Mew at the Roundhouse
The critical success of Mew’s latest album, +-, has propelled them into the spotlight of late, and it is this success that has led them to headline the Roundhouse in Camden, the band’s biggest UK performance to date. The Danish indie-rockers seem perfectly at home on the stage, despite the rapidly increasing audience numbers. Their unique blend of anthemic, sing-a-long moments and intricate musicianship (or “feeling” and “thinking”, as the band puts it) feels well-suited to this colosseum-like venue.
Mew open with Witness, Satellites and The Night Believer from their new album, allowing the fresher material to stand on its own, before dipping in and out of their back catalogue with fan favourites such as Zookeeper’s Boy and Am I Wry? No. Their true magnum opus, however, is the sprawling, gradual crescendo of Comforting Sounds, which manages to stretch well over ten minutes yet still captivates the swaying audience. Despite the relative sparseness of the band (formed of a single singer, guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and drummer), the sound produced has an impressive depth, switching from a full wall to complex polyrhythms in a heartbeat, accompanied throughout by Jonas Bjerre’s soulful yet vulnerable falsetto. Despite the theatricality of the music, there are no pyrotechnics or video screens in sight, with the band instead performing in front of a simple light display – just enough to complement the effect without becoming overbearing.
There is little in the way of audience participation but the band do not remain stony-faced throughout. Upon returning to the stage for the well-deserved – and even better received – final encore, they are all smiles, with guitarist Bo Madsen taking to the mic to explain to the audience the fear they all felt before playing such a prestigious venue. “Well,” he beams to the screaming crowd, “we’re not scared anymore!” If there was ever any doubt that Mew would have trouble stepping up to the plate, tonight should be an indication of quite how able this band are, and how much they still have left to give.
Photos: Adriana Ayala
For further information about Mew and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Comforting Sounds here: