Last Monday night, Danish alternative band Mew graced the many people that crowded Village Underground with the first of two special gigs that had been dubbed ‘An evening with Mew featuring both electric and acoustic performances’ and which can easily and righteously be renamed ‘A triumph for Mew’ (for the less familiar with the band A Triumph for Man is the title of their first record).
The band played for nearly two hours, unevenly split in two very different, though equally entertaining, sets comprising material from the new album as well as old hits and b-sides. In the words of bassist Johan Wohlert, only recently back on board after an eight-year hiatus from the band, these specially conceived concerts are a ‘nerve-racking experience’ yet ‘a chance to rediscover some songs in a new light’. It is safe to say the attempt proved successful since unrecognisable versions of tracks such as Why Are You Looking Grave, transformed into a power-ballad, left the audience in awe.
Mew absolutely blew everyone away with both spell-binding, soothing, magical symphonies and energetic, powerful, rocking tunes in a whirlwind of distorted, echoing sounds, heavy guitar riffs mixed with Jonas Bjerre’s alternately shrieking or lower-pitched voice. A cosy venue and the lack of any sort of pretentious props, exception made for some amazing animated videos created by the lead singer and projected on the background screen during the second half of the show, added to the intimate atmosphere that was created by songs like Behind the Drapes, She Came Home for Christmas – the most-voted among the tracks that Mew made available for request – or the mesmerising Comforting Sounds, which closed the gig.
Mew have more than a reason to rejoice and be thankful for as this year they are celebrating twenty years of activity as well as promoting their latest album + –, which came out after a six-year wait, and this live show confirmed that there is no need for extravagance or arrogance in order to be successful. The Danish (now) trio are perhaps underrated but their modesty combined with their excellent music made of smart, intense lyrics and captivating melodies is what fans like most about them, and it is hard not to agree.
For further information on Mew and future tour dates, visit here.