Last Night: Mew at Mezzanine

Categories: Last Night
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Mew, Surrogate
Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009

Better than: Going to see Lady Gaga. Yes, really.

For those who wanted more rock and less glitter than, say, the Lady Gaga show happening down the street, Mezzanine was the place to be last night. It was there that Denmark's Mew put on a visually and aurally inspiring concert that also rocked really hard--much to the surprise of anyone familiar with the group's dreamy, airy songs.

Childlike excitement buzzed through the crowd before the show, with many fans talking about how they've never seen Mew live before. That anticipation turned into a roar as the band opened up with "Circuitry of The Wolf" and didn't slow down until the end of the second encore.

Mew's performance had a Rush-like feel, enhanced by some epic, curly-hair headbanging way in back from touring keyboardist Nick Watts. The group cranked the volume and hit the drums harder than on record, even on their mellower songs, initially leaving some hits unrecognizable. Aided by mind-numbing strobe effects, the performance felt closer to a metal show than a pop performance, although with the lights bouncing off Mezzanine's snowflake and tinsel ceiling decorations, it also made it feel as if we'd been invited best Christmas party ever.

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The backlighting of the strobes also gave singer Jonas Bjerre's appearance an almost holy quality that matched his falsetto as he ran through show highlights "New Terrain," "156," "Introducing Palace Players," and the tear-inducing "Louise Louisa." Equally mesmerizing and delightfully creepy were the visual projections of a talking bear with distorted vocals, dancing deer, and scary singing kids who looked like they just stepped off the set of Village of the Damned.
Chico's Surrogate opened the show, its members amusingly crammed towards the front of the stage, as they had to perform amidst Mew's unmovable gear set up. The band played melodic pop off its July release Popular Mechanics to audience that seemed transfixed by singer's Chris Keene's dreamy vocals.

Editor's Notebook:

Personal Bias: I was surprised to learn that Mew sent out an open call via its website to local musicians in every city of its tour, an effort to feature a new opening band at each show.

Random Detail: Sacramento band A Sky Lit Drive's drunkenness and general rock band behavior brought the party to the usually quiet VIP area on the balcony.

By the way: To the creepy guy who kept hitting on every woman in Mezzanine, myself included, not cool.


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