The 50-minute semi-live album Mew with Copenhagen Philharmonic will be released next week (December 14th), but you can have a little read about it now on our reviews-page. Here’s the direct link to the review.

Composed by Mew and Karsten Fundal
Conducted by Hans Ek
Produced by Karl Bjerre Skibsted

If possible, before reading the album review, take a look at our review of the live shows from two years back.


Today we reveal the project that we’ve been cooking up behind the scenes for the last few months: The MewX Podcast!

In each episode, we aim to reminisce and talk nostalgia, as well as analyze and discuss everything about each song in the Mew back catalog. Hosted by Danish Frenger Thomas Dyregaard, this podcast also features commentary by co-hosts Oddvar Røste (Norway), Ann Lancaster and Heather Tinneny (both from USA). Tidbits and stories shared by many other Frengers through social media platforms are also featured throughout (so be on the look out for your chance to participate and tell your own tales!)

Going forward, we plan to release one episode per week across all the major podcasting platforms. At the time of this writing, the first episode has not yet been propagated to all the services, but hopefully that will resolve shortly. For the time being, please refer to our permalink on MewX, which will continue to display all available episodes: MewX Podcast.

Today’s episode: #001 – Am I Wry? No

Available On: Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Stitcher
Coming Soon: Castbox, Overcast, Spotify, TuneIn

All episodes can be heard at any time here: MewX Podcast


Last week the Frengers 15th Anniversary Tour kicked off in Mexico. Apart from the exclusive “teaser” full-length show at Stengade back in May, the following ten shows in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Estonia were all Summer festivals with shorter setlists. Frengers album was played from start to finish in all of them, of course, but for example in Estonia Mew only had an hour-long spot, so there was time for only Repeaterbeater, Special and The Zookeeper’s Boy before the 2003 album. Those aforementioned songs have been the first three played on all setlists since the Stengade show. Apocalypso and Saviours of Jazz Ballet have been common too, but besides them there’ve been variations of rarely played songs. Finland had Interview the Girls, Norway had Louise Louisa, both of which had already been teased at the Stengade concert.

This week they’ve returned to full-length solo shows and the first two Mexican concerts were held in the capital city. If you attended both of the El Plaza Condesa shows, you got to see the band play Count to Ten and King Christian. These tracks have never been played in Mexico before, so the fans must have been pleased. Mexican audience – as witnessed from various live streams – is still one of the most enthusiastic. Probably also because Mew have planned to go there during these recent North American tours, but it didn’t really pan out (apart from one festival show three years ago). The third Mexico show last week was held in Guadalajara and the following three will be in United States. After that it’s only two shows in London (one of them is already sold out) and three in Japan. It is expected that Mew will take a little creative break after this year, but you never know.

Get tickets to remaining Mew concerts here.

As a bonus, here are two of our previously unpublished photo galleries from this Summer:

Tammerfest in Finland
Sweet Spot Festival in Estonia
Photo credit: Marie Cover


Goethe wrote that “music is liquid architecture; architecture is frozen music”. That being the case, it’s fitting that part of my 15th anniversary with Frengers is diaried to take place at the Barbican Centre in London. The Big Smoke, the Great Wen, Londontown, the city where plenty of the record was germinated; Mew‘s quintessentially non-British opus. And the Barbican in the midst of the scene, that towering, brutal, monolithic, skyline-dominating structure…

… wait, no. It’s not fitting. It isn’t fitting at all. The Barbican’s imposing concrete mass, a marmite magnet that mandatorily attracts strong opinions one way or the other, would be the frozen music of Kraftwerk, or Spacemen 3, or Kate Bush, or Saint Etienne. Music with profound cultural and structural implications that could not, and cannot, be ignored, even if it could easily also be despised. The Barbican plainly would not be the cryogenic simulacrum of a piece like Frengers. It does not reflect the subtleties, the epiphanic prisms and the deeply personal resonance – the profoundly changed lives – that perhaps most often happen when culture, art, is an outsider thing. An under-the-radar thing. A thing which everyone had to find themselves, by spade or by hook or by crook, perhaps by serendipitous chance, rather than it finding them.

The word choice there was deliberate. We stumbled upon this record, despite it not necessarily demanding to be discovered. And, through happenstance, it in turn had something to say about how we then went about finding ourselves, what we’re like and what we like. Whatever the intentions of the authors, their creation belongs to us now and we can do with it whatever we want.

I thought very carefully about what I wanted to say in this article. I thought about my own discoveries in the early 2000s and what that felt like to a younger impersonation of me. But I didn’t want to get all indulgent. I thought about architecture, and then the metaphor failed. I thought about nostalgia, and history, and growing older, and this quote from Clive James in Cultural Amnesia, but then I just felt sad:

History needn’t have been like that. That’s what history is; the story of everything that needn’t have been like that.”

I grew up with Frengers during formative years, and to a large extent my life has been built around it, sculpted as a result of it, ever since (could you tell, with the ink on my upper left arm?). So, most of all, given this is an anniversarial retrospective, I thought about whether it’s really possible to accurately recall a memory as strong and as significant. I thought about whether the ripples and consequences have been so keen, so weighty, that it is now impossible to hear Frengers outwith the context it itself constructed. It remains a towering achievement of an album, but because of what it effected just as much as what it is.

Put it like this: these concerts, happening now, in 2018, are nostalgic by their very definition – but are we only ever looking back through the prism of all the memories, opinions, weltanschauungs, that were built since? There is only ever an increasing span of time between then and whenever “now” happens to be, and a steadily accumulating number of ways to recall what’s lacking in the present, but wasn’t always absent. That being so, are we really talking about a nostalgia for the record itself, or is it just being young that we miss?

As usual, Simon Reynolds has probably said it best in his enviable Retromania:

Is nostalgia stopping our culture’s ability to surge forward, or are we nostalgic precisely because our culture has stopped moving forward and so we inevitably look back to more momentous and dynamic times?”

I thought that I wasn’t the best person to answer all these vague propositions, these pseudo-philosophies. At best, I am a sorely under-qualified amateur phenomenologist, trying and failing to get to the bottom of some of the imponderables that pop music is capable of posing. I’m also only one receiver of the record, one of very many thousands. I thought that my best bet wasn’t to arrive at answers, but to see if others agreed with the questions. I decided to talk to one of the architects of the work itself and see what his own prisms and memories were, and how they had changed since. And I’m hugely grateful to Jonas Bjerre for taking the time to do that.

Is it possible to hear any record out of the context of everything that surrounds it, purely listening to it for the sounds and the melodies and the tones? I remember you talking about playing a Cure single at 33 instead of 45, and only realising it wasn’t supposed to sound like that ages later….”

Jonas: “I think only when you are very young and open (or impressionable). Probably not even then. Sounds, melodies, tones, what are they really, to you? We wanted to do an experiment, when we did the video for Repeaterbeater, to have a hypnotist put us in a trance, and to then subject ourselves to our own music, hearing it without knowing who made it. Unfortunately, that part of the shooting didn’t come to fruition.

“It’s such a big question; does any art have inherent value? I don’t think it does. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, and in this case, in the ear of the listener. And I think that’s a wonderful thing. I like to think that when we’ve created a song, it keeps growing in the consciousness of people discovering it. It mixes up, in their lives, in all the things that happen to them around the time they discover it. That way, it keeps evolving from the point it was made, but at the same time it becomes connected to a specific time in people’s lives.”

Related to that, is it possible for you to think about Frengers in the same way that you did when you were making it? Or can it only be heard, considered, remembered, through the prism of what has happened since?”

Jonas: “To some extent, much like you can be taken back to a memory from your childhood, and remember what that moment felt like. But it’s now mixed with the understanding of what that moment meant, and the practicality of it. So it will never be quite the same feeling, if you’re consciously trying to remember it. It’s difficult to bypass that prism.

“They say that your sense of smell is the one that most immediately triggers memories, and I’ve found this to be true. But music comes close also. The wonderful thing about that, I think, is that you can sometimes be reminded of a moment, or a feeling, and the feeling itself reaches you before your conscious understanding of it. You just feel it, without knowing what it is you’re feeling. I also have that experience, coming out of dreams sometimes. I’ll wake up in a hotel somewhere, on tour, and think “wow! We were just on stage in front of a whole bunch of people! That’s crazy!” and the full realization of the emotions surrounding that hits me so hard, as I’m unprepared for it, coming out of my sleep. Sometimes I have that feeling too, when I’m reminded of a specific moment during the times we recorded albums, or came up with new ideas.”

Also along those lines, have you still made the same type of creative decisions in the 15 years since Frengers? How much of what has happened since is your own response to what you created then?”

Jonas: “I think it’s kind of a battle between your sense of intuition, and the sense of aesthetics that you inescapably develop over the years. It needs to be a fine balance. But I think, when you’ve been a band for a while, you tend to hone in on the aestethics a bit too much, and it becomes more of a challenge to let your intuition have as much of a say. You have to keep challenging yourself to not get stuck. To me, it needs to be equal parts emotions/intuition and invention. And the aesthetics should be a kind of by-product of that. I want to invent something. I want to do something that I don’t already know from somewhere else, or already know how to do. I want Silas to shock me with something musically crazy. I’m really attracted to the idea of making something which abandons completely my sense of aesthetics, and just becomes what it becomes, almost on its own. I think that’s a great starting point, and from there you can implement some judgement, some choices and decisions, to make it work as a whole, a body of work. There is something about the way we work together in the band that allows this to happen quite often.”

What were your goals when you started making Frengers? What did you want to achieve with it? How have those goals evolved when you started to make Kites, No More Stories, +- and Visuals?”

Jonas: “We really wanted to succeed. And we really wanted our music to be heard. We had our shot on a major label, and we didn’t want to screw it up. I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, and it could have made us afraid of making some of the unusual choices we made. Luckily, we had a certain confidence in what we were able to do together, and we were able, I think, to create something that felt free and focused at the same time.

“We never want to make the same album twice, that would just not feel inspiring. And that’s the big fear, I think, to stagnate, to stay in one place. And what works for you at one point in your life, will not keep working for you forever.  So we always try to shake things around, to do things differently than we’ve done before. Kites was quite fearless really, after Frengers, being on a major label. Each album is its own little chapter in our lives. I don’t think it makes sense to say that we get better at it, or that this album is better than that other one. Each album is irrevocably tied to the time it came out, and for me, the experience of making it, is part of the album itself. I feel the same way about albums by other artists, that they consist not only of the sounds and melodies recorded, but also of all the memories that I connect with the time I discovered them. The primary goal for us, is to just make the music we want to make. To not interrupt the flow of what feels right. I count myself very lucky, that we are still able to make a living doing that.”

Is it possible to set out to make a work of art that profoundly affects the lives of people who receive it? Or can that only be a happy accident, a serendipitous side effect of the tunes themselves being good?”

Jonas: “At first I think it has to move you, the person creating it. If it moves you, it is likely to move someone else too, especially people who share some of your sensibilities. But I think setting out to “affect” people will quite quickly make what you’re making feel contrived and forced, and sometimes clichéd.”

Perhaps a slightly provocative question – what do you think these shows in 2018 are going to add to the memories and perceptions of people who have lived closely with the record for the past 15 years?”

Jonas: “It’s kind of hard to fathom how much this album has impacted our lives, us in the band. But it’s also extremely gratifying to see how it has affected others, the people who follow what we do, and come to our shows. So I think it’s going to be a bit nostalgic for everyone. I think that’s something we can share with the audience.”

Can you picture your life without that record in it?”

Jonas: “I can picture my life being very different without it. Not in the way that I would have died in a ditch somewhere or anything, but if we had not made this album and ended up making something else instead, things would have unfolded very differently. Although it was a tumultuous time in our lives, moving to another country, touring extensively for the first time, I remember it as adventurous, and most of my memories of making it, are fond memories. Kites was, for me, a lot more difficult, emotionally and physically, it was just a different time. Frengers felt like the culmination of something, like arriving somewhere. Our dreams came true, sort of.”

Talking to Jonas made me start to doubt the basic validity of the propositions and questions about time, nostalgia, about the ripples created by great decisions. If pop music is going to be considered great, it needs to be able to be analysed at either no level at all, or in as great a depth as the listener wishes. It should be both aesthetically pretty and cerebrally challenging, never demanding that either takes precedence by default. It should ask questions that are only really answerable on the level of the receiver. Quidquid recipitur ad modum recipientis recipitur.

A creation like Frengers begs a chameleonic nostalgia. Sure, it is a landmark record, moment, event, whatever. But it’s not really the character, the timbre, the texture, of the memories that are important. Despite the visceral self-doubt of many of the lyrics, the whole artefact was self-assured enough to let those memories grow organically. It invited its listeners to become their own architects.

The victory, then, is that there was ever the capacity for any nostalgia to exist at all. I have come to believe that the precious thing isn’t how a record like this can exist in, or through, prisms of time and perception. The important thing may simply be that it created those prisms in the first place. As it turns out, that frozen music of Goethe’s might have been a perfect metaphor all along. The tunes set all of the foundations that were necessary; not all houses are homes, but this piece of liquid architecture naturally is. Again, it was an organic foundation. It planted seeds, seeds of curiosity and adventure and progression and belonging, and sat back as they flourished in the heads of those who got it, those of us who understand.

Perhaps most importantly of all, we never cared too much for the portmanteau of the record’s title. There was no need to behave as if that were literal. We became friends who abhor time and distance. And although time and distance haven’t been shy in dispensing their fair share of hurt – still do, sometimes – we know that no matter how much of each there has been, we shall meet in bodegas and kneipes and concrete concert halls, and resume the conversations exactly where they were last paused. Frozen indeed.

Nostalgia or none, however badly informed some of the life choices in between have been, there has never been so much time and distance that being tactile suddenly feels wrong, or that we doubt that we’re each thinking “welcome home. Welcome home.”

Written by Ally Winford
Photos by Sasha Ryabina

Helsinki, Finland (December 7, 2017)

When Mew announced their Scandinavian tour, they took the geography of Scandinavia pretty seriously as initially Finland didn’t have a tour date. As Mew are known to be big fans of Finland, this was a bit of a shock at first. In 2014 Mew played their first show after Johan Wohlert’s return in Finland, and throughout the years there’s been tour starts and closings here, so it was only fitting the Visuals world tour would end in Helsinki on December 7th. Fear Me, December.

The Circus, where they also played their previous headliner in Finland in 2015, was almost sold out and you could feel the excited buzz of the last date of the tour. This venue sets an excellent frame for Mew’s visuals that once again were stunning. Like most 2017 shows, this too started with In A Better Place which shifted to Special, getting the more old school fans on their dancing feet too. No matter how often I hear The Zookeeper’s Boy live it always gives me shivers. The ending of it created the first magical moment of the night, getting everyone spellbound by Jonas Bjerre, Dr. Nick Watts, and Johan’s polyphonic harmonies.

It was Finland’s 100th Independence Day the day prior to the show. After Jonas’ congratulatory speech and remarks of our difficult language (says a Dane), they sent us to a bit more upbeat, rockier bit of the show with Satellites. During this part we saw the audience go crazy with hits like Snow Brigade and Introducing Palace Players. Especially Apocalypso’s wolf background visuals deserve to be mentioned as they worked perfectly with the song. After Twist Quest we were treated with a rare gem. In the ten shows I’ve seen Mew play, I’ve never heard them play Start and as I like to keep the setlists, a surprise I didn’t know they’d played it in (for example) Poland too. I was ecstatic. No More Stories EP’s B-sides are all my favourite and hearing Jonas and Mads Wegner do Start this many years after the EP was pure magic. This was followed by Water Slides, always guaranteed to be emotional – I had to blink back a few tears.

After Carry Me To Safety and overwhelming “We Want More!” chants, Nothingness and No Regrets, one of the more straightforward songs, started the encore. For the most of the show, a man standing before me would yell “Play Am I Wry!” every two songs and his wait was rewarded – as anyone who’s attended a Mew shows knew it would be. Am I Wry? No’s diamond ring-themed visuals were my favourite of the night, beautiful and simple.

After 156’s emotional dance party, we faced second huge surprise of the night when Jonas said it was “the time of the year for this”. It’d been years since I’d last heard the emotional She Came Home For Christmas live and it got not just me but everyone around me holding back tears – or not holding back and just sobbing. After Comforting Sounds, everyone around me were smiling and wiping their eyes. Their music means a world of different things to everyone but the outcome is the same: we all leave a Mew show with a smile and at least a figurative tear in our eye.

Text: Meri Jaakola
Photos: Marie Cover
Photo Gallery

Setlist: The Circus (Helsinki, Finland)
In a Better Place / Special / The Zookeeper’s Boy / Satellites / Candy Pieces All Smeared Out / Introducing Palace Players / Snow Brigade / Twist Quest / Start / Water Slides / Apocalypso / Saviours of Jazz Ballet / Carry Me to Safety — Nothingness and No Regrets / Am I Wry? No / 156 / She Came Home For Christmas / Comforting Sounds

Sep 18

Live: Capitol

Perth, WA, Australia (September 13, 2017)

Hidden away in one of the most isolated cities in the world meanders a handful of creatures known as Frengers. Wandering the landscape of Mewstralia, these Frengers have listened to Mew’s otherworldly sounds for some decades, their hearts and minds fluttering to the sounds of their ephemeral orchestration. For myself, growing up with Mew’s music provided a sanctuary in a world mixed with chaotic and daunting moments. Escaped to a dreamy realm of abstract lyrics and peculiar arrangements, our souls found warmth in the songs that told us there are hidden magics in the world.

On June 28 it was announced that Mew would be making their first ever visit to our sleepy town of cranes, black swans and million dollar cactuses. And I swear, the sky glowed with the illumination of our happy little hearts when we read the news. But a tiny drop in the ocean, Mew graced us here in Perth on September 13 with their presence at the cozy Capitol Amphitheatre. With our entry stamp of Rick Sanchez proudly inked on our arms, we entered the venue.

Before the show I hadn’t listened to much of Melbourne’s Closure in Moscow, who opened for Mew for their last stop in Australia. I was caught by surprise by their infectiously catchy rock tunes which went straight in the bloodstream in electric thumps and out in head bangs. Digital rain poured down on the band from the screen above, as the changing lights changed the hues of the roses on lead singer Christopher’s sweater – a trippy touch to the spasmodic hits of energy. Possessed by the punchy riffs and grooves the band and crowd hyped up, closing with Happy Days. I can safely say I’ll be looking to these guys and their self-described ‘cheeky bangers’ to conjure boosts of energy and endorphin hits with their instantaneous, attention-thieving explosions.

A swift transition between sets and Mew entered the room to a buzzing crowd overwhelmed with anticipation. Mew kicked off the set with In A Better Place from their latest album Visuals, to a crowd freckled with smiling faces. We were quickly captured in a trance as the melodies unfolded before us, and we embodied the beats of Silas Graae’s intricate drumming, the alluring riffs of Mads Wegner and Johan Wohlert, the magical chords from Dr. Watts, and Jonas Bjerre’s ethereal vocals. For many of us, having listened to Mew only through videos and albums, hearing Jonas’s unique live vocals only amplified the surreal experience.

Special rolled into The Zookeeper’s Boy as giraffes of light played across the screen, and the elation was floating like waves through the dancing crowd. The glittering ambiance of Satellites rippled across the room as a breath of realisation was taken, our feet resting still for a moment. Dazed, we drifted further into transfixion, to a landscape effervescent with wonder, and how special it was. The heavy bass line crept out of Mads’ guitar with the cinematic-vibed Candy Pieces All Smeared Out. With our energies still soaring, we jumped back to 2009 with Introducing Palace Players, and the intoxicating thrills of Snow Brigade. The familiar visuals of dancing kaleidoscope creatures next lead us deeper into Mew’s dreamscape with Twist Quest, followed by a thunderstorm of strobe lights as the nostalgia kicked back in with Apocalypso.

Afloat clouds of ecstasy, our adoration-invoked delirium was gently grounded with the defiantly serene ballad of Saviours of Jazz Ballet, before the comforting closure of Carry Me To Safety. It was very hard not to cry during this one, alas I didn’t end up a blubbering mess alike that of Mew’s visit to Australia’s east coast in 2015! By the end of the show our endorphins flew high with And the Glass Handed Kites as we sang out to the hopefulness of Nothingness and No Regrets, Am I Wry? No, the forever mysterious 156 and violin-playing cats of Comforting Sounds.

It’s a really special thing to see a reverie projected in the mind bloom in the physical world before you. Tonight our molecules danced and sung and blissed-out on the golden melodies we’ve kept sewn in our hearts for the many years we’ve grown. On behalf of us all here in Western Australia, thank you, Mew, for venturing our barren red desert to see us here in Perth. It’s a night we will hold dear for years to come.

Text: Laura Gonsalves
Photos: Myles Wright

Setlist: Capitol (Perth, WA, Australia)
In a Better Place / Special / The Zookeeper’s Boy / Satellites / Candy Pieces All Smeared Out / Introducing Palace Players / Snow Brigade / Twist Quest / Apocalypso / Saviours of Jazz Ballet / Carry Me to Safety — Nothingness and No Regrets / Am I Wry? No / 156 / Comforting Sounds


Melbourne, VIC, Australia (September 12, 2017)

Leading up to the show tonight, there was something that just didn’t sit right with me. Against all odds we managed to give Mew a warm enough reception the first time around to warrant a second tour of Australia, but the feeling wasn’t like last time. And that is the problem. You only get one chance to see Mew for the first time. Is it possible for the second tour to live up to the hype and excitement first tour? There was only one way to find out.

The night kicked off with the music and comedy stylings of Closure in Moscow, who made the trip all the way from Bacchus Marsh to teach us about Carmen Sandiego, and ask the eternal question “Who is Max Watts?”

After a brief intermission, the members of Mew filed onto stage one by one. I couldn’t help to think back two years earlier and compare the excitement that we all felt seeing Mew on Australian soil for the first time. I was very promptly bought back to 2017 by the opening track, In a Better Place, from the new album Visuals. Following this it was straight into the crowd favourite Special which naturally flowed into The Zookeeper’s Boy (is there any other way to play these two songs?) The brief And the Glass Handed Kites medley was all I needed to be convinced. 1st time, 2nd time, 10th time, it didn’t matter how many times you’ve seen them, seeing Mew will always be an exciting night.

The 2015 album +- was revisited with Satellites, one of the stronger tracks of the album that always plays well live. This was followed up with another taste of Visuals with the track Candy Pieces All Smeared Out, which seemed to gather a good reaction from the crowd, even though the song doesn’t sit well with me. It almost feels as though it would work better as two separate songs. Another set highlight was the inclusion of Snow Brigade, which always hits hard live. This song was made better by the enthusiasm of Nick Watts when he was handed a guitar and unleashed from the keyboards.

At the back end of the set was Twist Quest, leading into Apocalypso, which featured a brief Saviours of Jazz Ballet outro. Watching Johan Wohlert work his way around the bass guitar whilst playing Apocalypso is always a sight to behold. Frontman Jonas Bjerre appeared as though he was ready to call it a night as he had a cup of tea delivered to the stage before wrapping things up with a final appearance of Visuals in the form of Carry Me to Safety.

After a very brief hiatus, the encore was kicked off with Am I Wry? No, followed by another crowd favourite, 156, which has morphed over the years from a great track to an amazing track. The night finally wound down with the somber Comforting Sounds. The set list did call for Nothingness and No Regrets to be played before Am I Wry? No, but this was skipped. Perhaps Jonas was getting a bit keen to finish his tea backstage.

As the night came to a close, it was with a sense of relief, knowing that after such a long initial wait, we have made Australia a place Mew are wanting to visit on a regular basis. Hopefully we will all be back in the same place in a couple of years from now.

Text: Bronson Schick
Photos: Aim Aris

Setlist: Max Watt’s (Melbourne, VIC, Australia)
In a Better Place / Special / The Zookeeper’s Boy / Satellites / Candy Pieces All Smeared Out / Introducing Palace Players / Snow Brigade / Twist Quest / Apocalypso / Saviours of Jazz Ballet / Carry Me to Safety — Am I Wry? No / 156 / Comforting Sounds


Sydney, NSW, Australia (September 11, 2017)

It’s 9:30pm on a Monday night. The Manning Bar, a long-serving venue in the midst of Sydney University, has a small gathering of people milling about its general vicinity. The crowd barrier has been removed, leaving attendees taking up the space left by its absence. Sun Kil Moon’s Common as Light and Love… plays over the PA – a bizarre choice of pre-gig music given its awkward starts and stops and its spoken-word storytelling. In other words, the room is devoid of magic; or even a vibe. It’s a stark contrast from when Frengers were last gathered in this very same space at the tail-end of 2015; comfortably filling the venue and exuding elated joy at the fact that Mew were finally playing shows in Australia. Such is the nature of the beast, a series of factors – playing a Monday night, an exorbitant ticket price for what is ostensibly a cult-following band – has seen the numbers significantly drop for round two some 20 months removed. While last time sparked excitement and anticipation in the lead-up, tonight feels dark and desolate.

That is, of course, all before Mew themselves emerge. It’s here that the light begins to seep in. By the time they’ve finished their opening number, In a Better Place, the audience is just that. There are smiles everywhere. The excitement is gentle compared to the fever-rush of last time, but it’s just as genuine. It’s still just as remarkable to hear these songs played live – older favourites like The Zookeeper’s Boy and the unexpected Apocalypso are joined by newcomers Candy Pieces All Smeared Out and Twist Quest from this year’s Visuals. The live ensemble, which was somewhat new in its current form when the band first came here, is well-cemented at this stage. Auxiliary members Nick Watts and Mads Wegner feel just as integral to the fold as the band’s core trio, each adding their own energy to the performance and appearing just as humbled by each and every round of applause.

Setlist quibbles aside – still no Why Are You Looking Grave?? And why was 85 Videos, perhaps the best single from Visuals, ignored? – it’s a genuine pleasure to get to see this band play again. The smiles on each of their faces at the thrilling conclusion of perfect closer Comforting Sounds says it all – whether there’s zero or a zillion people watching, the music of Mew feels like home. Many happy returns.

Text: David James Young
Photos: Jess Gleeson
Photo Gallery

Setlist: Manning Bar (Sydney, NSW, Australia)
In a Better Place / Special / The Zookeeper’s Boy / Satellites / Candy Pieces All Smeared Out / Introducing Palace Players / Snow Brigade / Twist Quest / Apocalypso / Saviours of Jazz Ballet / Carry Me to Safety — Nothingness and No Regrets / Am I Wry? No / 156 / Comforting Sounds


Brisbane, QLD, Australia (September 10, 2017)

It is the kind of anxiety that feels heavy, like a coat that’s too big and scratchy when the air is suddenly very hot. I’m late for doors and slip inside the venue after riding in the car with my brother from my apartment in Red Hill. It is the kind of anxiety that can only be unstitched by the craft beers we order at the warehouse around the corner. I haven’t seen Mew live before and my attention span is crowding with anticipation. In the venue, I’m surrounded by Mew fans, or so I gather. I’m sipping cider and glancing at the people as they stand in little groups. Part of me is envious as my entire Mew experience has been solitary—apart from in the moments where, late at night in somebody’s car, I’ll say, “here’s a song for this piece of highway, my friends. Let’s turn the volume up for a little and talk later…” For all my seclusion, in the Triffid I somehow feel as though I am among family. I’m filled with a warmness—one perhaps captured by the Danish word hygge—for the friendships I imagine as I look around, friendships for whom Mew is more than a montage shared under streetlamps.

I think it was in 2007 when I discovered them late at night on Rage. I remember hearing The Zookeeper’s Boy and feeling the rush of the song’s moodiness gather in my stomach and manifest as a jolt of mania. I think I was 15 then and I didn’t have much money but I remember going to the store the next day and asking the man at the counter about the single. He had it in stock. I bought it and listened to it over and over. Not long afterwards I ordered And the Glass Handed Kites.

After two supporting acts—Brisbane’s own Aerials and Closure in Moscow—Mew is on the stage for the second time ever in this city. The crowd, as you’d imagine, goes wild and any remaining anxiety unstitches itself in the snare of the cider and the low-lit setting. The show begins with In a Better Place from the new album Visuals. It’s sweet and calming, welcoming in its familiarity of style, fresh in its newness. A lightshow of sorts characterises the background with an undulating display of the unearthly and uncanny imagery that is consistent with the bizarrely-haunting Mew-specific genre. I don’t know enough about music or enough about the world we live in to ascertain how but, as the show unfolds, it feels like it’s a painting of a piece of the world we live in—as seen from a spaceship or a planet outside of this galaxy.

After the opening track, we’re taken back to 2005’s And the Glass Handed Kites. Special guides us effortlessly into The Zookeeper’s Boy, a transition that is as natural as the shift from evening to night, except that somehow all of Mew’s songs feel like they’re occurring during hours when the rest of the world is asleep. They’re on stage and they’re playing and we’re let for just a moment into their spaceship.

The first set closes on Carry Me to Safety. Fittingly, it’s the closing track to Visuals and is built from all the right chords to physically construct the hardest goodbye you can imagine. “Come, let’s wave to everyone,” Jonas Bjerre is saying to us, his voice still the same song of a storm bird it’s always been. “They came all this way to see us.” It’s like they’re going back to some far off planet.

In its entirety, the show is comprised of five pieces from Visuals, four from Frengers, four from And the Glass Handed Kites and one each from No More Stories… and + —.

And they’re gone. But before the spaceship leaves our planet behind forever, it’s back.

The set that closes on the final track of Visuals re-opens on Nothingness and No Regrets, the opening track of the same album. If Carry Me to Safety is the ominous lullabye that draws you into the nightmare, Nothingness and No Regrets is the part where the morning birds are outside your window and you start to wake up with the sun, realise it was all a dream, and return to your world much the same person as before you fell asleep, but not quite.

The song ends, the band leaves, and I leave too.

Text: Ebony Graveur
Photos: Claudia Bill

Setlist: The Triffid (Brisbane, QLD, Australia)
In a Better Place / Special / The Zookeeper’s Boy / Satellites / Candy Pieces All Smeared Out / Introducing Palace Players / Snow Brigade / Twist Quest / Apocalypso / Saviours of Jazz Ballet / Carry Me to Safety — Nothingness and No Regrets / Am I Wry? No / 156 / Comforting Sounds


Los Angeles, CA, USA (August 26, 2017)

I like to believe that I live my life as unapologetically honest as possible. As I write this review, I find it hard to wrap my head around a beginning; so I guess we can just start off with when I saw Mew two years ago in Los Angeles. Mew was my first concert, I truly didn’t know what to expect and I went into the venue with a million thoughts in my head. This time around, when I walked into the venue I felt the same overwhelming excitement as I did two years ago, but I also had expectations, something I didn’t experience last time around.

The El Rey Theatre was one of the most simplistic and beautiful venues I’ve ever stepped foot in. The main floor itself was such a unique design and the blue lighting was a great touch to this ambiance that already existed in the venue. Something that I did notice that was different from last year was the people there at the concert. As I walked through the venue I felt almost a warm presence from everyone, if that makes sense.

People were coming up to each other and saying hi or hugging each other, it was very interesting to see this kind of dynamic. My best friend, who had came with me to the concert, had told me, “I don’t even feel like we’re in a concert. I feel like we’re at a friend’s party and we know everyone here.”

I think that’s something that completely stood out in the crowd, everyone was mutually excited. When the opening band Monakr came on to the stage, you’d expect for the crowd to be quiet and confused about the performance. And I was genuinely surprised to see people smiling and dancing to songs they may haven’t even heard before. But the beauty of Mew is that they attract people who just enjoy music and enjoy being around each other.

When Monakr ended their set, the anticipation in the room was so high, I could feel everyone around me growing more and more anxious. I didn’t know what to expect last time I saw Mew, but this time I had more expectations and more ideas of how the show was going to be like. But just like Mew and every new album, you really never know what to expect.

Mew’s performance was incredible, I can’t think of a better word to use to describe the experience I had that night. When the opened the show with In A Better Place I felt everyone around me gleaming with joy. It was amazing to see Jonas Bjerre’s reaction when the crowd was singing along. I found that during songs like Special, The Zookeeper’s Boy, Water Slides, Twist Quest, even 156 the crowd’s singing would just take the entire band back. I’ve never seen the band so surprised and so excited; I guess you can say they too never expected the kind of response they got from the crowd.

Each song contained its own visuals (see what I did there?) I think Mew did a fantastic job of using their visuals to transport the entire audience into their thought process of this new album. It was a very bold and eye-catching performance from beginning to end. I was moved to tears during Comforting Sounds, the crowd song along with Jonas as the stage faded into black with stars in the background. It felt like a dream; a wonderful dream.

I always say this, but if you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Mew live in concert, you must. Mew is one of the very few bands that are capable of creating an experience for you from beginning to end.

Text: Tricia Lopez

Setlist: El Rey Theatre (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
In a Better Place / Special / The Zookeeper’s Boy / Satellites / Candy Pieces All Smeared Out / Introducing Palace Players / Snow Brigade / Start / Twist Quest / Water Slides / Apocalypso / Saviours of Jazz Ballet / Carry Me to Safety — Nothingness and No Regrets / Am I Wry? No / 156 / Comforting Sounds