Mew

support Lydmor
author LL date 06/10/17 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

The Danish alternative rock darlings Mew have been touring all sorts of places around the world this year so it's a great joy to also have them back again for a couple of shows on their home turf. These days they are playing a bunch of Scandinavian dates with tonight being the originally announced Copenhagen date. It sold out quickly though, so another one was added for the day before. Store Vega, therefore, gets packed with happy fans this Friday and we are in for a solid setlist of hits from the evening's headliner but before we get to that, here is a look at the support act.

All pictures by Peter Troest

Lydmor

Just as the last time we saw Mew in Copenhagen, they have a great female vocalist billed as their support act. This time it's the Danish Jenny Rossander as Lydmor ("mother of sound" in Danish) who has the task of getting Store Vega warmed up and she is a great choice as her own music and elfin behavior communicates some of the same kind of magic that is a staple of Mew's atmospheric rock. Her music is a kind of electronic pop that falls somewhat outside of our normal coverage, but she also happens to be one of the local artists that I have followed for a while, so I'm going to write a few words about her set anyway. Her only partners on stage are her laptop and two different microphones that she uses to create a lot of her music from the bottom up, live looping her own voice and cueing different beats and breaks. She only plays two previously released songs tonight, "Mark of Beauty" and, one of my favorites of hers, "New Cars and Babies". The sharp but playful synth riff that dominates the latter track works very well here and as the third song of the set, it seems to mark a turning point where the audience really begins paying attention and grooving along when its heavy beat kicks in.

Her singing voice can be softly precise as well as icy sharp, in contrast to the very gentle voice she speaks to us with between songs. She is good at inviting us into her world, making sure to tell us a little background for her new songs that she wrote while living in Shanghai all alone recently. One of them is an aggressive track with a lot of spoken word parts that she partly performs while going for a walk over the barrier and into the crowd to look her audience in the eyes. It is followed up by a dreamier track and finally a more dance-friendly song with a firm beat. All the time, she is covered in blue and red lights under a ceiling of smoke and it successfully supports her music with a mystical atmosphere that goes well with how she carries herself and dances casually to her own beats that shake the floor and fill out the space as more and more people show up at the venue. All in all, a good support set although it feels like some audience members find it to be a little too disco-like and it would be great to see her perform at her own shows where she can set the overall mood as she wants to.

Mew

At 9 pm, the members of Mew enter the stage to great applause from the venue that is now packed from top to bottom with excited fans of all ages. The band launches into new song "In a Better Place" before spilling right over into a two-punch combo of the excellent "Special" and "The Zookeeper's Boy". These two provide us with my favorite moment of the entire evening and end in a goosebump-inducing extended acapella sequence of vocal harmonies that hit just where they're supposed to. Although they are not the most talkative band, the members seem in a good mood and they rock out with each other, crossing the stage a few times. Vocalist Jonas Bjerre sounds effortless as he carries on convincingly through his characteristic falsetto pieces and the animated videos that he makes for the band's music are playing throughout the evening on a huge screen behind them, setting the mood along with bright twirling lights.

In general, Mew are sounding absolutely amazing tonight from start to finish with the delicate vocals firmly supported with backup singing and a great sound mix that makes certain nothing gets drowned out. Although their newest album "Visuals" is of course very present with five songs, the remaining setlist is packed with older hits that get cranked out in perfect style one after the other. "Frengers" and "And The Glass Handed Kites" are present with four bangers each, that get the crowd singing and clapping along eagerly, not least during the encore that features "Am I Wry? No", "156", and "Comforting Sounds" right after each other. Of the new songs, especially the oddly structured "Candy Pieces All Smeared Out" with its almost industrial march passages as well as the jazzy "Twist Quest" later on both provide worthy contributions to the band's live set, keeping the standard of this evening high. The latter is also a great example of how the videos work to support the performance of Mew's songs, as the saxophones in the track aren't played live but are still visually present through the dancing and playing figures on the backdrop, nicely providing our eyes with something to link them with.

For a hometown set, though, it seems a little short, with the encore happening already 55 minutes after the band first set foot on the stage. This could possibly be helped if they slowed down the pace of their hit parade with more space between songs to maybe say a few words once in a while. As any fan of the band will probably know, Bjerre is a shy person but maybe another member of the band could then step to the fore to say more than just the occasional standard appreciative sentences provided tonight primarily with reverberating loudness from the group's bassist Johan Wohlert. It would certainly make a difference for the degree of personal connectedness we might feel to the band and build on the common feeling we share through the music. Still, this is a minor thing next to how well they sound and play tonight and there's no denying that it is nothing short of a very solid set by one of Denmark's best bands for 20 years now.

Setlist:

  • 1. In a Better Place
  • 2. Special
  • 3. The Zookeeper's Boy
  • 4. Satellites
  • 5. Candy Pieces All Smeared Out
  • 6. Introducing Palace Players
  • 7. Snow Brigade
  • 8. Twist Quest
  • 9. Start
  • 10. Water Slides
  • 11. Apocalypso/Saviours of Jazz Ballet
  • 12. Carry Me to Safety

- Encore

  • 13. Nothingness and No Regrets/Seasons
  • 14. Am I Wry? No
  • 15. 156
  • 16. Comforting Sounds

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