Mew – Mod Club Toronto, 10th August

Mew Toronto 02-small

Words and photos by Tim Darbyshire. Danish band Mew have recently released ‘Visuals’ their fifth studio album and just embarked on their ‘2017 Visuals North American Tour’ to promote it. I caught up with the band at Toronto’s Mod Club.

Mew are no strangers to the intimate Mod Club, having last played here in 2009. Their last visit to Toronto was in 2015 when they played at Lee’s Palace, a show at which although Mew delivered musically was strangely bereft of their intoxicating visual show. Happily Mew delivered on both fronts this time in front of an appreciative near sell out crowd.

Compared to previous Mew albums, ‘Visuals’ has a lighter, more poppy feel.  It sounds very smooth with infectious catchy melodies throughout.  Live, the new material merged seamlessly with older songs as the band flawlessly delivered an eclectic crowd pleasing set.

Mew started proceedings with ‘In A Better Place’ from the new album – one of five new songs – before heading into more familiar territory with ‘Special’ and ‘The Zookeeper’s Boy’, from 2005’s ‘And The Glass Handed Kites’. The show had many highlights, including ‘Introducing Palace Players’ from 2009’s ‘No More Stories’ , ‘Satellites’ from ‘Plus Minus’ and ‘Snow Brigade’ from 2003’s groundbreaking ‘Frengers’ album.  The extended encore ended with three more cuts from ‘Frengers’ – ‘Am I Wry, No’, ‘156’ and perhaps Mew’s defining song,  ‘Comforting Sounds’.

Mew are a cohesive live unit, full time members Jonas Bjerre (vocals/guitar), Johan Wohlert (bass) and Silas Utke Graae Jorgensen (drums) are joined by long time collaborator Nick Watts on keyboards and by guitarist Mads Wegner who undertook the arduous task of replacing founding member Bo Madsen on stage in 2015.

Especially impressive is the tight rhythm section, underpinning Jonas Bjerre’s uplifting vocals and Mads Wegner’s angular guitar work. The show is equally impressive visually, with all manner of projections on the large screen behind the band, after all who can ever get enough of violin playing cats?

‘Visuals’ was released just 2 years after 2015’s ‘Plus Minus’, a break with tradition for Mew who typically take their time between albums. Hopefully this trend continues and the Danes return to North America in the near future.

Set List
Mew , The Mod Club Toronto – 10th August 2017

In A Better Place
Special
The Zookeeper’s Boy
Satellites
Ay Ay Ay
Introducing Palace Players
Twist Quest
Start
Water Slides
Snow Brigade
Apocalypso
Saviours Of Jazz Ballet
Carry Me To Safety
—————————
Nothingness and No Regrets
Am I Wry, No
156
Comforting Sounds

 

MEW announce North American Tour

mew new

Danish band MEW make a welcome return to North America this Summer, including a date at Toronto’s Mod Club on August 10th.  The tour will see MEW promoting their latest album ‘Visuals’ which was released last week.

Tickets for all dates go on sale Friday May 5th.

Visit the MEW website for all things MEW related

mew north america 2017

Mew announce new album and tour

mew-heads

Danish band Mew return in 2017 with their seventh album, entitled ‘Visuals’ and a European Tour. The album is released on 28th April 2017 and can be pre-ordered now from Mew’s website.

mew2017

World wide tour dates are expected to be announced soon, the following dates in Europe are now confirmed:

FEB 9, Academy of Music (Copenhagen, Denmark) – two shows
MAY 17, Paradiso (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
MAY 19, Point Ephémère (Paris, France)
MAY 20, TRIX Centrum voor Muziek (Antwerp, Belgium)
MAY 21, Trinity Centre (Bristol, UK)
MAY 22, O2 Ritz Manchester (Manchester, UK)
MAY 23, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire (London, UK)
MAY 25, Luxor (Cologne, Germany)
MAY 26, Knust (Hamburg, Germany)
MAY 26-27, Immergut Festival (Neustrelitz, Germany)
JUL 14, Ilosaarirock (Joensuu, Finland)
JUL 20-22, Musik i Lejet (Tisvilde, Denmark)

Fans have become accustomed to waiting a few years between Mew albums, so today’s announcement has come as a welcome surprise. Front man Jonas Bjerre explained that the tour that accompanied 2015’s ‘+-‘ album found the band reaching a creative peak that they felt was too exhilarating to be dampened by a period of extended cave-dwelling. They arrived home with demos that had been written on the road and the spark was lit. They wanted to break the cycle and make an album quickly.

mew-carry-me-to-safety

Track listing for the new album is as follows:

1-Nothingness and No Regrets (4:28)
2-The Wake of Your Life (4:41)
3-Candy Pieces All Smeared Out (3:37)
4-In a Better Place (4:40)
5-Ay Ay Ay (3:41)
6-Learn Our Crystals (5:21)
7-Twist Quest (3:19)
8-Shoulders (2:53)
9-85 Videos (4:37)
10-Zanzibar (2:04)
11-Carry Me To Safety (4:27)

They have also released a video single ‘Carry Me To Safety’, the last song on the album:

 

My Top 5 Albums of 2015

My Top 5 Albums of 2015 in reverse order……. by Tim Darbyshire

5. Riverside – Love, Fear And The Time Machine

riverside

Poland’s Riverside returned in 2015 with their 6th album – ‘Love Fear And The Time Machine’.  Less heavy than previous offerings, it is arguably the band’s most mature work, with the album seeing the band revisit their melodic and atmospheric progressive rock leanings. Nice and laid back in places, this album was a very pleasant surprise for me in 2015.

www.riversideband.pl/en

4. Max Richter – Sleep

mrsleep

German-born Max Richter’s 8-hour long ‘Sleep’ is designed as suggested by the title,  as music you can sleep to.

I’m a big fan of Robert Rich’s 7 hour ‘Somnium’ sleep-inducing  music and this is just as good but completely different in style.  Richter mixes minimalist composition and contemporary classical to create a calming, soporific experience.  The music is equally effective whether you choose it as your daytime soundtrack or you sleep with it.   Hauntingly beautiful in parts, almost perfectly silent in others, this is a true masterpiece.

maxrichtermusic.com

3. Mew +-

mew

+ – (pronounced Plus Minus) is the sixth studio album by Danish band Mew. Difficult to classify, Mew have been variously described as indie, dream-pop and progressive.

2015’s +- is a well crafted collection of songs, if maybe not as immediate as its 2009 predecessor ‘No More Stories Are Told Today…..’.  After a couple of listens, stand out tracks are ‘Satellites’, ‘Making Friends’ ‘Water Slides’ and ‘My Complications’.

Huge sounding in places, dreamy in others – typical, magical Mew. I just hope we don’t have to wait another 6 years for the next album.

www.mewsite.com

2. Big Big Train – Wassail

bbtwassail

Big Big Train’s ‘Wassail’ EP contains 4 tracks,  including 3 new studio offerings – ‘Wassail’, ‘Lost Rivers Of London’ and ‘Mudlarks’.  These 3 tracks certainly whet the appetite for 2016’s proposed new album ‘Folklore’.

Quintessentially English as ever, Big Big Train’s arrival in Prog’s top division has been a long journey since their formation in 1990.  They are now an 8-piece band with the original two members (Greg Spawton and Andy Poole) being augmented by vocalist David Longdon, drummer Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard), guitarist Dave Gregory (XTC, Tin Spirits), keyboardist Danny Manners, violinist Rachel Hall (Stackridge) and guitarist/keyboardist Rikard Sjöblom (Beardfish).  A 5-piece brass ensemble adds to the diversity on this EP.

The sound is warm pastoral progressive rock with strong melodies…if you’re not familiar with Big Big Train, check them out!

www.bigbigtrain.com

1. Steven Wilson – Hand.Cannot.Erase.

swhce

No surprises here – ‘Hand.Cannot.Erase.’ Steven Wilson’s 4th solo album consolidates his position in the current Progressive music scene.  I wasn’t sure he could improve on 2013’s excellent ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing’ – but I think he has.

No weak tracks on the album, it’s an album of highlights (‘Three Years Older’, ‘Perfect Life’,  ‘Routine’, ‘Ancestral’ et al) coupled with a beautiful deluxe packaged version of the CD/Blu-Ray and a stunning tour, 2015 belonged to Steven Wilson.

Steven and band will be on tour for the first half of 2016 (including a return to Canada in March) when they will be performing the entire album – make sure you don’t miss them.

stevenwilsonhq.com