Let me preface this by saying that I am not the biggest fan of the venue Hiro Ballroom. They book some awesome shows and the room is gorgeous, but by no means is my experience there ever that pleasant. For starters, I am 5'7". That isn't short by any means, but for some reason in Hiro, it is. I think it must be a rule that if you are a dude going to Hiro you must:
a) Be at least 6' tall
b) Been known for rocking out to too much Dave Matthews Band and Grateful Dead in college.
That being said, when I arrived to Hiro last night and couldn't see a damn thing, I quickly escaped upstairs to try and get a glimpse of one of my most anticipated shows of this year, Mew. Little did I know that I would see better, but my view would be slightly obstructed from those giant paper lanterns hanging all over the place.
I was first introduced to Mew about a year or so ago and since then I have been anxiously awaiting for the domestic release of their newest album, And The Glass Handed Kites. The combination of Jonas Bjerre's intoxicating Sigur-Ros-ish vocals, mixed with music that sounds like something that Muse and/or Kent would have made, as well as always hearing about their live shows being a spectacle, made me all the more excited for the evening. After becoming situated leaning over the balcony, Mew took the stage and immediately began playing my current favorite song off their new album, "Special." I am still bewildered with how Bjerre hits every single one of those notes, pitch perfect, every time. He truly has a divine gift.
What amazes me is how talented each musician is in Mew. Their live shows (known for having a large movie screen behind them showcasing haunting images of bears, rubber mouth monsters with nipple eyes and fiddling cats) would normally suggest that the band is boring live and needs those clips to keep people entertained. This is not the case with Mew. While the videos are impressive to say the least, I found that most of the time I was too busy admiring the meticulous finger work and innate ability that these five guys were showing off all over the place. The last time I was this captivated with a show was Radiohead, which now that I think about it, Mew should totally tour with them.
After "Special," Mew wasted no time in delivering the next two gems, "Circuitry Of The Wolf" and "Chinaberry Tree." Just as on record, these blend seamlessly into each other and make it hard to tell where one ends and one begins. You would have never known that this was Mew's first tour of the USA in their ten-year history from the concert last night. People in the crowd knew the words and some of them were singing along with the strange bear headed creatures on the backdrop to "The Zookeeper's Boy," like it was something they have known for decades. On these same lines, the group continued to keep the older fans happy, playing some earlier tunes off Frengers such as "Am I Wry? No," and "She Came Home For Christmas," before going back into the gorgeously crafted "White Lips Kissed."
I was told that frengers was a combination of the words "friends and strangers." I think that it is safe to say that after last night's show, Mew can no longer refer to New York as frengers, rather, just as friends.