Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mew at the Detroit Bar

Detroit Bar is having one heck of a year. Autolux, Dinosaur Jr., School of Seven Bells, Ra Ra Riot, Foreign Born, Chairlift, Grand Duchy, We Are Scientists and Los Campesinos! have all rocked the Detroit Bar this year. If I were forced to crown the show of the year at the Detroit Bar, it would hands down have to be Mew.

Free Lions

It has been a year since I last caught up with Free Lions at Spaceland. Things have apparently changed as they have reconfigured their band and added some extra members. Free Lions had some family members in the audience cheering them on and they performed a variety of different songs touching elements of pop, progressive, ballads and moments of space rock. In a year, they have garnered 8291 hits to their myspace page. They should be extremely pleased that they opened for Mew.


Mew captivates live. It may take a few listens to fully appreciate their recorded material, but seeing them live is another experience. I first caught them at Street Scene in 2006 and was reeled in by the astonishing vocal range of Jonas Bjerre (Vocals/Guitars).

I was excited to see them open for Nine Inch Nails at the Hollywood Palladium and was hoping that the Nine Inch Nails fan could appreciate their ethereal space dream rock. The jangly knife sharp guitars of "Circuitry of The Wolf" bled into the swirling "Chinaberry Tree" from their album And The Glass Handed Kites to open the set.

Bo Madsen (Guitars) soon reached for his Danelectro baritone guitar for a chunky version of "Special" that trailed into "The Zookeeper's Boy". I was up at the front of the stage and water started to drip from the ceiling as the temperature was rapidly increasing. It wasn't like the oven of Nine Inch Nails at the Echoplex but comes in a solid second place.

Accompanying the members of Mew on the stage was the tour manager, a guitar tech and a sound mixer to make the stage quite crowded. The number of people on stage had a purpose though since the sound was perfectly mixed. Mew finally dipped into their new material with the tropical sounding "Hawaii Dream" and "Hawaii" from their latest album No More Stories.

"Beach" is my favorite track off their new album with its disjointed time signature changes and wobbly bass line. Mew returned to some older favorites with "Am I Wry" and "156" with a barrage of their unique visuals being projected along the back wall of the Detroit Bar. Bo Madsen would again display his guitar skills with the wrinkly riff of "Repeaterbeater".

As tired as I was from going to concerts four nights in a row, I felt a surge of energy during "Introducing Palace Players" that helped me make the drive home. By no seeming coincidence, Mew closed the evening with "Comforting Sounds" which couldn't have been anymore fitting for a banner night at the Detroit Bar.

1 comment:

Jennifer N. said...

I'm going have to agree about Mew being much more accessible live. I really like their recorded work, but I have to listen to the albums about four or five times before I fall in love. The magic was instantaneous when watching them live.

Thanks for this set! I was at this show, but I didn't bring my camera. The first photo is great shot of Jonas.