Wednesday, 10 February 2010

594 OK GO, MEW, Cherry Falls, Bristol Fleece, Sunday 15 June 2003

This was one of those, "Holy Shit!" gigs, when you just stare in awe at what you're witnessing. After delivering one of the most original and challenging albums of the year - hell, of any year - with "Frengers", hopes were high for this one as we travelled down the M4 listening to the Canadian GP on the radio, and anticipating... well, something special from Mew. We were not to be disappointed.

Hit an already well-attended venue at 1/4 to 8, and got drinks in before first band on, Cherry Falls, at 8. A Scottish combo, they kicked off in a Candyskins-esque perky pop manner, but quickly degenerated into plodding post-Radiohead dullness. Disappointing after a good start, and the vocalist was a total dick.

Down the front, stage left, for the entrance of Mew at 8.40. We were glad to note on the set list that they were kicking off with album opener and awesome new single "Am I Wry? No", but we were little prepared for the impact it would have. The strident, chopping guitar opening actually made Rachel jump, and the soaring, occasionally Pulp-like mid-section really took a startling hold. The beautiful choirboy vocals of Jonas Bjerre (who'd previously fooled Rach into believing this was a female-fronted band!) were a haunting highlight of a superb rendition of this single, which is rapidly becoming one of the best for years.

Then, incredibly, it got better! A brilliant "156" followed, 3 tunes in one, all out-there and otherworldly. The rest of the set, all culled from "Frengers" whirled by in a blaze of haunting, shimmering magnificence. A sure sign of how great a band is, is how low the bass player holds his instrument, and in that regard Mew pass with flying colours; the Pixies t-shirt clad, Hugh Jackman lookalike bassist Johan practically had his strapped around his ankles in a Ramones-like fashion, a point I remarked to him afterwards.

The absorbing, drawn-out "Comforting Sounds" concluded an awesome, inspirational set of power, precision and beauty. Easily the best set I've seen this year so far, this 45 minutes was over waaaaay too soon.

After that, OK Go stood no chance. They were better than their plodding, Reef-like single would suggest, and almost harmonic in a sub-Fountains Of Wayne way, but after 3 numbers Rach and I decided to hit the road, still elated by the magnificence of Mew. So off we went, and were home before 11 - ideal for a Sunday night gig!

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