sense of emotional intensity and storytelling in their music, drawn forth from their daily lives and their nightly dreams and nightmares.
Y-Rock, the reincarnation of the former Y-100, presented the show at the doors. The show started a bit late; the doors opened at 7:00, and the opening band Ryat came on stage around 8:10, with an electronic sound and choppy, almost spoken word vocals combined with a strange, eclectic mixture of jazz and rock. They did an interesting live performance, with live sampling of vocals and instrumentals, gradually layering sound upon sound until the amps and speakers threatened to burst.
They can be found at http://www.myspace.com/ryat and they (specifically Ryat herself) are hailed as "Philly's mistress of experimental soul and ambient jazz...with this city's best voice and most expressive lyrics" -AD AMOROSI, Philadelphia City Paper
About 8:50-9:00 Mew finally came on stage. At this point I was still under the impression that the room was only half filled when a roar of noise came from behind me, the room stuffed full of fans, with hardly any room to move. Jonas Bjerre, Bo Madsen, Silas Jorgenson, Bastian Juel (live bassist), and Nick Watts (live keyboardist) arrived onstage, and the lights dimmed and the band blasted straight into Am I Wry? No, and from then on out it was nonstop, tearing through song after song, with new backdrops for many of their songs, and an obvious pleasure in performing for such an audience. The audience loved the show, with some in the front holding up a giant version of the clown-butterfly off the new album, people screaming and shouting (my voice is still hoarse!); the band provided a wonderful atmosphere.
They left the stage after Snow Brigade, but the crowd was still going strong, so they came back onstage for an encore. I presumed they would play the usual concert closer, the emotional Comforting Sounds, but they went straight into And The Glass Handed Kites-era White Lips Kissed, then into Apocalypso, which directly launched into Saviours of Jazz Ballet. Bjerre then proceeded to a small screen in the corner of the stage and moved his hand around, and a gigantic teddy bear (Bamse in Danish) appeared on the screen, and it spoke to Bjerre in a deep creepy voice, telling him we’ll always be friends, friends till the end (vocals provided by Madsen) and Jonas sang a duet with the bear. That apparently was to be the end of the show, with the band thanking us for having them here again, but the crowd wouldn’t have it, we wanted one more song. Bjerre grinned at Madsen and Silas, and spoke to Dr. Watts, and they launched into their grand finale, Comforting Sounds. It was a wonderful concert, and I hope Philadelphia will see the likes of them again very soon.
Am I Wry? No
The Zookeeper's Boy
Introducing Palace Players
Eight Flew Over, One Was Destroyed
Silas The Magic Car
Sometimes Life Isn't Easy
Encore 1: White Lips Kissed
Saviours Of Jazz Ballet
Encore 2: Comforting Sounds