review and photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
As people filed out of the Music Hall of Williamsburg Monday night (8/24), comments like "gave me chills" and "that was amazing" could be overheard. Yes, it's garden variety, post-concert stuff, but as the buzz drifted down N. 6th toward Bedford Ave. it was clear those claims were not just hyperbole. Yes, Mew, the Danish art rockers, do epic as well and as effortlessly (and chill-inducing) as anyone. Despite confiding to the sold out Music Hall that they get "extra special nervous" when playing to a New York crowd ,the trio produced a breathless display of pulsating beats, soaring vocals and bizarre, and at times creepy (but always perfectly synced), video projections
Their new record No More Stories... (Sony BMG) drops today (8/25) and yet you could tell who already had the record by those mouthing the words to the set and record openers "New Terrain" and "Introducing Palace Players". The former featured band members, Jonas Bjerre, Bo Madsen, and Silas Utke Graae Jørgensen in spotlights in the middle of the stage to start before Madsen and Jørgensen moved to their instruments on the sides. Their supporting musicians took the stage to finish off the song and launch right into the angular, staccato beats of "Players."
The crowd found full voice though on older numbers "Special" and "The Zookeeper's Boy" from 2005's And The Glass Handed Kites (Song BMG). The youngest of the 16+ crowd lined the stage, pushing and straining to touch Bjerre like he was Jesus, or Morrissey.
The projected visuals were beautiful and twisted: cats playing violins, contrasty doll heads floating over the musicians, children providing the chorus of "Sometimes Life Isn't Easy" and on "Am I Wry? No", the simple squiggly script, 'Am I wry?'
For the encore, the sprawling "Comforting Sounds", Madsen came out, gushed his affection for the crowd who gushed right back, and as he began playing was joined by Bjerre and finally Jørgensen with the rest of the band building the song into its eight-minute fury. - Dominick
Amazing show, though a bit on the short side. Definitely the best Mew show I've seen so far. The choice of venue helped. Violens opened. Mew's next show is Wednesday night (8/26) at Terminal 5. It's their first date with Nine Inch Nails on the 'Wave Goodbye' tour (all dates here). More pictures below...