Danish alternative rockers Mew have been straddling the line between pop music and prog rock for over 20 years now, with music that challenges with complex rhythms and chord structures while still managing to be accessible. Though not the most prolific band – their new 2015 release, +-, is only their sixth album, and their first in nearly six years – they have managed to build a dedicated following worldwide. Last Friday, the band brought this latest release to DC for a late show at the 9:30 Club.
In a setlist drawn from their four most recent albums, but primarily from +- and 2003’s Frengers (itself largely re-recordings of tracks from the band’s first two albums, and their first international release), took no prisoners in their bombastic, soaring renditions. If there was a flaw to the show, it was this – a set clearly designed more for the festivals that the band has been playing in Europe this past summer, it sometimes felt overpowering in the 9:30 Club and lost some of the dynamic of the album versions in its quest to never let up on the energy. Still, with crowd favorites like “Am I Wry? No” and “Special” intermixed with new tracks like “Satellites” and “Making Friends,” the tracklist was sure to appeal to fans old and new.
The core of the band – singer Jonas Bjerre, bassist, Johan Wohlert, and drummer Silas Utke Graae Jørgensen – were joined for the tour by long-time touring keyboardist Nick Watts and guitarist Mads Wegner, replacing recently departed founding member Bo Madsen. Interestingly, it was Wegner who did most of the between-song audience interaction, adding a personal dynamic to a band that seems, in general, to wish to appear mostly aloof on the stage.
San Francisco-based indie folk duo The Dodos opened the show.