The Mispers at The Basement
The Mispers have been making waves. Their musical style – a heady mix of alt-folk and indie – and their impeccably polished image have meant the London-based quintet has built up a loyal following and a self-proclaimed “perfect record of sold-out shows in London”. Tonight is no different. The venue, fittingly hidden below one of London’s swankiest hotels, is an unassuming mid-sized basement bar. After The Mispers take to the stage, however, this sweat-soaked murky room – exactly the kind of place referred to in fan-favourite Dark Bits – feels like it could be anywhere from a festival field to a packed stadium.
The music itself, although occasionally slow and sombre on record, is surprisingly effective in a live scenario. Sitting somewhere between the fragile folk of Angus and Julia Stone, the orchestral indie of Arcade Fire and the gloomy post-punk of White Lies, The Mispers manage to retain an air of sophistication. Pounding drums, jangly guitars and a screaming violin soon have the crowd whipped into a frenzy, and for a while it almost feels like summer again. Even vocalist Jack Balfour Scott’s haunting vibrato is uncompromised, the strained emotion creating an atmosphere of both power and vulnerability. This is helped by the fact he is accompanied by an impromptu chorus from the crowd, all of whom seem to have learnt the deceptively simple yet strikingly effective lyrics off by heart.
The Mispers not only have musical competence and energy on their side, they have also completed the holy trinity of live performance with charismatic stage presence. The whole band exudes joy, from the constant grins and stage-diving to Scott’s cheeky quips between songs. “Sorry about that,” he chuckles as the band returns to the stage for a enthusiastically received encore, “I just love that bit of drama”. This, then, seems to be the key to The Mispers’ success. On record their songs are reflective, personal and a little wistful. Live, however, Scott and the band have achieved the improbable: making sad songs fun.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about The Mispers and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Dark Bits here: