Thereís something to be said to getting your workload down to a place where you can go out and see gigs again. Yay for gigs. Tuesday night brought the second night in a row of live stratospheric guitar acts with my first opportunity to catch Mew live. Theyíd already dropped my album of the year, Frengers (peep the review here), and they were playing at one of my favorite venues, the ever-so-close ULU. Good times had to be in order, right?
Unlike the last time I came to ULU, only to have the gig cancelled by the fire marshals, the Mew concert was go. I picked up my pair of tickets, ever so kindly arranged by Sonyís Simon Hargreaves, and as my girlfriend had to work late, I had a spare. I was just going to give the ticket guardians back the spare when one of the people working the door said, ìThereís a guy outside who wants to buy a ticket. You should go out there. Heís the guy in the suit.î As I donít sell tickets I donít pay for the in first place, I had no plan on charging this person. However, I did want to make sure he was a fan and not going to just move the ticket to this sold-out show. I rolled outside as asked him if he needed a ticket. He nodded and I asked him, ìWhatís your favorite Mew song?î Without hesitation, he said, ì'156' or 'Snow Brigade.'î That was all I needed to hear, as I handed him the ticket and told him to enjoy the show. The grin that spread across his face as he thanked me was all the payment I needed and I headed upstairs for a pre-gig Stella.
The band were a touch late in hitting the stage, but the wait was well worth it. A series of films were shown behind the band at all times; later I found out that frontman Jonas Bjerre made all the films himself. Fucking renaissance man, that guy. Brilliant vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and talented filmmaker to boot. How some people get all the talent while Iím stuck here writing substandard reviews is beyond unfair. The opening riff of album and show opener ìAm I Wry? Noî had the floor of ULU jumping and the band ate up the energy. Additionally, the film was running in time to the music and the lyric lines of ìdiamond ring, diamond ring; but you canít find it; cold is the nightî flashed behind the band as the lines were being sung. That always impresses me when the synchronization is so tight. ì156î came next and the crowd was heaving, screaming in rapture and jumping about at all the right moments. The band was on great form and the crowd was duly appreciative, roaring between each song. A new track, ìThat Time On The Ledge,î due to be a double A-side with another crowd favorite, ìShe Came Home For Christmas,î was even showcased. By the time they band fired through set closers ìShe Spiderî and the blazing ìSnow Brigade,î with all its Hoth meets the end of X-Files (film version) video backing, the crowd was in a frenzy. Add a stellar, extended rendition of encore track, ìComforting Soundsî and what you had was beyond good. It was one of the best shows of the year.