Mew - 53 Degrees Preston - 25.10.05
Mew's debut album "Frengers" was an unexpected mini masterpiece from a Danish band who have since supported REM and have even improved the quality and vast range with their follow up "And The Glass Handed Kites". Although Designer Magazine have seen Mew several times over the years, your correspondent has never seen the band live before so it will be interesting to see how they manage to successfully re-create the subtle, ambitious scope of their albums.
Tonight, these crazy Danes have decided to play their regular set backwards which is unorthodox, but a delightful surprise. All the band are smartly dressed, but it's heart throb guitarist Bo Madsen, eye candy for the ladies, smouldering looks, flawless complexion and long flowing hair making him the Johnny Depp of Mew. Lead singer Jonas Bjerne is an unassuming character, short in stature but high in drama with a versatile, at times fragile, vocal which tugs at the old heart strings at regular intervals. It's a dazzling light show as well, although the strobes are a little overpowering (blinding the fans isn't a good career move guys). "Comforting Sounds" is dreamy, anthemic, beautifully arranged and performed with just a smidgen of prog rock. "Apocalypso" is a lot rockier and more immediate with elements of emo and grunge with undercurrents of Joy Division. As the songs are performed in reverse Mew do their encore after their second track, the fans encouraged to just accept their unusual approach. The backdrop shows increasingly strange, but unforgettable animated films of animals with human characteristics which has to be out of this world visually.
"She Comes Home For Christmas", a classic Mew single, has the kind of resonance and whimsy you'd find in the work of Mercury Rev. You can tell by the crowds response that they're really connecting with Mew as they encouragingly shout songtitles, jostle around and sing in unison for each and every song. They're lush harmonies on "Zookeepers Boy" and an amazing show stopper of a track in the guise of "China-Berry Tree" where afterwards the fans at the front literally fall over themselves in order to secure tonight's sacred set list.
I'll leave you with the opinion of die hard fan Dave who's travelled all the way from London to see one of his favourite bands.. He describes seeing Mew as "like swimming down a ravine of chocolate milk and spinning off into outer space inhabited by marshmallow dreams". I couldn't have put it better myself, Mew are an inspirational European band who have the talent and presence to be successfully in our very own country. Godspeed to the best thing to have come out of Denmark since their bacon
Nicholas Paul Godkin
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