Leeds Music Scene

Gig review of Mew + Pure Reason Revolution

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Reviewed on 24th September 2005.



Live at Cockpit on Thursday, 22nd September 2005

I've been waiting outside the Cockpit for about 30 minutes now stood here on my bill with nothing but a rock to keep me company. For about an hour now I have been trying to locate Mew's tour manager to try to get a word with the band. The guy is impossible to find. After finally contemplating that he might not exist I decided to go check out Mew's support band Pure Reason Revolution.

The Cockpit is rather packed for a gig that didn't in fact sell out (surprising actually). I weaved my way into the crowd to catch a glimpse of the band who are said to possess "Hendrix and Floyd qualities with a bit of synth thrown in there somewhere." I won't deny that as Pure Reason Revolution have grasped those attributes and rammed as much of them into their songs as is humanly possible. Besides that they add more by having around about 9 to 10 synthesisers on 1 rack (very stable), a violinist and a female singer. This is what really created the band in my opinion, but in places also let them down. Their songs were quite long-winded with very little vocals and to say they had 2 singers it led them into a bit of a slump. Also the female singer gave the band almost a "highlands" feel to the thing when she actually sang. Which took you away from the mind blowing violin solos and Hendrix style riffs and took you to Scotland. They need to drop the female singing and up the synthesiser use and male vocals. Also with no lights (as they were the support band and they never get to do anything special) there wasn't really much to watch which again left you feeling somewhat bored.

Time to get another drink.

The stage goes dark now. There is silence. You feel the floor slowly shake underneath you from wall to wall bass amps, the cloth in the back ground starts to glow and an ear piercing shriek comes out from the crowd. Mew front and centre. This band will be huge. There is no doubt about it, Mew lack nothing. From the intoxicating guitar riffs to Jonas Bjerres' seemingly impossible operatic like vocals (I didn't even know the female voice could go that high let alone a male's).

On no occasion did Mew fail to surpass anything I have ever heard, or seen for that matter. They used a large projection system to display images as they performed, now this is hard to describe. Simply because you don't quite know what to make of it. It's almost as if the song is creating the visuals.

The most inspiring thing was that the majority of Mew's songs are so "beautiful" yet the images depict something distressing. At one point there came and image of a crashed car and a person who was characterized as being in this accident. Now to put that with a song that is seemingly happy you don't really know what to make of it. In an interview with Bo Madsen (drummer) he described the images as "a pastel of every colour of emotion".

When you looked around the crowd you would of thought the audience were bored. You couldn't be further from the truth. When you looked at the individual people it looked at if they had reached enlightenment. Closing their eyes swaying from side to side singing every song word by word. Mew are not the kind of band you see to jump around to they play and you are projected into what can only be described as bliss.

"Snow brigade" had to be one of the best songs of the night, with its disenchanting almost confused melody to the epic chorus making you feel as if you're travelling 300mhp and everything around you has stopped.

"Special" was described by the band as a bit of a "dance song". Sounding probably the most obscure in comparison to their other songs perceptible as if Jonas was distraught in the making of this but showed so much emotion in the performance, strangely no visuals on this song you would have thought with it being their newest song they would want it to stand out most.

"The zoo keeper's boy" was by far the most mind bending song that evening with the oddest visuals. Giraffes and half human / half animals mouthing the words and playing instruments, according to Bo "it shows a change in human emotions". What ever it was it worked.

Finally after demanding an encore Johan (bass) declared that "he couldn't leave us" finishing on "comforting sounds" starting off quieter than any other song played. I would describe this song as a steep hill. Beginning very soft. Slowly but surely building up before exploding into a sea of extraordinary visuals and haunting poetry of music.

Declaring that they would be at next year's festivals, we're are going to be seeing a lot more of Mew in the near and distant future.



All replies to this article. Log in to post a reply.

On 24th September 2005 at 12:02 Anonymous 4015 wrote...

Hey, good to see a new writer at LMS.

There are a couple of upcoming bands using onstage visuals at the moment. It's an interesting concept. Ever checked out iLiKETRAiNS? The music's quite different - a lot darker - but they do the whole elegant sounds meets unnerving visuals extremely well.

Incidentally, the LMS doesn't tend to bother with edits on writing, so you might want to proof read stuff in future, since there are a few grammatical nonsensicals in there. Just a minor point.


On 24th September 2005 at 12:10 Dave LMS wrote...

Hehehe, I do my best ...


On 24th September 2005 at 13:14 Anonymous 4717 wrote...

i saw iLiKETRAiNS when they played at the cockpit during last years futuresound competition, I was very impressed. When i caught them at leeds festival they ditched the visuals, I dont know if thats because they were not allowed to due to time. I always hear about them playing in leeds but keep missing them. Cheers for the feedback by the way il check my work more next time.


On 24th September 2005 at 14:36 Anonymous 138 wrote...

having been at this gig myself i can say this review really summed it all up wonderfully. Specially the bit about the crowd reaching 'enlightenment'. it really was something special.


On 24th September 2005 at 17:44 Anonymous 4015 wrote...

I was a bit confused about Leeds Fest as well but we concluded that it was probably with it being an outdoor gig. The projection would have been pretty much invisible in the daylight.


On 24th September 2005 at 17:45 Anonymous 4015 wrote...

With regards to iLT that is.



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