Mew deliver impressive show at Paradise
A review of Mew at the Paradise Rock Club on December 2, 2009
Danish trio Mew released their new album, No More Stories…, this past August, and have since been touring both Europe and the United States. The album is arguably their best yet, and so it’s no surprise that when the band arrived in Boston last week for a show at the Paradise Rock Club, they were met by a packed crowd at the legendary club.
Things got underway with “Reprise”, which is actually the closing track on the new album. An interesting choice of opener, but the song works at either end of a set musically – a slow build, heavy on the synths and drums. From there, the band went into “Introducing Palace Players”, the first single to be released from No More Stories. The band handled the performance of the song impeccably: the song’s groove isn’t terribly easy, jumping in and out of triplet patterns fairly frequently. Jonas Bjerre managed to nail his guitar lines perfectly while also hitting his vocals with ease. What followed was an extended version of “Special”. Normally the song is a quick three-minute affair, but this particular rendition was stretched out to nearly eight to the delight of the crowd, who happily joined together for a great sing-along.
Mew’s sound filled the Paradise’s space quite well. The band’s aesthetic tends to be fairly large compositions, and the ‘dise accommodated their needs well. “Sometimes Life Isn’t Easy” proved to be a great example of just how big Mew can get: Bjerre’s falsetto throughout the song was loud, and the “backup” vocals of a children’s choir kicked in often, the image of which was projected on a screen behind the audience. The excellent album opener of “New Terrain” unfortunately only made a brief appearance in the middle of a medley somewhere in the middle of the set, though an acoustic rendition was unexpected and did sound good even without all the crazy effects that mark the song. The set closed out with the rocker of “Repeaterbeater”, which ended things in a sufficiently loud manner.
For an encore, fans were given another new song, “Beach”, once again stretched out beyond its studio counterpart. The final song of the evening was “Comforting Sounds” off of Frengers. The song started off melancholy and quiet, but eventually works itself into a cathartic explosion, which the band milked for all it was worth and left everyone feeling like the show had been more than adequately brought to a close.
Mew is definitely a band worth seeing live: they clearly love what they are doing, and their music translates to the live arena very well. They also aren’t afraid to mess around with the form of their songs, letting the quality of the songwriting itself do the talking. The projections on the wall are pretty cool, too. While the band may not redefine any notions you have of live music, their performances are solid and happily make up for the cost of admission.